Travel Technology

The Electronics Ban May Soon Be Expanded To Flights From The UK To The US

Inflight-wifi

In late March the US instituted a ban on electronics for nonstop flights from select countries to the US. For nonstop flights to the US from Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh, electronic devices larger than phones aren’t allowed in the cabin, and need to be checked in the cargo hold.

While I think we were all hoping that this measure would be temporary, every day it looks more and more like that won’t be the case. In early April, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a Senate committee that the current electronics ban may be extended to more airports and countries, as it’s based on a “real” threat.

We haven’t heard much more on this front in the past few weeks, though today the International Business Times is reporting that an extension of the electronics ban is apparently being considered for flights from the UK to the US. Per the story:

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Did Sprint Just Surpass T-Mobile When It Comes To International Data?

68410-2017 - Sprint Global Roaming Enhancements Chart

Staying connected while abroad without getting a separate SIM card keeps getting easier thanks to the number of great plans available through cell phone providers. For frequent international travelers, there seem to be two options that are most popular:

— T-Mobile is known for their Simple Choice Plan, which offers unlimited data at 2G speeds, plus calls at 20 cents per minute, in 145 countries
— Google Project Fi lets you buy data that can be used globally, though it’s way over my head, so see Tiffany’s post for more on that

I love T-Mobile, and am so happy I made the switch from AT&T last year. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it has been life changing, given that I can tether off my phone and also have data when traveling internationally. Of the bigger carriers I think T-Mobile has been doing the most innovating, though it also needs to be pointed out that other cell phone providers are narrowing the gap.

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Here’s Why Uber Could Soon Be Required To Allow In-App Tipping

Uber-Logo

They say that you should keep your opinions on religion, politics, and sports to yourself. Based on the vitriol generated by the topic on the internet, I feel like “your stance on tipping Uber drivers” should be added to that same list. Peoples’ perspective on tipping Uber drivers seems polarizing, and you’ll rarely find anyone who is indifferent about it.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, Uber has softened their stance on tipping in a subtle way. In the past Uber’s website said the following about tipping:

Do I need to tip my driver?

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Why I Don’t Bother With Airline Customer Service Via Twitter Anymore

United-A320

On an almost daily basis someone tags me in a conversation about an abysmal experience they’re having with airline customer service on Twitter. Heck, during the United leggings “scandal” a couple of weeks ago, it’s actually United’s Twitter customer service that got them in so much trouble.

When United was asked about their dress code on Twitter, they made it sound as if they had a dress code preventing revenue passengers from wearing leggings. Arguably that’s what made this situation spiral out of control.

I used to use airline customer service on Twitter all the time. Several years back I loved American’s Twitter customer service. They were always on top of things and incredibly competent. If I wanted something resolved, they could do it more quickly than over the phone, not to mention they actually seemed to staff their most competent people from major departments there (customer service, reservations, etc.).

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Uh Oh: The Electronics Ban May Soon Be Expanded To More Airports

Inflight-wifi

Well this is just dandy. It sure seems like electronic devices may soon be going the way of liquids on a much larger scale for travel on commercial flights.

For flights since March 25, 2017, the US has issued a ban on electronics for nonstop flights from select countries to the US. For nonstop flights to the US from Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh, electronic devices larger than phones aren’t allowed in the cabin, and need to be checked in the cargo hold.

I think just about everyone has been hoping that this would be a temporary ban, and that it would be lifted within weeks.

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Wow: Qatar Airways Will Offer Loaner Laptops & Free Wifi On US-Bound Flights

Qatar-Airways-Laptop-Loaner

The US electronics ban has been in place for several days now, and we’ve started to see how airlines are dealing with the ban. Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish have all shared what they’re doing to try and minimize the impact this ban has on passengers.

On Tuesday we learned that Etihad will be offering complimentary wifi and loaner iPads for business class passengers on US-bound flights, as a way of trying to minimize the disruption they face. Well, Qatar Airways is now taking that to the next level.

Qatar Airways will offer business class passengers loaner laptops on US-bound flights. This new feature will be available starting next week, and the laptops can be collected from the gate just before boarding. Customers can download their work onto a USB before boarding.

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IATA Calls Out The Electronics Ban, Demands It Be Reconsidered

Inflight-wifi

For just under a week now, an electronics ban has been in place for select flights to the US and the UK. The ban seems a bit ridiculous to me, not because I want safety to be compromised, but rather because of how inconsistent and poorly thought out the policy seems to be.

A lot of people have called into question the logic of the ban (especially as it pertains to the US restricting flights from the UAE and Qatar, while the UK doesn’t, even though they’re presumably going off the same intelligence).

Well, now the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling out the electronics ban and demanding a change. For those of you not familiar with IATA, it’s an airline trade organization representing 265 airlines and roughly 83% of total air traffic. In other words, they’re the voice of airlines. Here’s what they’re saying about the electronics ban:

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Etihad Adds Free Wifi & Loaner iPads For Premium Passengers On US-Bound Flights

Etihad-Arrivals-Lounge-Abu-Dhabi - 1

The US electronics ban has been in place for several days now, and we’ve started to see how airlines are dealing with the ban. Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish have all shared what they’re doing to try and minimize the impact this ban has on passengers.

After all, I don’t think anyone is a fan of this (well, perhaps other than the manufacturers of the boxes that airlines are using to gate check electronics).

While I’m avoiding Gulf carriers at the moment because of the inconvenience of being separated from my electronics, I actually feel pretty comfortable with the approach they’re taking, at least in terms of the risk of my electronics being lost, stolen, or damaged.

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ExpertFlyer Adds Flight Schedule Alerts

ExpertFlyer-Flight-Schedule-Alert

ExpertFlyer is a subscription based service that I find valuable. A subscription costs $99 per year, and there is quite a bit of value you can get out of it:

— You can see fare class inventory and fare rules for a vast majority of airlines
— You can search award availability on select airlines
— You can look at seatmaps for specific flights on many airlines
— Most useful of all is that you can set alerts, so that you’ll be emailed when a specific seat opens up, specific fare class opens up, award seat opens up, etc. (though for award seats it only works on select airlines)

If you’re a frequent flyer, I think having an ExpertFlyer subscription is well worth it.

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Here’s How Airlines Handled The Electronics Ban On Day One

Emirates-A380-First-Class-01

The electronics ban for US-bound flights officially went into effect for many airlines yesterday, March 25, 2017. Over the past several days we’ve learned how airlines will be dealing with the ban, including Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish.

Based on their policies, Emirates and Turkish seem to be doing the best job, as they’re allowing passengers to check their electronics at the gate for their US-bound flights, in order to minimize the disruption. This way people don’t have to check their electronics at their point of origin, and can also use electronics at the airport before boarding starts.

So while the policies of Emirates and Turkish sound good in theory (well, at least as good as something like this is going to get), how did it work in practice at the airport?

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Etihad’s Puzzling Approach To The Electronics Ban

Etihad-Arrivals-Lounge-Abu-Dhabi - 1

With the US electronics ban about to be implemented, airlines are outlining their policies for how they’re going to deal with this. Both Emirates and Turkish have announced that they’ll let passengers take their electronics all the way to the gate, and will then allow passengers to check them there. They’ll be securely packaged, and upon arrival in the US they’ll separately be brought out to passengers.

I appreciate the effort they’re putting into the system. While it doesn’t totally solve the problems the electronics ban causes, at least I feel they’re doing what they can to minimize the risk of electronics being stolen or damaged, and are also minimizing how long passengers will be separated from them.

Well, now Etihad has announced their electronics ban policy, and it’s… confusing.

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Emirates Is Introducing A Laptop And Tablet Handling Service For US Flights

Emirates-777

With the US having implemented an electronics ban for passengers traveling nonstop to the US from Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh, it’ll be interesting to see the ways in which airlines adapt to the situation. This potentially has a huge impact on the demand for travel on these airlines, as checking electronics is not only a huge waste of time (in terms of lost productivity, waiting at baggage claim, etc.), but comes with the risk of electronics being damaged or stolen.

With that in mind, Emirates is the first airline to announce a somewhat creative solution to this situation. Emirates is introducing a service that enables passengers to use their laptops and tablets until just before they board their US-bound flight. At the gate there will be security staff who will carefully package your electronics in boxes before boarding, and then you can collect them on arrival.

What I’m not sure about is:

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What Insurance Covers Checked Electronics?

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Yesterday we learned about a new electronics ban for certain flights to the United States. Later in the day the United Kingdom announced a similar (yet very different) policy for flights to the UK.

While I’m not going to get into all the ramifications here, the gist of it is that travelers are going to have to choose between connecting elsewhere or risking damage and theft of their personal electronics.

Reader Mike summed it up nicely:

“My bet is there will be lots of $2,000 insurance claims for Apple laptops forced to endure the cargo experience. Whoever Chase, et al, use for travel insurance is going to get very busy.”

That’s a great point, but it’s much more complicated than that. Not all policies necessarily cover checked electronics, and many have strict dollar limits. So I figured it would help to go through the various options for insuring your gadgets when traveling.

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WHOA: UK To Implement A DIFFERENT Electronics Ban

British-Airways-A380-Business-Class - 81

A few hours ago it was rumored that the UK was also considering an in-flight electronics ban.

As we’ve written about extensively, the U.S. has announced a ban on electronics for flights originating in the Middle East and Africa. The ban applies for flights originating in Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh. Passengers on nonstop flights originating from those cities to the U.S. need to check all electronics into the cargo hold, with the exception of cell phones and medical devices.

SkyNews is reporting that the UK government is indeed implementing new restrictions, though the details (and countries included) are rather different from the US directive.

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