DOHA - Qatar Airways said on Thursday it will offer free laptops to business class passengers flying to the United States, in an effort to get round an American ban on electronics.
In a statement, the Doha-based carrier said it would begin offering a "laptop loan service" to those travelling in business class from "next week". The computers would be collected by US-bound passengers from their departure gate just before boarding, said
Qatar Airways. "By providing this laptop loan service we can ensure that our passengers on flights to the US can continue to work whilst on board," said the airline's boss, Akbar Al-Baker.
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A similar laptop proposal is being considered by fellow Gulf carrier, Emirates, which is also affected by the US ban. Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways meanwhile said it would offer free wi-fi and tablet computers to first and business class passengers on US-bound flights.
The move comes after Washington earlier this month stopped electronic devices bigger than mobile phones from being taken on direct flights to the United States from 10 airports in seven Middle Eastern countries and Turkey. A similar ban was also imposed by Britain, but this exempted some of the Gulf airlines, including
Qatar. US officials said the measure was intended to thwart possible attacks on airliners with small explosive devices hidden in consumer electronics.