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Electronic Devices Ban in Effect, US-Bound Passengers React Differently | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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No US carriers are affected, but the ban hits passengers on approximately 50 flights per day from the busiest hubs in the Arab world. | Source: Reuters

Dubai – The United States ban on boarding portable electronic devices onto outbound flights from seven Arab states and Turkey went into effect on March 25. International passengers reacted differently to the ban.

A British citizen residing in Qatar, which makes three work-related round trips per year to the US said that she understands the security aspect of the ban, however pointing out that the ban will limit her her access to work while flying.

A father travelling alongside his family on the other hand said that he was majorly inconvenienced, given that his two minor children carry around their electronic tablets everywhere.

At UAE’s Dubai airport, known to host the largest number of commuters in the world, Emirate Airlines assigned an army of staffers and assistants on Saturday to explain to US-bound travelers the ban procedures.

Dubai’s flagship carrier said that complimentary entertainment will be provided to passengers.

Government-owned Emirates operates 18 flights daily to the United States out of Dubai. In an attempt to appease its customers, the airline announced it would be offering complimentary electronics handling facility at gates to enable passengers to use their electronic devices after check-in and until boarding. A similar measure was taken by the Turkish airliner.

Passengers will need to declare ‘banned’ electronics before boarding US-bound flights. At the gate, these devices will be packed into secure boxes and stored in the aircraft’s cargo hold, and returned to the travellers upon landing in the US.

On the other hand, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways issued a statement saying that “While Abu Dhabi International Airport is not listed for a similar ban related to direct flights operating to the United Kingdom, enhanced security screening is likely for guests travelling to London, Manchester and Edinburgh.”

The carrier reassured passengers of its highest level of service to minimize disruption following the introduction of a new US travel directive on electronic devices.

At Abu Dhabi International Airport, all Etihad Airways guests travelling to the United States clear US Immigration and Customs at the US Preclearance facility in Terminal 3 – the only one of its kind in the Middle East. When guests land in the US, they arrive as domestic passengers with no requirement to queue for immigration checks again. Due to the additional security measures, Etihad Airways will deploy more staff at the US Preclearance facility to provide assistance.

To avoid inconvenience, guests are encouraged to pack the prohibited items in their checked baggage prior to reaching the Preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi. Any prohibited electronic devices will have to be declared and placed in padded envelopes before being securely taken to the aircraft luggage hold by staff.

Such items will be returned to guests on arrival in the US, while conveniently, other items of checked-in luggage can be collected at the final destination in the United States, Etihad Airways said.