On March 21, the US issued a ban of all electronic devices bigger than a mobile phone to be brough on as carry-on luggage on long-haul flights from some Middle Eastern and North African countries. A few days later, the UK also issued a similar ban for a separate list of countries. The electronics ban was implemented on March 26. While many travelers are disgruntled by the ban, some airlines are not only scrambling to think of ways to appease their laptop and tab-toting flyers, but to make light of the laptop ban on social media as well.
Royal Jordanian Air tweeted an image of 12 suggestions they have for passengers to pass time on 12-hour flights to the US instead of being on their laptop. Among the suggestions are meditating, talking to fellow passengers, or even pretending the tray table is an imaginary keyboard.
— Royal Jordanian (@RoyalJordanian) March 23, 2017
Emirates was quick to respond to the electronics ban with a video starring Jeniffer Aniston explaining the many other entertainment amenities offered by the UAE carrier such as 2,500 channels of movies and televisions shows on their in-flight entertainment system.
Other carriers, like Turkish airlines, have announced that in light of the electronics ban, they are speeding up the upgrading of their infrastructure to allow passengers to access 3G on their mobile phones while in flight and provide free wi-fi across all cabins as early as next month.
“We’ve sped up infrastructure work after the latest developments… If the work is complete, we’re planning on switching to free Wi-Fi services in our Boeing 777 and Airbus 330 aircraft in April,” an official for Turking Airlines told reporters.
According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, many airlines are also making plans to introduce a laptop and tablet handling service to allow passengers to use their devices until just before boarding. The electronics will be wrapped in boxes and returned to the passengers once they reach their destination in the US or UK.
However way you decide to pass your time on a flight from the Middle East or North Africa to the US or UK, if you plan to practice your meditation, here are some helpful tips on being a mindful traveller. Or if you do some yoga, please be mindful of other passengers and airline safety regulations and keep your asanas limited seated postures. Whatever you do, don’t be a victim of yoga air rage even if the electronics ban has you in a huff.