Airlines Tackle Looming Electronics Ban With Humor

Royal Jordanian's pro-tip for enduring a long flight without a tablet: "Analyze the meaning of life"

The ticketing and check-in counter for Emirates airlines on Tuesday — AFP/Getty Images
Mar 24, 2017 at 4:30 PM ET

The electronics ban imposed by the Department of Homeland Security goes into effect on Saturday and Middle Eastern airlines are tackling the inconvenience with some humorous marketing. The ban — announced by the U.S. government on Tuesday — will prevent passengers on 10 Middle Eastern airlines from carrying electronics larger than an iPhone on U.S.-bound flights. The U.K. government followed by announcing similar restrictions.

In response, Royal Jordanian Airlines published a series of ads in reaction to the ban, offering their customers “12 things to do on a 12-hour flight” with no electronics, such as, “engage in primitive dialogue from the pre-internet era,” and “pretend tray table is a keyboard.”

Another one of their ads simply said, “Do what we Jordanians do best… Stare at each other!”

Etihad Airways, a United Arab Emirates-based airline, promised to “make flying great again,” in an ad released on Friday. “Travelling with children?” it said, addressing a common concern among parents worried about keeping their children occupied on long flights. “Our flying nanny is an extra pair of hands. Ready with games and activities to keep the little ones entertained.”

Emirates Airline, another airline from the UAE, known for featuring celebrities in their ads, had Jennifer Aniston touting the airline’s entertainment options. “This thing has so many games and so many movies, it’s crazy,” Aniston tells two children on the flight, in an intonation that could be interpreted as an imitation of President Donald Trump.

Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, and Saudi Arabian Airlines all tried to appeal to passengers embarking on half-day long flights by reminding them how extensive their entertainment services are. “The only entertainment you’ll need on board,” Qatar Airways wrote in a Tweet on Wednesday. Turkish Airlines launched a video with all of their services on Tuesday, which said they have, among other things, 33 million headsets, “twice the population of Istanbul.”

Saudi Arabian Airlines offered another solution: “bring your USB and watch own entertainment, simply Plug and Play [sic]”

The airlines’ Twitter accounts were flooded with comments of approval, and people commended them for their creative marketing and making the best of a negative situation.

Others did not find the ads funny and took a more critical stance on the companies’ PR campaigns and how they were handling this situation.