JEDDAH: Whining is not an option for Arab travelers.
The recent ban on electronic devices on nonstop US-bound flights from a handful of Middle Eastern and North African countries has prompted sarcastic reactions from Arabs in the region.
People in the MENA region are mocking the US step on different social media platforms, using the trending hashtags #LaptopBan #ElectronicsBan and mentioning the 45th president of the United States in the process.
Hashim Haidar tweeted a picture of two gentlemen onboard, one of them using a typewriter with a caption reads: “The future of air travel to the UK/US.”
— Haisam Haidar (@HaisamHaidar) March 21, 2017
Another Twitter user from Qatar wondered about the chances of taking his Etch A Sketch (mechanical drawing toy) onboard without being confiscated.
Nadine Mazlous also shared a series of tweets mocking the ban. “I honestly don’t care about the US/UK electronics ban. Who needs a ‘digital weapon’ when a shahhata (shoe in Arabic) works just as well, minus the batteries?”
I honestly don't care about the US/UK electronics ban. Who needs a "digital weapon" when a shahhata works just as well, minus the batteries?
— Nadine Mazloum (@MazloumNadine) March 22, 2017
Meanwhile, some Arab social media users pointed out the US’ hypocrisy in barring electronic devices from MENA countries while US drones are firing missiles on the region’s countries.
“We are happy to stop bringing laptops on planes to your countries once you stop bringing Hellfire missiles on planes to our countries,” Kareem Shaheen tweeted.
We are happy to stop bringing laptops on planes to your countries once you stop bringing Hellfire missiles on planes to our countries.
— Kareem Shaheen (@kshaheen) March 21, 2017
Mohamed El-Dahshan’s tweet pointed out the absurdity in banning electronic devices and the impact it will have on terrorists.
Every criminal in the Middle East:
"Oh no! We can't take the direct flight to the US! I hate connecting flights!"
*Cancels criminal plans*
— Mohamed El Dahshan (@eldahshan) March 21, 2017
Arab airlines also chimed in and launched playful advertisements in response to the US government’s ban on laptops and other large electronic items.
The Etihad Airways released a new commercial titled “Make Flying Great Again” on social media reassuring customers that the in-flight entertainment will remain.
“Enjoy endless entertainment on demand ... including the latest movies, TV box sets, live news and sports,” the ad says.
The Emirates on Tuesday released a similar ad featuring American actor Jennifer Aniston in the economy cabin of an Emirate Airbus A380 titled “Let Us Entertain You.”
Meanwhile, Royal Jordanian launched several marketing campaigns starting in 2016 during the US election; specifically after Trump’s Muslim ban remarks. “Just in case he wins… Travel to the US while you’re allowed to!” the Royal Jordanian tweeted.
Right Trump’s Muslim ban from seven Muslim-majority countries was suspended, the Royal Jordanian responded with yet another ad featuring lower prices with a line reads: “Fly to the US with RJ now that you’re allowed to.” The ad replaced the letter ‘a’ in ‘ban’ with ‘o’ making the phrase ‘Bon Voyage” wishing a pleasant journey to its passengers.
The airline has also posted a small poem titled “Every week a new ban” addressing the series of orders targeting Arab countries captioned: “Stay tuned for more fun… we have just begun.”
— Royal Jordanian (@RoyalJordanian) March 22, 2017
A list of things to do on a 12-hour flight with no laptop or tablet introduced to the Royal Jordanian passengers following the recent poem.
Qatar Airways joined the marketing campaigns with a tweet that reads: “With over 3,000 channels to choose from, Oryx One is the only entertainment you’ll need on board.”
The US ban targets 10 airports and nine airlines, including Saudia Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, as well as the Jordanian state airline, Royal Jordanian.
The 10 international airports are located in the cities of Cairo, Amman, Kuwait City, Casablanca, Doha, Riyadh,
Jeddah, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The UK also followed suit, even though not as many countries were included in the ban.