Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: Scores of Indian expats manage to land in Dubai before flights suspension

SM Ayaz Zakhir/Dubai
Filed on April 24, 2021 | Last updated on April 25, 2021 at 12.34 am
Supplied photo

Some paid 8 times the normal price, some had to change tickets as they could not get PCR test results on time.

Hundreds of passengers flew into Dubai from India, as they made a mad scramble to beat the 11.59pm deadline on Saturday before the 10-day flight ban took effect.

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Relief, stress, fatigue and joy could be seen on the faces of the passengers making their way in the arrival area of Terminal 2 at Dubai Airport as Khaleej Times was on the ground to catch their reactions and experience as they managed to avoid getting stranded back home

As many as 30 flights arrived from Indian cities to Terminal 2 on April 24.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said the decision to suspend India flights included all national and overseas airlines, except for transit flights coming to the UAE and bound for India.

Many travellers said they had to undergo severe difficulties to get back to Dubai. Many said they had to shell out five times the normal price to get the prize tickets to return to the UAE.

Amandeep Kaur, a consultant said, “I was unable to book my flight ticket from Amritsar as the airline website kept crashing due to heavy online traffic. No tickets were available and customer service failed to address our issues. I arrived here on a connecting flight from Delhi. I paid five times the price of a normal ticket from Delhi to Dubai. Some of my fellow passenger said they paid eight times the regular amount.”

Jasim (name changed on request) and his wife who arrived in Dubai from Mangalore said that the Air India Express webpage crashed soon after his ticket was booked. He, said he somehow managed to book a ticket for his wife with great difficulty.

“My ticket was booked by my local travel agent in Mangalore. However, the site crashed after my ticket confirmation. My travel agent advised me to reach the airport 10 hours before departure. Finally, I managed to get my wife’s ticket on the airline counter at the airport.” said Jasim.

For Dr Ayan who works at Prime Healthcare and his wife who arrived from Kolkata via Delhi had a tough time getting a pre-travel Covid-19 test as the centres were extremely crowded as expatriates tried to get into the flights before the suspension came into effect.

“We had to cancel our ticket on Emirates airlines from Kolkata as we did not have the Covid-19 test result. We managed to get a ticket on an Air India flight from Delhi. We faced great difficulty in convincing the testing centre to release the result soon. Thankfully, we managed to get it and reach on time,” said Dr Ayan.

Another traveller from Kannur, Ahmed Akram said, “A QR code on your certificate is mandatory to fly to Dubai. Many testing labs in India are not aware of this. I had to find a centre in my city which provided me with a printed QR code on my Covid certificate.”

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