Emirates Airlines is offering yet another service for passengers affected by the Trump administration's recent ban on most electronics on US-bound flights. The Middle Eastern carrier said on Wednesday it would start offering complimentary loaner Microsoft Surface tablets equipped with Microsoft Office 2016 to its first and business class passengers in response to the controversial ban.
"Customers can download their work on to a USB which can be brought on board and plugged into the devices to continue working seamlessly," Emirates said in a statement.
All US-bound flights from Dubai will offer the new tablet loan service.
The new service comes in response to the US Transportation Security Administration's security directive requiring all passengers travelling on direct flights to the US to check-in any personal electronics devices larger than a mobile phone into cargo luggage.
The new indefinite ban, which went into effect in late March, impacts 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Saudi Arabia among others. Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and Royal Jordanian are among the nine carriers affected by the new policy.
The ban was implemented based on intelligence that terrorists may attempt to target commercial airlines by smuggling explosive devices in various electronic gadgets.
The UK also introduced a similar travel restriction shortly after but did not include flights from the UAE and Qatar. However, many security experts have questioned the scope and usefulness of the ban in preventing terrorist attacks and making air travel safer.
Meanwhile, multiple affected carriers have responded to the ban with various new services to help passengers inconvenienced by the ban.
In March, Emirates announced a free "laptop and tablet handling service" allowing passengers to use their devices until right before boarding the aircraft. Travelers must then declare and hand over their devices for them to be packed and stored in the aircraft hold. The devices will then be returned to the passenger upon arrival in the US.
Emirates said nearly 8000 passengers have used its new device handling service on its 112 weekly direct flights from Dubai to the US so far. Qatar Airways and Etihad are also offering affected passengers similar services as well.
Last week, Qatar Airways announced that it would offer free loaner laptops to its business class passengers. Etihad Airways will be loaning iPads to its premium class customers on US-bound flights leaving from Abu Dhabi.
Turkish Airlines also announced free Wi-Fi for US-bound passengers who declare and hand over their banned electronic devices at the boarding gate.
Some affected carriers including Emirates, Etihad and Jordanian Airlines also took the opportunity to poke fun at the new directive as well whilst promoting their own in-flight entertainment services.
"Who needs tablets and laptops anyway?" Emirates' new video says. "Let us entertain you."