Coronavirus: UAE airlines offer refunds, free travel date change
Dubai - In light of restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 virus.
By Waheed Abbas
Published: Fri 6 Mar 2020, 11:00 PM
Last updated: Sun 8 Mar 2020, 12:11 PM
Airlines in the country on Saturday announced a waiver for passengers who have been forced to cancel their flights or change their travel plans because of restrictions brought about by Covid-19.
Dubai-based Emirates airline introduced a waiver policy that will allow its passengers to change their travel dates for free, without penalties. It cover all destinations across the Emirates network and applies to all tickets issued on or from March 7 until March 31.
Customers will be able to change their booking to any date for travel within an 11-month range in the same booking class, however, difference in fare - if there's any - will apply.
Current refund and rebooking conditions for tickets issued before March 5 still apply.
Adnan Kazim, chief commercial Officer, Emirates Airline, said: "The situation remains dynamic and we will continue to look at ways to provide flexibility, convenience and peace of mind for our customers."
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has also introduced fee waivers for travellers who are required to cancel their flights or change their arrangements because of Covid-19 restrictions.
It said that for passengers who are due to fly before June 30, but their flights have been affected because of restrictions, travel can be rebooked for departures up to July 15, without standard change fees.
Only one change is permitted but further changes will attract standard fees, it added. Re-routing or rebooking can proceed only if there are no travel restrictions on intended routes.
Passengers can also request a cancellation. In this case, the refund is without penalty on the unused portion of any tickets.
Those passengers who have used Etihad Guest Miles to pay for their travel are also eligible to cancel or rebook flights if their travel is impacted by flight cancellations or by travel restrictions imposed to help contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the UAE carrier said.
Budget carrier flydubai also offered the flexibility of rebooking the passenger or refund.
"Passengers who are affected and need to change an existing booking should send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Travel restrictions' in the subject line and will be able to rebook to another destination or arrange a refund.
"Alternatively, please call our Contact Centre on (+971) 600 54 44 45 or send a private message on Facebook," it said in a statement on its website.
It advised passengers, who booked their flights through a travel agent, to contact them directly for rebooking or refund.
Sharjah-headquartered Air Arabia said on its website that passengers whose flights are affected by travel restrictions in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iran may choose to change or cancel their flights at no cost by contacting its call centre.