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Middle East

Arab airlines beat Trump’s electronics ban with sarcasm and jokes

© Yasser Al-Zayyat, AFP | Kuwaiti social media activist Thamer al-Dakheel Bourashed at Kuwait International Airport before boarding a flight to the US on March 23, 2017

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by Katherine THOMPSON , Ingrid COBBEN

Latest update : 2017-03-25

US President Donald Trump's controversial ban on electronic devices on flights from Muslim-majority countries began Saturday. But instead of condemning the move, Arab carriers took advantage of it as a fun PR boost and to promote their products…

The US announced, to much fanfare on March 21, a ban on electronic devices for passengers on nine Arab airlines to place personal electronic devices, such as tablets, e-readers, laptops and cameras, in their checked baggage, with mobile phones still allowed.

The decision has caused indignation across the Middle East and North Africa where many argue that the US is once again targeting Muslim-majority countries, just after the recent chaotic attempt at a visa ban.

The US restrictions apply to flights from eight countries popular with tourists, archeologists and businesses: Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The UK also caused outrage by implementing a similar ban on the same day, impacting Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia (but interestingly not UAE or Qatar...).

The motive behind the bans has sparked furious debate, with the US and UK claiming solid intelligence.

PR spin

Many of the affected airlines decided to put a sharp spin on the brutal policy with fun marketing messages, jokes and sarcastic pokes at the Trump administration.

Royal Jordanian Airlines sent out several hilarious tweets, starting with a rhyme denouncing the ban, to which they added: 'Stay tuned for more fun… we have just begun #electronicban'.

It also published a list of 12 things to do on a 12-hour flight with no laptop or tablet, including: 'Engage in primitive dialogue from the pre-internet era'

The Jordanian airline also sent out a bold message on the previous immigration ban and is generating a lot of response on social media for its visible stance.

Stay tuned for more fun…..we have just begun #electronicban

Une publication partagée par Royal Jordanian (@royaljordanianairlines) le

And Royal Maroc reached out to its passengers with a parody on the iconic British World War II poster 'Keep calm and carry on' saying instead: 'Keep calm and play sudoku.'

Dubai-based carrier Emirates released a video saying: 'Who needs tablets and laptops anyway?'

Saudi Airlines produced a similar video in Arabic in which they tweeted, 'No laptop, no problem', as well as an English Facebook post promoting their in-flight 'plug-and-play' service.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airlines also produced a video, with the title clearly mocking Trump's infamous election campaign message, 'Make flying great again' to promote its high-end cabins with wifi-service for smartphone users.


Date created : 2017-03-25

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