The electronics ban that will prohibit the carriage of electronic devices larger than a smartphone on flights to the US will go into effect on March 25, 2017. Understandably, this is getting quite a bit of coverage, since it can potentially impact thousands of travelers who will fly through the affected cities.
Emirates is probably one of the airlines that will suffer the most under this electronics ban, due to their size and them being based in Dubai (DXB), one of the cities affected. They fly to 12 US destinations, with a number of them having multiple daily flights. Emirates released a video soon after the electronics ban was made public, promoting their in-flight entertainment system ICE.
But now it looks like Emirates might be going one step further in minimizing the disruption the ban might bring passengers. The Department of Homeland Security does not specify how the ban needs to be implemented, as long as the end result of “no devices larger than a smartphone in the cabin” is achieved. To that end, Emirates will reportedly allow passengers to take their larger-than-smartphone devices past security, and then collect them right before boarding commences. Bloomberg reports:
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.
Obviously, this doesn’t eliminate a number of potential problems with this ban. Passengers still won’t be able to watch their own content on their tablets, and they still won’t be able to work on their laptops. Concerns for theft and damages to devices also won’t go away, nor will hazards that portable batteries in cargo hold might pose. Additionally, this special accommodation is likely to be limited to Business and First Class passengers, due to the logistical efforts required.
But for those seated up front aiming to squeeze productivity every last minute out of their time on the ground, this is one solution. If Emirates is going to stow away all the devices in one dedicated spot, perhaps it might act as an added peace of mind for those concerned about checking these valuables. Presumably, this will also make retrieval easier once the plane lands, which I think will be the most noticeable benefit for me.
The United Arab Emirates is not part of the UK ban, so passengers on UK-bound Emirates flight can continue to bring their electronics onboard.