Aviation Electronics ban adds frustration to flying By Johanna Jainchill / May 15, 2017 Share 1 Boxes of electronics, mostly laptops, being lined up for retrieval at New York JFK Airport from an Emirates flight originating in Dubai. Photo Credit: TW photo by Johanna Jainchill -- Emirates' recent decision to reduce service to the U.S., in part due to the impact of the ban on laptops and other electronics in carry-on luggage from Dubai, might indicate the kinds of challenges other airlines will face if the ban is extended to flights from Europe. On a recent flight from Dubai to New York JFK, I experienced firsthand the inconvenience the ban puts on both flyers and airlines. For the many business and otherwise frequent travelers like myself who purposefully pack light so as to not have to check anything -- and also go through the application process and pay fees to be part of trusted traveler programs -- the lack of a stated rationale for the ban proved frustrating. An extra line at check-in for anyone checking electronics required that an extra four Emirates employees be on duty to pack dozens of laptops in cardboard boxes, a process that added to the boarding time. A frequent Emirates traveler from the U.K. told me it never used to take so long to board, and an Emirates gate agent said that every flight to the U.S. was leaving between five and 10 minutes late because of the ban. My flight left Dubai 30 minutes late. Onboard, a flight attendant told me that the cabin crew felt less safe having laptops in the cargo hold due to the risk of fire from their lithium-ion batteries. They are all trained to put out fires in the cabin, but for a fire in the cargo hold they depend on the sprinkler system to do the job. Lithium-ion battery fires, however, are hard to put out with water and, once doused, sometimes smolder and burst into flames again. To date, at least two cargo planes have crashed due to lithium-ion battery fires in their holds. As a business flyer, it was frustrating that I could not do work for the entirety of a 12-hour flight. I was grateful that even in economy, where I was sitting, Emirates has some of the best entertainment options in the sky including quite a few of the most recent Oscar-nominated films among its thousands of choices, but it was small compensation for not being able to work. Once at Kennedy, because I have Global Entry and was among the first passengers to get through customs, I was lucky to be the second person on line waiting for the laptop boxes, which were being delivered in a special luggage handling area, not on the main baggage carousel. With more than 100 boxes to distribute -- all of which bore the same red hand-writing -- several airport and Emirates employees were scrambling to find peoples' names. I spotted my box on my own, feeling fortunate that it was in the front row, but I could see that it was going to take quite a long time for others to wait for and locate theirs.