India-Dubai flights: Travel agents see surge in ticket prices; one-way airfare nearly Dh1,400 from some cities
Residents are hesitant to book due to lack of clarity on new procedures.
With Dubai easing travel restrictions on passengers from India on Saturday, travel agents witnessed a surge in enquiries for flights from the country to Dubai.
However, agents also noted that residents are hesitant to book tickets due to a lack of clarity on travel procedures.
“While there are a large number of enquiries from interested travellers, very few passengers are booking tickets from India. Their main concerns are about the vaccination status of accompanying children and whether residents need to take pre-travel GDRFA and ICA approvals,” said Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travels.
"Interested passengers also want to know if they can travel with a single dose of the vaccine and are asking for the list of UAE-approved vaccines."
He added, “There are many who have been in India for over six months. These categories of residents would like to know if they would still be allowed to travel [as their visas would have expired].”
The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai on Saturday granted permission to vaccinated UAE residents stranded in India to return to the emirate from Wednesday, June 23. Emirates airline has also announced that it will resume passenger flights from India, starting June 23.
Raheesh Babu, the group COO of Musafir.com, said airlines are offering bundle packages to agencies and travellers, which include a one-night stay at a hotel.
“However, the biggest concern among a lot of travellers is the rapid PCR test they need to take four hours before travel. This facility can only be offered by airports and most airports in India do not have such a facility. Where can passengers get this from?”
Bharat Aidasani, managing partner of Pluto Travels, said, “Flights have just started opening up in the system... Flydubai has started too... Things will open up slowly and steadily, but people are asking for clarity. They want to know whether rapid tests will be done at the airport. They are also inquiring about tourist visas, as they want to bring their parents here.”
He said that the agency had already received "25-30 inquiries in the first couple of hours" this morning. "People are very happy about the resumption of passenger flights, as many families were separated and people were desperate to resume their jobs,” he said.
Aidasani noted that, at the moment, flights to Dubai are open for booking from Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad.
“We are getting inquiries from all the cities of India. People don’t mind going from one city to another and travelling from there. For example, if flights are not open from Kerala, people are willing to go to Mumbai and Cochin and flying to Dubai from there,” he said.
Farzana Sameer, general manager, Dadabhai Travel, echoed Aidasani’s comments, saying they had received a lot of inquiries since the news broke on Saturday evening.
“Since last night, inquiries are just pouring in from several cities in India. People are desperate to come back because chartered flights were not affordable for the common people. But we are still waiting for clarity on some of the rules for passengers,” said Sameer.
Due to high demand, Bharat Aidasani said airfares are quite high at the moment. One-way airfare to Dubai from Mumbai and Delhi costs around Dh1,385, while ticket fare from Hyderabad to Dubai costs about Dh1,345.
“The airfares used to be Dh600 and Dh800 for flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Dubai. These high rates are till July 5 and will go down after that,” he predicted.
“People who are stuck in India don’t want to miss the chance and want to fly back to UAE as early as possible,” he explained.
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