PHOTO: Qatar Airways has a laptop solution to electronics ban. (photo via Flickr/Oliver Holzbauer)
More than one airline has been forced to get creative after an electronics ban implemented by the United States prohibited devices larger than a smartphone for flights from 10 Middle Eastern and African nations.
Understanding that a major section of the industry expects to be able to use larger devices in-flight, Qatar Airways has decided to do something quite ingenious.
It’s now lending laptops.
CNN Money clarifies that this doesn’t mean everyone will get a device to play and work on while they fly from any of the affected countries. This service is only for those flying its business class, and it also comes with one hour of free Wi-Fi—a $5 charge will kick in if you want to continue using the Internet after time has expired.
Sure, you may not have all of your documents, images and pertinent files on that loaner laptop, but perhaps you can access the cloud while you fly among a few.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker states, via CNN Money, “We truly appreciate the importance of being able to work on board our aircraft.”
Emirates Airlines had a different reaction to the ban, instead releasing a commercial to convince travelers they didn’t need large gadgets.
That turned out to be a nice, whimsical way to illustrate how much one can now do in-flight thanks to seatback screens and touchscreen technology.
This was preceded by Emirates’ program that allows its travelers to use devices as long as possible, up to the moment they board. The airline collects the devices and gives them back at the destination.
Qatar Airways' creative solution to a topical, if not peculiar dilemma is probably the best yet, but it likely won't be the last. The modern traveler wholly expects to fly with the day’s complement of convenience. This includes the use of laptops.
It remains to be seen if the small subset of travelers who use laptops and fly business are swayed by Qatar Airways' campaign.