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Emirates loans tablets to customers on flights to the US

The airline is helping its first and business class customers cope with US restrictions that bar laptops and tablets on some flights.

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STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Passengers on Emirates won't have to go into gadget withdrawal on the long flight from Dubai to the US.

The company said Wednesday it will be handing out Microsoft Surface tablets to passengers during flights in which they can't use their own personal devices.

This comes after officials in the US and the UK banned the use of electronics larger than a phone from being used inside the cabin on flights to the US and the UK from airports in several Middle Eastern and North African countries. The ban, instituted in March, was the result of intelligence that terrorists had plotted to bring explosives on a flight through a device that looked like an Apple iPad.

While the ban was meant to thwart terrorists, it's also had an effect on business travelers who are expecting to work on their laptops and tablets during a long flight. To help ease the inconvenience, Emirates started a device check-in program, which allows customers to use their own laptops and tablets on the first part of their trip. On legs of the trip destined for the US, they hand over their devices to security which packs them and stows them in the cargo hold of the plane. More than 8,000 passengers have used the device check-in program, Emirates said in a press release.

Now, the airline will also hand over a Microsoft Surface tablet equipped with Office 2016 to its first and business class customers on parts of their journey when their devices are stowed. The service is offered at no additional charge.

"Customers can download their work on to a USB which can be brought on board and plugged into the devices to continue working seamlessly," the company said.