Qatar Airways is retaliating against the US laptop ban by offering some passengers an unprecedented perk – Business Insider
Qatar Airways is taking on the US government’s ban on large
electronics with a rather ingenious solution — loaner laptops.
On Thursday, the Doha, Qatar-based airline announced that
business-class passengers aboard its flights to the US would have
access to loaner laptops beginning next week.
“By providing this laptop loan service we can ensure that our
passengers on flights to the US can continue to work whilst
on-board,” Qatar Airways Group’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said in a
“This unique ability to offer ‘business as usual,’ above and
beyond the competition, is yet another example of Qatar Airways
justification for being the ‘World’s Best Business Class.'”
In addition, business-class passengers will have access to
Qatar Airways has not announced which type of laptops will be
The loaner program will not be available to economy-class
passengers. At the same time, Qatar Airways has moved toward a
two-cabin class configuration, which means the airline’s flights
to the US operate without a first-class cabin.
The laptop program is the latest reaction by one of the nine airlines
affected by the US laptop ban. The policy, which took effect
Saturday, prohibits passengers flying to the US from some
airports in the Middle East and North Africa from carrying-on
electronics bigger than a smartphone.
While all of the affected carriers have made it clear they plan
to comply with the ban, they have also come up with a series of
ways to work around the US government’s new policy.
On Wednesday, the Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-based Etihad
Airways announced that it would offer first- and
business-class passengers free Wi-Fi and loaner iPads on US-bound
flights beginning Saturday.
Earlier this week, Turkish Airlines announced on Twitter that
passengers who turned in their laptops and tablets at boarding
would receive free Wi-Fi on board. Last week, Emirates
implemented a laptop handling program allowing passengers
getting on US-bound flights to have access to their laptop until
boarding. The Dubai, UAE-based carrier has also hinted that it
may offer loaner laptops.
According to Emirates’ president, Tim Clark, the US
government’s laptop ban has created logistical challenges for the
airline and the airports that handle its flights. Thus far, the
short-term effects have not been as dire as anticipated, while
its long-term effects won’t be clear for some time, Clark told
Business Insider. Not having access to laptops, however, is still
an inconvenience to the carrier’s passengers.