Etihad offers first, business class passengers free wifi, iPads on US flights

The move comes following a ban on large electronic devices in airplane cabins of direct US flights



Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has announced that it will offer first and business class passengers free wi-fi and iPads on all its US bound flights.

The move comes following a ban by the US on passengers carrying electronic devices larger than a mobile phone on airplane cabins from 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, including Abu Dhabi.

The security measure took effect on March 25.

In a statement, Etihad said premium class passengers flying to the US will receive wifi vouchers from the cabin crew with the onboard welcome drink. The vouchers will provide free wifi for the duration of the flight.

The airline will also have iPads available on all US-bound flights for first and business class passengers. Power and USB sockets at every seat will keep devices charged throughout the journey, the statement added.

All Etihad passengers travelling from the Abu Dhabi International airport complete their US Immigration and Customs at the US Preclearance facility in Terminal 3. When passengers land in the US, they arrive as domestic passengers.

Last week, Etihad confirmed that due to the additional security measures, it would deploy additional staff at the US Preclearance facility to provide assistance.

The airline also urged passengers to pack the prohibited electronic devices in their checked baggage prior to reaching the facility.

Gulf airlines, which operate several flights to the US, are seeking ways to mitigate the impact of the ban.

Dubai’s Emirates is mulling the possibility of ‘loaning’ laptops to passengers, president Tim Clark told Bloomberg this week.

He said the airline may seek out “creative” ways to work around the ban, including providing government-approved laptops that “can be used in-flight to help people do what they need to do in the absence of devices that are in the hold.”

Read more: Dubai’s Emirates might offer laptops on ‘loan’ to passengers amid US ban