In an effort to alleviate inconvenience for passengers who are now dealing with banned laptops and tablets on some of its routes, Etihad Airways will begin offerings its first and business class travelers free Wi-Fi and iPads.
Starting April 2, first and business class passengers taking one of the airline's U.S.-bound flights from Abu Dhabi will be greeted with free Wi-Fi vouchers along with their welcome drink for free connection throughout their flight.
There will also be loaner iPads available for customers who need them, and USB sockets at every seat to help them stay powered.
The move comes after a directive from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security banned travelers heading to the United States from 10 Middle Eastern and North African airports from carrying electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone on board.
Qatar Airways created a similar program Thursday that will allow passengers to borrow loaner laptops and use free Wi-Fi in order to continue working during U.S.-bound flights. The initiative is set to begin next week and will be available to business class passengers, according to a press release. All other passengers will receive free Wi-Fi for one hour, followed by discounted access for $5.
“As an award-winning and global airline we truly appreciate the importance of being able to work on board our aircraft and that is why I have insisted on offering only the best possible solution for our customers,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways group chief executive.
Emirates Airline and Turkish Airlines, also affected by the ban, announced they would be allowing passengers to gate-check their large electronics, so they're able to use them up until boarding. Should Qatar fliers prefer this option, it is also available to them.