The Laptop Ban is OVER for Etihad Flights to the U.S.

The ban on inflight electronics for flights from certain airports to the U.S. was a stupid policy even if the underlying concern was valid. It made planes less safe (due to the risk of lithium ion batteries in the cargo hold catching fire) without keeping electronics out of the hands of dangerous people heading to the U.S. who could fly Emirates via Milan or Athens or Azerbaijan Airlines from Dubai to Baku to New York JFK.

Including Abu Dhabi on the list of airports whose U.S. flights could not have electronics larger than a standard cell phone onboard was especially silly because Abu Dhabi has a U.S. preclearance facility. It has arguably the strongest security for any flights bound for the U.S. in the world. You go through a second security screening as well as immigration and customs before boarding your flight. Security is set to U.S. specifications and overseen by U.S. personnel. The U.S. even has eyes and ears inside the preclearance departure lounge.

So now that the U.S. was forced to back down on expanding the ban worldwide by European security officials, they’ve offered a path for airports to avoid the ban. They have to follow U.S. security preferences. Which of course Abu Dhabi already does.

So Abu Dhabi is off the list, and Etihad emailed customers to let them know they’ll be allowed to bring electronics onboard.

Dear Gary,

If you are planning to travel to the US in the near future, we wanted to let you know that you can now take all your electronic devices on board our US flights from Abu Dhabi.

The US Immigration facility at Abu Dhabi Airport not only enables you to clear US immigration before you fly to the US, but with the additional security checks in place, you can now take all your electronic devices safely on board with you.

Book now and fly to over 100 destinations across the US, stress-free.

I’m personally thrilled as I have three upcoming AAdvantage roundtrip redemptions in Etihad’s Airbus A380 Apartments and I was genuinely wondering whether I’d take the trip. It’s nice to know that I can without worrying about my laptop being stolen, damaged, or compromised and while continuing to have productive use of it inflight.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thanks Gary… I have an upcoming trip from India to SFO… was concerned about work laptop checkin..

  2. Hi Gary, Yesterday I flew Turkish Air from Tbilisi to Istanbul to JFK. During online check in, there was a warning that electronics would not be allowed in the cabin. After reviewing the news reports, I thought however, it was likely my electronics would not be confiscated. Luckily, I was planning to sleep and not work as my laptop, iPad mini & toothbrush were confiscated at the gate. The process was organized but time consuming. It was only on arrival that any consideration was given to class of service and I avoided the really, really long line as there was a biz class que. A bit of a pain in the *** which I would’t mind if I thought it was a part of a systematic, intelligent security process.

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