Last month, the U.S. and U.K. announced an initiative to ban electronics in the main cabin on flights between several Middle Eastern and North African airports.All passengers now have to hand over electronics for tagging at check-in, receiving them again at their destination.
Many have expressed outrage over the change, arguing that it's a severe inconvenience to customers who have done nothing wrong. Though the measure is to fight terrorism, nobody wants to sit on a long flight without entertainment.
Surface Tablet Loan
Thankfully, Emirates seems to have a temporary solution. The Dubai-based airline will be loaning free Surface tablets to its Business and First passengers on flights to the U.S.
The move allows businessmen to perform vital work while travelling via a pre-loaded Office 365 suite. Customers are told to work from a USB drive, which is allowed in the cabin.
Other airlines have spoken out about the ban, including Qatar and Etihad. Both have implemented their own loan program, the former offering laptops and the latter iPads. Both have varying degrees of free WiFi.
It's a smart move and gives Emirates and the others a competitive advantage. However, there are natural concerns about such solutions. Those will valuable information will not want to use a public device, and there's no guarantee it will be wiped correctly at the end of the flight.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the ban will be lifted any time soon. Flyers will have to choose between boredom on a thirteen-hour flight or an unknown device.