Earlier this week, the US imposed new rules for flights heading to the US from 10 select airports. This most directly impacts the many passengers that use airlines like Turkish, Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar as they all have many passengers that use their hubs to travel to the US. Etihad and Emirates have spoken now about how they are handling this ban, that is scheduled to last until October of this year.
How Emirates and Etihad Are Handling the Electronics Ban
Etihad’s Rules for In-Cabin Electronics
Even though the rule is that you cannot depart from airports like Abu Dhabi to the US with electronics larger than cellphones (except for medical devices), Etihad is apparently going to start the process from where “you start your journey.” This seems to be a much more difficult situation than having a security checkpoint before boarding the US-bound flights from Abu Dhabi as Etihad has an extensive network and this will require all of their employees, including contract employees at smaller airports, to check passengers ultimately bound for the US and make sure their larger electronics are checked in their checked luggage.
On one hand, this seems more difficult but it would also be much easier for them when it comes to gate operations since they will not have to worry about gate-checking luggage. But, still, I can see this having some issues at smaller airports. For now, if you are flying Etihad, know that they will have you check those electronics (like laptops, tablets, and cameras) where you begin your journey.
“Following a directive from US authorities, we have been advised that guests travelling to the United States from Abu Dhabi International Airport are not permitted to carry electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone on board.
Mobile phones and medical devices are permitted but larger items including laptops, tablets, cameras and e-readers will need to be placed into baggage that is checked in. This must be done at the start of your journey. The ban does not affect flights leaving from the US towards Abu Dhabi and beyond.
These new rules come into effect for flights to the US via Abu Dhabi, starting 25 March.
Any guests travelling to the UK via Abu Dhabi are not affected by the directive from the UK authorities.”
Emirates’ Rules for In-Cabin Electronics
Emirates is taking a different approach – allowing customers to use their larger electronics right up to the last minute before boarding, with special attention being given to premium cabin passengers. According to Bloomberg, here is what Emirates is allowing:
“Emirates aims to let passengers take their laptops past security gates at Dubai International Airport and collect the devices only before boarding as the world’s largest international carrier seeks to minimize the impact of an electronics ban on routes to the U.S.
The state-owned carrier is planning to permit devices affected by the ban within the security perimeter to allow passengers, particularly those flying in premium seats, to use laptops and tablets until the last possible moment, it said in an email. The airline will then take the items for storage in the cargo hold until arrival.
Additional staff will be deployed to avoid disruptions to the flow of passengers, especially in the first few days of implementing the new rules, which come into effect on March 25. The U.S. ban, announced Tuesday, prevents passengers on non-stop flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports from bringing large electronics into the aircraft cabin.”
So, it appears that if you are traveling on Emirates, especially in a premium cabin, that you will be able to use those electronics right up to the last minute before boarding. Much better than on Etihad!