Etihad Airways says bookings to the US are healthy despite the electronics ban

DUBAI (Reuters) – Etihad Airways’ bookings to the United States are healthy despite last month’s introduction of a ban on most electronics from the cabins of passenger flights to the United States, the Abu Dhabi carrier said on Monday.

On March 25, the U.S. banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from passenger cabins on direct flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, including the United Arab Emirates.

“Bookings to U.S. destinations remain healthy and customer feedback to the initiatives taken by Etihad Airways to provide for their business and entertainment needs has been very positive,” an Etihad spokesman said.

Industry experts warned the ban – prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices in electronic gadgets – could be damaging to fast-growing Gulf carriers by weakening demand among corporate flyers who use their travel time to complete work on laptops and other devices.

Etihad said last week it would lend approved tablets and offer unlimited wifi to business and first-class passengers traveling on U.S.-bound flights.

In March, fellow Gulf carrier Emirates said booking rates on U.S. flights fell 35 per cent after President Donald Trump’s first travel ban which like the electronics ban only applied to Muslim-majority countries.

Electronics ban at foreign airports could expand

Washington (CNN)The ban on electronic devices on board some direct flights to the United States could expand to include more airports and devices, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday.

The existing ban — which governs certain devices from 10 specific African and Middle Eastern airports in eight countries — requires passengers on those flights to place electronic devices larger than cellphones in their checked luggage.

“Could we see an expansion? Possibly, we have not ruled out that there could be an expansion in the future,” DHS spokesman David Lapan told reporters. He added that any expansion to the ban — which took effect two weeks ago — is not imminent.
The Department of Homeland Security is also targeting and isolating certain aircraft for additional screening upon landing in the United States, according to a source with knowledge of the screening procedures.
US authorities have said the electronics ban is focused on the eight countries in part because of intelligence indicating a greater threat there. Intelligence and law enforcement assessments done in recent months also indicate that, though the broader vulnerabilities exist, the US has more confidence in detection machines and security screeners at airports in the US and Europe. Advanced technology and training helps mitigate the risk.

Lapan said it was too soon to tell if any of the airports currently on the list would be removed and that the policy would be reviewed based on emerging threats. He added, though, that “nothing is foolproof.”

“It is always our goal to prevent somebody from seeking to get an explosive device on an airplane and so we put things into place to try to mitigate that to the greatest extent possible,” he said. “But, short of having people stop flying completely — that’s the only way you can guarantee that no one will ever get blown up in an airplane.”

The US and UK airline electronics ban was prompted in part by a plot involving a fake iPad

Earlier this week, United States and United Kingdom officials announced new restrictions for airline passengers from eight Middle Eastern countries, forbidding passengers to carry electronics larger than a smartphone into an airplane cabin. According to a security source, the ban was prompted in part by a plot involving explosives hidden in a fake iPad.

The Guardian reports that the bans were “were not the result of a single specific incident but a combination of factors,” and that one of those factors was a plot to use a fake iPad to bring explosives onboard a plane. Further details, such as when the bombing would be carried out, the group behind it, or the nation from which the plan originated, were not divulged.

DETAILS OF THIS PARTICULAR PLOT REMAIN UNDER WRAPS
This delivery method is not unprecedented. In February 2016, a Somali plane was able to land after a passenger detonated a bomb, possibly hidden in a laptop, shortly after takeoff. The Guardian notes that a bomb placed in a passenger cabin can have more of an impact than one placed in the cargo hold, because the would-be bomber could position the explosive against a door or window.

The ban implemented by the US Department of Homeland Security includes laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and handheld gaming devices, and will require passengers to check those items with their baggage. At the time, DHS explained its rationale after “evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.” The US ban affects inbound, direct flights from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, while the UK ban affects flights from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey.

By the Verge

Turkish Airlines implements electronic device measure

Turkish Airlines Electronics Ban
Turkish Airlines Electronics Ban

Turkish Airlines Saturday have begun to implement regulations forbidding passengers from carrying electronic devices larger than cell phones aboard the plane, as announced on the airline’s website on Friday.
According to an Anadolu Agency reporter present at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines personnel have taken passengers’ electronic devices such as tablets and laptops at the boarding gate and stored them in special containers .
Passengers were asked to leave tablets and laptops to be stored in the baggage hold.
“The electronic devices will be received by an airline officer during the last check-in before boarding the aircraft and will be placed in a special shatterproof luggage after being wrapped in foam covers,” Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
“We guarantee that passengers’ devices will not be damaged or lost,” Eksi added.
On March 21, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the restrictions would apply to flights from 10 foreign airports in eight Muslim-majority countries, including Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport.
The U.K. later issued a similar ban on all flights from airports in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia.

How does Turkish Airlines deal with the Electronics Ban?

Turkish Airlines announced the following:

Turkish Airlines introduces its new offerings to make their U.S. and U.K. bound passengers’ journeys more comfortable during the implementation process of the electronics ban that declared by the concerned authorities.

  • Our passengers will continue to use the on board internet with their mobile phones.
  • Laptops, tablets and other electronic devices may be used until the boarding gate where they will be handed over.
  • Our transfer passengers will have to deliver their respective devices at the boarding gate on their arrival in Istanbul.
  • If passenger prefers not to place his/her electronical devices to the checked baggage during the check-in, according to the amendments, these devices will be handed over to be tagged at the boarding gate for a safe and secure transportation, and will be handed back to the passengers upon arrival at the destination. At this destination there will be Turkish Airlines’ authorized staff who will collect the luggages that contain electronic devices. These staff will take them all to the designated place in baggage reclaim area, and all devices will be delivered to owners by these staff by matching the given luggage tags with the record list they have.

Why do we do that?

As per the directive issued by the relevant authorities in their respective countries, which will be effective as from 25th of March 2017, passengers of U.S. and U.K. bound flights from/through Istanbul Ataturk Airport are not permitted to carry electronic devices, with the exception of medical devices, larger than a cell phone or smart phone on board.

All laptops, tablets, cameras*, e-readers and gaming devices must be placed in checked-in baggage at the start of any U.S.-bound or U.K.-bound journey. Turkish Airlines offers a special service from Istanbul Atatürk Airport that gives its passengers a safe and secure method of carrying their electronics in a special area in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

Transit passengers may hand over their electronic devices at the boarding gate.

The ban does not affect flights leaving from the U.S. or U.K. for Turkey and beyond.

* Bringing aboard cameras is not restricted for U.K. bound flights.

We believe that the way Turkish Airlines handle the new electronics ban is the best possible way. I in person would never want to checkin my expensive camera or laptop. So to get this transport on a secure way and only check it in at the boarding gate is awesome. Emirates do the same and I hope all other affected carriers will provide the same solution soon.

Thousands of unsuspecting travellers from India will be impacted by the US’s electronics ban on flights

People flying out of India might end up avoiding airlines of Middle Eastern countries for long haul flights.
On March 21, the US administration announced that all digital devices except smartphones are banned on-board for certain flights originating in the Middle East. Passengers flying from Cairo, Kuwait City, Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Jeddah, Amman, Riyadh, and Istanbul must check these items in.
It directly impacts 56 US-bound daily flights from the Middle East. The airlines affected are Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Royal Air Maroc. (The UK followed suit with an electronics ban of its own the same day.)

However, the inconvenience extends well beyond the Gulf borders. Air travel for passengers around the world, including millions from Indian, is going to become a hassle, too.

In fiscal 2016, around 50 million international journeys commenced or ended in India, according to data from the India arm of consulting and research firm Center for Aviation (CAPA). “Out of these 50 million, just under 20%, or around 10 million, travelled on Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar,” CAPA India said in an e-mail. These numbers include Indians and foreign nationals traveling to and from India. Roughly 1.3 million passengers travelled from India to the US in that period.

For many of them, using devices on-board may be a cure for boredom: playing Candy Crush, watching movies on laptops or reading on Kindle. However, the ever-busy business traveler will end up in a real fix.

However, the inconvenience extends well beyond the Gulf borders. Air travel for passengers around the world, including millions from Indian, is going to become a hassle, too.
In fiscal 2016, around 50 million international journeys commenced or ended in India, according to data from the India arm of consulting and research firm Center for Aviation (CAPA). “Out of these 50 million, just under 20%, or around 10 million, travelled on Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar,” CAPA India said in an e-mail. These numbers include Indians and foreign nationals traveling to and from India. Roughly 1.3 million passengers travelled from India to the US in that period.
For many of them, using devices on-board may be a cure for boredom: playing Candy Crush, watching movies on laptops or reading on Kindle. However, the ever-busy business traveler will end up in a real fix.
Disgruntled business travelers

Being on a flight is no longer an excuse to disconnect from clients and colleagues.
Especially for people like consultants or lawyers or architects, who bill clients by the hour, the connectivity during a flight has been a boon for productivity. Long international flights went from being economic black holes to a money-making machines. “…Now, for a lawyer who charges $1,000 an hour, paying $5,000 for a one-way business class seat from Dubai to the US makes sense, even if she can comfortably do only seven hours of work. The same calculus holds for the accountant in coach,” Slate’s Daniel Gross explains.
And even if there’s no boss or client to answer to, frequent travelers who have to balance between work and catching forty winks up in the air. For people whose work spans countries and timezones, their laptops can be their professional lifelines.
“It’s a 14-hour flight to San Francisco or Los Angeles and I spend most of that time working on my laptop,” Bhavin Turakhia, chief executive of internet domain registrar Directi, told The Times of India. To make sure his business operations, spanning the US, Dubai and India, run smoothly, Turakhia will now have to seek out other airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa or Singapore Airlines.
Airlines outside the Middle East might emerge as the winners by default.
Lucking out

Unlike their US and European counterparts, Middle Eastern airlines have always been applauded for their attention to detail, state-of-the art services and top-notch treatment of customers. In recent years, the Gulf carriers started ramping up the size of their fleets to keep up with booming business. However, the latest move by the Trump administration will likely get travelers from India to reconsider their travel routes.
Air India, the Indian carrier that operates non-stop flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and other Indian cities to major US tech and finance hubs such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, expects to see a surge in passengers.
“For many passengers laptops and iPads serve as their mini office and generally have a lot of official data stored in them,” Vinod Hejmadi, director of finance at Air India told Bloomberg. Passenger will not want to risk their electronic equipment being susceptible to potential theft or damage in their checked-in bags, he added.

This Airline Is Letting Passengers Use Banned Electronics Until the Last Second

Emirates Airlines will allow passengers to carry their laptops and tablets through security and to their gates instead of checking them with their luggage in wake of the Trump administration’s electronics ban.
As a means to lighten the effect of the ban, the Dubai-based airline company will offer a packaging service at the gates of U.S.-bound flights for these electronics. The service makes it so travelers can use their devices up until they board their flights.
“Our aim is to ensure compliance with the new rules, while minimizing disruption to passenger flow and impact on customer experience,” Emirates President Tim Clark said in a statement released Thursday.
He added that the majority of Emirates’ passengers — 90% — use their smartphones to connect to onboard WiFi connect. Only 6% connect to the WiFi with their laptops, and 4% do so with their tablets.
The U.S. issued a security directive involving 10 Middle Eastern airports earlier this week — banning all personal electronics larger than a cell phone on U.S.-bound flights. The ban will go into effect March 25.
There was no specific threat that spurred than ban, though the Department of Homeland Security mentioned an incident in which a man detonated an explosive device in a laptop on a Somali passenger jet in February 2016. Such a device could not be used in cell phones, experts reached by TIME have said.
The electronics ban is not permanent, but also does not have a set end date. Clark urged passengers to think on the bright side about the electronics policy. “Perhaps the silver lining to this is that they can now justifiably give themselves a break from their devices,” Clark said.

Donald Trump’s electronics ban: What does it means for airline passengers?

Emirates Electronics Ban on flights to the USA.
Emirates Electronics Ban on flights to the USA.

What we know so far about how the electronics ban will affect your journey

Since the ban on large electronic devices in the cabins of flights from six Middle Eastern and North African countries was announced, questions have flooded in to The Independent travel desk. Simon Calder, travel correspondent (and a former security officer at Gatwick airport), tackles the key issues.

Which airports and airlines are affected?

All airports in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey with direct flights to the UK. In the case of Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia, the only flights are from their capitals — Amman, Beirut and Tunis — to Heathrow. But from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey there are flights from multiple airports to a range of UK destinations.

Continue reading “Donald Trump’s electronics ban: What does it means for airline passengers?”

Trump’s Electronics Ban on Airplanes Makes Less Sense Every Day

Trump Electronics Ban
Trump Electronics Ban
Trump Electronics Ban

Here’s a riddle: If a Trump policy targets random locations in the Middle East, and nobody can explain it, does anybody really know what’s happening? It’s a tough riddle because it’s practically impossible to answer. Yet, this is our reality now.

In a little less than 72 hours, the Trump administration’s ban on allowing electronic devices “larger than a smartphone” in the cabins of planes flying from Middle Eastern airports will take effect. When the policy was announced, it was entirely unclear what was prompting the seemingly arbitrary list of airports that would be affected and even more unclear if the policy would actually improve security. At first glance, newly reported details seem to offer some clarity, but they actually just obfuscate the reasoning behind the ban even more.

Continue reading “Trump’s Electronics Ban on Airplanes Makes Less Sense Every Day”

The airline electronics ban is already causing confusion and frustration

New York (CNN)The Trump administration’s order banning passengers from major airports in the Middle East and North Africa from flying with electronic devices on board is not even a day old and its impact is already being felt. Through WhatsApp and iMessage, CNN asked travelers who would be coming in from the 10 airports covered by the ban how they’d be affected. This is what they said:

They’re worried about long flights with restless children

Marissa and Adam Goldstein are from Boston but live in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. They’ll be flying with their twin daughters, Eyva and Noa.
“We’ll be flying Emirates on Monday through Dubai with our twin 16-month-old daughters. This will be hard as I was going to have them use our iPad to keep them occupied. Also, we use our laptops for work on these long flights!”

Others said the same thing: “I’m flying with TWO toddlers on a 7-hour flight through Morocco from Italy and now they can have no iPad? No Kindle to read? I mean this is ridiculous,” one wrote.
They fret about lost productivity
Syed Hussain lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He travels regularly to the United Arab Emirates and said he normally works 10 hours of the 16-hour flight. “[This] sends a very negative message to people like me who want to explore business opportunities between North America and Middle East,” he said.

Another person wrote: “Will the US government pay for the day of work I will lose when I fly? Don’t think so!!!”
They worry about the safety of sensitive info on their electronic devices
People have entrusted Matthew Schweitzer with their lives; he takes that responsibility very seriously. On his laptop, the American researcher for the Education for Peace in Iraq Center has days of interviews and testimony from Iraqis living under and fighting ISIS.

“These interviews, if leaked, could put those (people) in grave danger for reprisals and exploitation,” he said. “I cannot risk these data being stolen or falling into the wrong hands.”
It’s common policy for businesses to require employees with confidential or sensitive information on their electronics to keep the devices with them at all times.
“My company’s policy requires that we take company laptops as carry-ons to prevent theft,” said Morgan, who works in the oil and gas industry. CNN is not using her full name because she is not authorized by her employer to speak to the media.

Her company’s travel policy says employees must take the cheapest and most direct route; it’s unclear if the electronics ban will change that.
In an industry in which success is tied to volatile oil prices, increased travel expenses could reverberate through a company’s bottom line.
They’re wary of lost items
Tugbek Olek, a Turkish entrepreneur, attends the E3 Expo in Los Angeles every June and brings a lot of electronics. He said he doubts he’ll go this year if the ban remains in place. “We’re not going to check in 20K worth of electronics,” he said.

“One concern is they are not going to be able to work,” he said by phone.
The biggest concern Warren’s clients have — as do many others reaching out to CNN — is that their items may be lost, stolen or damaged in their checked baggage.
James Buck, a professional photographer currently in Beirut, planned to board his flight home to Vermont with his camera equipment: He values it at half his year’s salary.

Buck has only a soft case for the equipment. Checking it means he needs a hard case to try to protect it during baggage handling. Despite his best efforts, Buck could not find a hard case and had to settle for a Tupperware box.
They don’t know how family members with autism will cope
In a couple of weeks, Nayef’s 8-year-old sister — who has autism — will now have to board a flight without her laptop, DVDs and video games. Nayef, who asked that his last name not be shared, said the electronics help “keep her emotional problems relatively at bay.”

The ban includes exemptions for medical devices, but it’s unclear if Nayef’s sister’s electronics could be considered medical.
They just have a lot of questions
Dozens of travelers have contacted us asking if they are going to be affected. “I have a connecting flight through Dubai, will I be affected?” “I’m a US citizen. Does this apply to me?” “I never check in luggage, am I going to have to check in a bag just for my laptop?
For some answers, check out our story on what you need to know.