Days after the United States imposed bans on electronic devices for passengers boarding US flights, on transit through the Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways has moved to minimize disruptions.
The airline has announced that it will offer first and business class passengers iPads for use during flights. Premium passengers will also be offered free Wi-Fi for their smartphones.All Etihad Airways’ US flights already have mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity, together with power and USB points at every seat enabling guests to remain connected through their smart phones.
In March, the United States government banned people flying from much of the Middle East and North Africa from carrying laptops, iPads, cameras, e-readers and gaming devices in the airplane cabin over terrorism concerns.The restrictions required nine airlines, among them Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways, British Airways and Turkish Airlines, to prevent people flying from eight countries from bringing any device bigger than a smartphone on board with the devices being checked into the luggage hold.
And with an on-board inflight entertainment system offering hundreds of hours of free programmes, international movies, live TV news and sports channels, interactive games, and music in every seat, Etihad Airways has been able to keep its passengers busy throughout their journey without the need of a laptop or tablet.The directive, issued by the US Transportation Security Administration, does not affect flights departing from the United States.
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 are 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.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways chief executive, said: “We remain committed to ensuring we provide guests the highest levels of service and quality experience that we are renowned for, at Abu Dhabi International Airport and throughout their journey to minimise the impact of the new measures.“Etihad Airways offers excellent facilities on the ground at Abu Dhabi International Airport and inflight to keep guests entertained during their journey.”
Etihad Airways has further stated that bookings to the United States are healthy despite the ban on electronics.