Qatar Airways started loaning laptops to passengers flying to the United States at no additional charge in response to a controversial consumer electronics flight ban announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier this month. All Business Class passengers are eligible to take advantage of the new promotion that allows them to use an unspecified model of a laptop for the entire duration of their flight to the U.S., Qatar Airways said, noting that passengers are able to bring all of the data they require during their flight via a USB stick and then transfer it to the complimentary laptop that can be acquired immediately after boarding. All of the standard limitations to using consumer electronics on Qatar Airways flights still apply, meaning passengers will have access to one hour of free Wi-Fi and will be able to purchase a $5 Wi-Fi package that will provide them with an Internet connection for the entire duration of their flight.
The wording of the company's announcement suggests the new offer isn't meant to be taken as a direct criticism of the controversial ban that prevents passengers from certain Middle Eastern airlines to bring any consumer electronics larger than a smartphone onboard inbound U.S. flights. Instead, it seems that Qatar Airways thought the polarizing security measure issued by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a good opportunity for some positive publicity. The airline's announcement contains a statement from its Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker who said complimentary laptops are just the company's way of showing it cares about the maximum comfort of its Business Class passengers who have the expectation of being able to work during flights.
In addition to loaning laptops free of charge, the airline is also offering to securely package all consumer electronics that are currently prohibited on inbound U.S. flights and can only fly as checked baggage. The offer is only valid for passengers flying to the U.S. as the recently imposed UK ban doesn't affect Qatar Airways despite likely being connected to the original TSA-issued limitation. Complimentary laptops offered by the airline might be 2015 15-inch MacBook Pros if their promotional materials are any indication, though the company might end up loaning another model or a wider variety of different devices. The "Laptop Loan" service of Qatar Airways will officially launch on Monday, April 3.