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Emirates responds to U.S. laptop ban

DUBAI: March 23, 2017. Emirates Airline has responded swiftly to the U.S. ban on laptops and tablets via its passenger flights from Dubai with a free service allowing transit customers to use their devices until just prior to boarding.

Noting the ban does not apply on Emirates' U.S.-bound flights via Milan and Athens (pictured arriving in Newark on March 12), the airline said passengers transiting Dubai to the U.S. from March 25 will be required to hand over their electronic equipment to security staff for packing in special boxes prior to loading in the aircraft hold.

The airline is encouraging Dubai-originating passengers to pack their electronic devices in their check-in luggage to avoid "a detailed search of all hand baggage".

EK to EWREmirates Airline president Tim Clark explained: "Our aim is to ensure compliance with the new rules, while minimizing disruption to passenger flow and impact on customer experience. Our new complimentary service enables passengers, particularly those flying for business, to have the flexibility to use their devices until the last possible moment.

"Once on board they can still stay connected on their mobile phones. Our historical data shows that on Emirates' U.S. flights, 90 percent of passengers using our onboard mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity services do so via their smart phones. Only 6.0 percent connect via their laptops, and 4.0 percent via their tablets."

The U.S. has applied its ban to airlines originating in Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar and the UAE. The U.K. ban applies to flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia.

Five days prior to the ban announcement, the U.S. lobby group Partnership for Open & Fair Skies - including American, Delta and United - wrote to Donald Trump claiming the UAE and Qatar threaten 1.2 million American jobs because of "illegal subsidies".

This view is not shared by the U.S. Airlines for Open Skies group of Atlas Air, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines and Jet Blue.

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