Qatar Airways is taking on the US government’s ban on large electronics with a rather ingenious solution — loaner laptops.
On Thursday, the Doha-based airline announced that business class passengers on board its flights to the US will 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 CEO, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.
“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 complimentary WiFi.
Qatar Airways has not announced which type of laptops will be available.
Unfortunately, the loaner program will not be available to economy class passengers. At the same time, Qatar Airways has moved towards a two cabin class configuration which means the airline’s flights to the US operate without a first class cabin.
The laptop loan program is the latest reaction from the nine airlines in the Middle East and North Africa that are affected by the ban which went into effect on March 25.
While all of the affected carriers have made it clear they will continue to comply with the ban, they have also come with with a series of ways to work around the US government’s new policy.
On Wednesday, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways announced that it will offer first and business class passengers free WiFi and loaner iPads on US bound flights beginning April 1.
Earlier this week, Turkish Airlines announced on Twitter that passengers who turn in their laptops and tablets at boarding will receive free WiFi on board. Last week, Emirates implemented a laptop handling program that allows passengers getting on US-bound flights to have access to their laptop until boarding. The Dubai-based carrier has also hinted that it may offer loaner laptops.
According to Emirates president Sir Tim Clark, the US government’s laptop has created logistical challenges for the airline and the airports that handle its flights. Thus far, the short term effects have not been a as dire as anticipated while its long term effects won’t be clear for some time, Clark told Business Insider. However, not having access to laptops is still an inconvenience to the carrier’s passengers.