US laptop ban lifted for Etihad Airways

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If you’re travelling to the United States from Abu Dhabi, there’s no reason to worry about the laptop ban anymore.

It was announced today that the ban has been lifted for Etihad Airways, the UAE’s flag carrier airline. This means that any passenger flying into America from Abu Dhabi with Etihad can now bring their laptop, e-reading device or tablet onto the flight as hand luggage

Etihad said in a media statement, “Effective immediately, the removal of the restrictions allows passengers flying to the US to call all laptops, tablets and other electronic devices onto the aircraft, subject to enhanced security measures.”

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In an attempt to have the ban lifted, the Abu Dhabi-based airline has increased its screening measures and received approval from the US Department of Homeland Security.

When travelling with Etihad you will have to clear US Immigration and Customs at the US pre-clearance facility in Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi International Airport – the only kind available in the Middle East.

The upside is that, once you land in the United States, you will be classed as a domestic passenger and there will be no need to queue for immigration and customs again.

Back in March, the US Department of Homeland Security announced a ban on all carry-on devices larger than a smartphone on direct flights from several Middle East countries to the US. It affected carriers flying from 10 Middle Eastern airports including Abu Dhabi International and Dubai International.

However, if you’re flying out to the US with Emirates, you’re still expected to comply with the electronics ban. So if you’re flying from Dubai, make sure that you pack your devices in your suitcase before check-in. Emirates is, however, working to end the laptop ban for the airline (and hopefully soon).

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The laptop ban caused several complaints from passengers explaining it caused unnecessary hassle – especially businessmen. In April, Emirates cut flights on five US routes because of reduced demand following the laptop ban.

The US Transport Security Administration (TSA) announced it was demanding extra screening requirements for electronics as a security measure at 280 airports around the world. The TSA said this was to ensure the electronics ban was not expanded to further countries. Abu Dhabi’s is the first airport to meet this approval.

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