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Etihad Responds to Electronics Ban by Lending iPads

Flyers in premium cabins can receive borrowed tablets when flying to the United States.

Despite the electronics ban on flights departing several Middle Eastern and African airports direct to the United States, Etihad Airways has created a personal entertainment solution. ABC News reports that the carrier will soon begin offering iPads to passengers in premium cabins for the duration of their flight.

Under the new program, those flying in the front of the cabin will be offered an iPad to use for the duration of their flight. In addition, the tablet computers will come with free wi-fi access vouchers while flying. The iPads will only be available to first and business class passengers.

The move is a direct response to the electronics ban announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security earlier in March, which barred large personal electronics (including tablets) from the cabins of flights inbound from ten Middle Eastern and African airports. Etihad’s primary hub of Abu Dhabi was one of the airports affected under the ban.

Shortly after the announced sanctions, Etihad reminded passengers that many amenities would remain aboard the carrier’s flights headed towards American airports. These include wi-fi access, USB power outlets, live television and in-flight entertainment systems at each seat.

“We remain committed to ensuring we provide guests the highest levels of service and quality experience that we are renowned for,” Etihad chief executive Peter Baumgartner said in a press release shortly after the electronics ban was announced. “Etihad Airways offers excellent facilities on the ground at Abu Dhabi International Airport and inflight to keep guests entertained during their journey.”

The program is the first electronics lending program among the Middle East’s “big three” carriers. Etihad did not announce if the program would also extend to those flying to the United Kingdom, where a similar ban is currently in place.

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