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Several weeks ago the United States enacted a ban on large electronics on flights from 10 Middle East airports. The U.K. followed suit shortly thereafter (SEE: UK bans certain electronics from select Middle East flights). There was even talk of an expanded ban that would cover Europe, but we’ve avoided that for now.
The laptop ban has frustrated many travelers who are used to having their devices handy for both entertainment and productivity. For many business travelers, the uninterrupted hours in the air are a great time to catch up on focused work.
Air India even saw a major spike in bookings following the ban, as many travelers sought to avoid the restriction. Emirates blamed the restriction for a drop in bookings, subsequently cutting service to 5 U.S. cities.
Ban lifted for 4 major Middle East airlines
As of Thursday, the electronic ban has been lifted for flights from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, and Istanbul. Etihad’s hub at Abu Dhabi was the first to receive the go-ahead, with the other three major Middle East hubs following a few days later. TSA officials will be meeting with the airlines to discuss their implementation of security protocols.
This is great news for any travelers passing through the Middle East, or aficionados of the great products offered by these airlines, which are among the best in the world. Dan and his wife flew Emirates top-notch first class a couple years ago as part of a whirlwind round-the-world trip (SEE: Emirates A380 review Dubai to New York).
Will we see the ban lifted for other airports and airlines?
Who knows. For now, it is great news that the ban has been lifted for Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, and Turkish, as they cover a large share of Middle East-U.S. flights. Flights from Saudi Arabia may follow later this month.
I really hope that this is the beginning of the end of the ban. With an electronics ban on flights from Europe lurking in the shadows for quite a while, I didn’t know if things were actually going to get worse before they got better. Here’s hoping we’re on an upward trajectory.
What do you think of the lifting of the electronics ban from these airports?
Featured image under CC 3.0 license.