Qatar Airways to offer loaner laptops in response to the US' electronics ban
By April Kirstin Chua
Qatar Airways has a solution over the recently announced electronics ban for flights coming from the Middle East and North Africa. Qatar will offer loaner laptops for free to all its business class passengers.
Qatar says it will collect prohibited electronics in compliance with the US government's ban on electronics larger than a smartphone. The collected electronics will then be checked in and returned upon arrival. Qatar Airways will also provide a one hour free Wi-Fi access with a $5 charge to stay connected the whole flight.
"By providing this laptop loan service we can ensure that our passengers on flights to the US can continue to work while on-board," Qatar Airways Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said in a statement. "This unique ability to offer 'business as usual,' above and beyond the competition, is yet another example of Qatar Airways' justification for being the 'World's Best Business Class.'" The airline has not yet announced which type of laptops will be available.
The Business Insider mentioned that the loaner laptops will not be available to Qatar economy-class passengers. This marks the latest reaction from nine airlines affected by the electronics ban. US officials explained that the ban is due to terrorism concerns. Britain also announced a similar restriction.
The affected carriers have pledged to comply with the electronics ban but just like Qatar, some have come up with a series of ways to work around the US government's new policy. On Wednesday, Etihad Airways announced that it would offer free Wi-Fi and loaner iPads to all its first and business-class passengers. Turkish Airlines also announced via Twitter they will give free Wi-Fi on board to passengers who surrender their laptops and tablets at boarding. It also hinted plans to offer loaner laptops.
Tim Clark, president of Emirates, notes the logistical challenge the electronics ban has created for all airlines. He adds that the short-term effects were uncalled for while the long-term effects will remain to be seen for some time. Not having access to laptops is still a burden and an inconvenience to passengers on board. Qatar and the other affected airlines were quick enough to think on their feet to address the issue.