Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In-flight restrictions: Connecting flights to US via Gulf not a great idea

New Delhi: Indian passengers headed to the US will be inconvenienced by the new Trump administration order regarding carriage of certain electronic devices on US-bound flights from West Asian (Middle East) and North African countries even though India does not feature on the restriction list.

Travellers headed to the US from eight Muslim-majority countries in West Asia and North Africa, including from major global hubs like Dubai, have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cell phone, like cameras and laptops, as cabin baggage under a new flight restriction enacted on Tuesday by the Trump administration.

Since, under the new order, all US-bound passengers originating or transiting through airports like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Doha will have to carry any electronic devices larger than a smartphone in checked luggage only, this could mean that any Indian passengers, who have historically travelled to the US via these hubs, would have to look for direct flights.
While this might prove beneficial for certain airlines, like Air India which operates direct flights to the US and expects more passenger traffic to come its way as a result of the restrictions, it will mean that Indian passengers will have fewer options in terms of the airline they can take and ticket pricing.
The number of Indians who travel to the US via the Gulf is not small either. According to a Centre for Aviation report of 2015, passengers from India account for a third of all passengers on Gulf airlines' US routes. Further, of the two top carriers on the India-US routes, Air India and Emirates, the latter will be hit by the restrictions.
22/03/17 Business Today

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