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A British Airways Boeing 787-800

Passengers flying from several cities in the Middle East to the UK have also been prohibited from carrying most electronic devices onboard, officials have announced.

The move follows in the footsteps of a new rule issued by the US today that requires passengers coming from eight countries (including Qatar) to pack any device larger than a cell phone into their checked luggage.

However, the UK ban affects fewer nations.

Mobile Internet Device


Photo for illustrative purposes only

In a statement, the Department of Transport said “Phones, laptops and tablets larger than 16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm not allowed in the cabin on flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia.”

This means passengers flying through Qatar and the UAE have escaped the new requirements if they’re heading to London or other UK cities.

According to Sky News, some UK airlines will also be affected by the ban:

Safety concerns

US officials cited the possibility of a terrorist attack as a reason for instituting its indefinite electronics ban.

The UK transport department said that it understood the new measures would cause “frustration,” but it was also concerned about safety.

“The House will recognize that we face a constantly evolving threat from terrorism and must respond accordingly to ensure the protection of the public against those who would do us harm,” it said.

However, officials added, “we remain open for business. People should continue to fly and comply with security procedures.”


British Embassy in the UAE

Passport advice

In an effort to cut down on the number of emergency travel documents it issues each year, the British Embassy in the UAE has come up with a series of comic strips to remind residents to safeguard their passports.

The comics illustrate various ways one can ruin or lose their passport, and are likely to be helpful to Qatar residents, too.

“You wouldn’t believe the stories we hear about lost and damaged passports,” the embassy said in a statement.

British Embassy in the UAE

Passport advice

“Our embassies in the Gulf issued over 230 Emergency Travel Documents in 2016. These are not cheap and they can cause a number of issues for the person needing them.”

According to the UK Foreign Office’s website, it can cost up to £100 to replace a lost/stolen passport, and take up to six weeks to process.

Passport fails

Some of the most common passport stories include people accidentally washing them with clothes, losing track of them while on vacation or keeping the documents in reach of a dog or baby.

Cognizant of the long processing times, the comics also remind residents to plan ahead.

British Embassy in the UAE

Passport advice

For example, children’s passports are only good for five years, so if families don’t want to miss their vacations, they should make sure to renew these documents first.

And some countries don’t allow in visitors whose passports are due to expire soon.

Finally, the embassy points out that police reports must be filed before a request for emergency travel documents (ETDs) can be made.

And if you lost your passport while out of the Gulf, you may not be allowed into GCC countries with just your ETDs.

Have you ever experienced a passport fail? Thoughts?

Qatar Airways

The new “QSuite” in Business Class

Qatar Airways has announced a major revamp of its Business Class, with the launch of what it’s calling the “QSuite.”

The seats won’t be available to passengers until this summer.

But the airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker introduced the “revolutionary” change at the ITB tourism conference in Berlin yesterday.

Qatar Airways

The new “QSuite” in Business Class

The QSuites, which will be fitted both forward-facing and rear-facing, come equipped with doors to offer greater privacy.

Some of the seats in the middle sections will also have the capability to convert into a double bed.

Additionally, the middle seats have a screen that can open up to allow four passengers to eat together or chat.

The airline has created a special hashtag for the launch called #FirstInBusiness, to assert that it offers a First Class service experience in its Business Class cabins.

Summer launch

According to Al Baker, all of the airline’s existing aircraft will be retrofitted with the new seats by the summer of 2018.

But by this June, the first aircraft to be fitted with the new seats will the Boeing 777s that fly to London Heathrow, he told journalists.

Qatar Airways

The new “QSuite” in Business Class

Aircraft flying to Paris and New York’s JFK airport will follow shortly, he said.

Al Baker added that the airline’s Boeing 787s and Airbus A380s will have different QSuites due to their dimensions.

Qatar Airways

The new “QSuite” in Business Class

All of the airline’s new Boeing 777 and Airbus A350-1000s will be delivered with QSuites, he added.

No premium economy

Addressing other queries from the press, Al Baker reiterated his statement that the airline has no plans to introduce a Premium Economy class.

He did however add that Qatar Airways will bring in new economy seats “down the line.”

Richard Lee/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The airline has made changes to the interior of its Boeing 777 fleet over the past two years, fitting 10 seats per row in the economy cabin, instead of nine.

The move reduced the width of each seat by almost two inches, to 17 inches across.

Al Baker also stated his intention to start up a Qatari-owned domestic airline in India “soon,” the Times of India reported.

And when asked his opinion on the ongoing spat between American and Middle Eastern carriers, he replied:

“Donald Trump is a business man and will do what’s in the best interest of the American people.”