Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ban on laptops, tabs on flights set to hurt techies

Bengaluru: Directi CEO Bhavin Turakhia travels to Dubai, San Francisco and Los Angeles on work regularly. Emirates and Etihad are his preferred airlines. He says the US and UK ban on passengers carrying electronic devices -anything bigger than a cellphone -in their cabin baggage on flights originating in the Middle East will inconvenience him enormously and he may be forced to look at other airline options.
"It's a 14-hour flight to San Francisco or Los Angeles and I spend most of that time working on my laptop," said Turakhia, who travels first class. He, along with his brother Divyank, has business interests spanning the US, Dubai and India.
Last year, he sold one of their companies -to a Chinese consortium for $900 million. Turakhia said he may now look at British Airways, Lufthansa or Singapore Airlines "though none of them is as good as Etihad or Emirates."
The new US rule applies to ten airports in eight co untries in the Middle East, including the Dubai International Airport that has emerged as a major transit hub for Indians travelling to the US, including for many IT professionals from cities like Bengaluru. Hours after the Trump administration's an nouncement, the United Kingdom, too, made a similar decision. Passengers flying directly to Britain from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey will be banned from taking laptops and tablet computers into the plane cabin, the UK government announced.
While some IT professionals said they would be inconvenienced without a laptop or iPad, some said "work" was not their major concern. "We can at best respond to some pending emails, but we can't code midair. Any technical work requires us to collaborate with the teams on ground, hence it's not very productive working onboard," said an IT professional working with an Indian IT firm.
The bigger concern for many is about the possible theft and damage to their gadgets if those go into checkedin baggage.
22/03/17 Avik Das & Anand J/Times of India