Saturday, March 25, 2017

Etihad bans e-devices bigger than smartphones on US flights

UAE National carrier Etihad Airways said it will not permit passengers on its US-bound flights to carry electronic devices bigger than a smart phone or mobile into the aircraft cabin starting from today (March 25).

The rule will be applicable only for passengers on its US-bound flights from, or transiting through, Abu Dhabi International Airport, said Etihad Airways in a statement.

"Items such as laptop computers, tablets including iPads, gaming devices, cameras and e-readers will be required to be placed in checked-in luggage. Medical devices are exempt and can be carried onboard," it added.

"US-bound passengers travelling via Abu Dhabi must check-in their electronic devices at the point of origin. The directive, issued by the US Transportation Security Administration, does not affect flights departing from the US."

All Etihad Airways’ US flights have mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity, together with power and USB points at every seat enabling guests to remain connected through their mobiles and smart phones, the carrier said.

The airlines has also urged its US passengers to avoid carrying spare battery packs larger than the permitted size since "these will not be allowed in either the luggage hold or the cabin."

Etihad Airways said it was sending email alerts to all US-bound travellers advising of the new directive.

Signage is being placed at check-in desks at airports around the world where staff will inform guests to pack any prohibited electronic devices in their checked luggage, it added.

At Abu Dhabi International Airport, the passengers can clear US Immigration and Customs at the US Preclearance facility in Terminal 3 – the only one of its kind in the Middle East.

"When guests land in the US, they arrive as domestic passengers with no requirement to queue for immigration checks again. Due to the additional security measures, Etihad Airways will deploy more staff at the US Preclearance facility to provide assistance," said a senior official.

"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," remarked its CEO Peter Baumgartner.

The carrier reassured passengers of its highest level of service to minimise disruption following the introduction of a new US travel directive on electronic devices.

Etihad Airways operates 45 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and six cities across the US – namely New York, Washington, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"Etihad Airways offers excellent facilities on the ground at Abu Dhabi airport and inflight to keep guests entertained during their journey," said Baumgartner.

"While we are communicating the new directive to guests before they begin their travels to the US, we are implementing a number of measures at Abu Dhabi International Airport to ease the process. We continue to work with the relevant authorities and advise guests to comply with the directive to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted journey to the US," he stated.

Etihad said while Abu Dhabi airport is not listed for a similar ban related to direct flights operating to the United Kingdom, enhanced security screening is likely for guests travelling to London, Manchester and Edinburgh.-TradeArabia News Service

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