Emirates airline has come up with a way to circumnavigate the US laptop and tablet ban enforced on some of its flights from the Middle East. It is handing passengers Microsoft Surface tablets to use in-flight.
At present, this only applies to flights from Dubai to the States, and passengers must hand the tablets back to staff waiting at the other end, but it at least gives travellers an option otherwise unavailable to them.
The US ban restricts the use of any device larger than a smartphone, which certainly prevents business types from working on their laptops. However, passengers are allowed to take their own USB stick on the flight with them and load documents and files onto the Surface to edit while travelling.
Both the UK and US have banned larger devices on flights from the Middle East, citing terrorist threat intelligence as a reason. But while some airlines are affected by both countries' bans, Emirates is only on the US prohibited list.
It will be interesting to see if other air companies follow suit, with British Airways one of the largest on the UK list.
Virgin Atlantic hasn't been affected but does have history on giving passengers tablets on flights before. We were on a Christmas flight to Boston a couple of years ago where everyone on board received a Windows 10 device. They got to keep them too.