Emirates to Let Travelers Keep Laptops Until U.S. BoardingsBy and
Carrier wants customers to have laptops until last moment
Additional staff to be deployed to prevent disruption: Clark
Emirates airline will let passengers take their laptops past security gates at Dubai International Airport and collect the devices only before they board U.S.-bound flights as the world’s largest international carrier seeks to minimize the impact of an electronics ban.
Devices affected by the ban will be allowed within the airport’s security perimeter so that passengers can use their laptops and tablets until the last possible moment, the state-owned carrier said in a statement. As all hand baggage will be subject to a “detailed search” at the gate, customers will need to present the items there to be packed in boxes and carried in the plane’s cargo hold during the flight. The service is free of charge, it said.
Additional staff will be deployed to prevent disruptions, 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 travelers on non-stop flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports from bringing large electronics into the aircraft cabin.
“Perhaps the silver lining to this is that they can now justifiably give themselves a break from their devices,” Emirates President Tim Clark said in the statement.
Emirates stands to be one of the hardest hit by the new security rules, as well-paying business customers will probably seek alternatives to avoid costly downtime during flights. Airlines operating out of European hubs could gain with the promise of “making better use of business travelers’ time,” Jamie Baker, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said in a note, adding that the electronics ban has “the potential to alter global traffic flows.”
Only about 6 percent of passengers who use online links aboard Emirates’ U.S. flights connect with their laptops and 4 percent operate tablets, with the remaining 90 percent gaining access through smartphones, Emirates’ Clark said. The prohibition applies only to the carrier’s nonstop U.S. services and not flights that stop in Milan or Athens on the way, Emirates said.