The “laptop loan service,” as the Doha-based carrier is calling it, is the latest attempt by one of the three Gulf majors—Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways—to find a work-around solution to the large carry-on electronics ban imposed by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on nonstop flights to the US from 10 airports, including Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports.
Qatar Airways’ business-class passengers will be able to collect the complimentary laptops after boarding US-bound flights. Prior to boarding, business-class passengers will be able to download their work from their personal laptop computers to USB drives, which they can then use to download needed documents on to the laptop the airline makes available. Similar to Emirates, Qatar Airways is offering a special handling service at gates in which “any electronic items prohibited by the new ban will be collected and securely packaged … [and] tagged, loaded as check-in baggage and returned safely to the customer on arrival to the US,” the airline said.
Qatar Airways additionally will make Wi-Fi available to all US-bound passengers for free for 1 hr. and is offering a $5 package that will let passengers have Wi-Fi for the duration of their US-bound flight.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the airline’s response to the electronics ban will enable a “business as usual” solution for passengers. “By providing this laptop loan service we can ensure that our passengers on flights to the US can continue to work whilst onboard,” he said in a statement.
Etihad is making iPads available for US-bound premium passengers, and offering free Wi-Fi for all first- and business-class passengers on US-bound flights, starting April 2.
(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)