UAE flights: Are you travelling in Dec? See recent Covid-19 advisories for residents by authorities

Authorities and airlines issue guidelines for a safe, smooth and hassle-free travel experience.


Waheed Abbas

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Agencies file
Agencies file

Published: Mon 6 Dec 2021, 11:32 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Dec 2021, 1:12 PM

The month of December is a busy season when outbound travel peaks from the UAE with a large number of residents flying to other countries for holidays or for annual vacations to meet their friends and families.

But the outbreak of the new coronavirus variant Omicron has resulted in fresh travel advisories by local authorities and airlines, impacting the UAE residents’ travel plans.

Below are some of the travel advisories issued by different authorities in the UAE that residents should check for a smooth and hassle-free travel experience:

Always check travel regulations before you fly

The UAE airlines continuously advise travellers to check the travel requirements of their destinations so that they don’t face any hassle upon arrival at the destination. It’s important to carry copies of Covid-19 vaccination certificates so that passengers can immediately submit them upon request by authorities of other countries. Also, UAE residents better download Al Hosn app which contains all the updated data about vaccinations.

Don’t travel to 7 African countries

From November 29, the National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) suspended the entry of travellers from seven African countries including South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique due to Omicron. This includes suspending entry of passengers who were in these seven countries 14 days before coming to the UAE. However, UAE citizens, diplomatic missions, golden visa residency holders and official delegations are exempted from the travel restrictions from the seven countries. But people from the UAE can fly to these seven countries.


Plan ample time to complete airport formalities

Emirates airline expects a high number of passenger departures from Dubai. Due to Covid 19 travel requirement checks and safety procedures, it expects an increased waiting time at check in counters.

Customers starting their journey in Dubai are requested to arrive early at the airport. Check in counters will be open 24 hours before the flight from Dubai, and passengers can check in for their flights and drop luggage 24 hours before the departure of your flight. For customers travelling to the US, check in counters will open 12 hours before the flight.


Get booster shots before starting travel

For those UAE residents who plan to travel abroad, it’s highly recommended to receive booster shots. The National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) has advised residents aged 18-plus to receive the booster shot six months after taking the first two doses of Pfizer and Sputnik V. Since travel restrictions are changing frequently around the globe, it’s safer for residents to be fully vaccinated.


Flights suspended to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Morocco

Emirates temporarily suspended passenger operations to and from Zimbabwe (Harare) and Zambia (Lusaka) from November 27, 2021, until further notice. Customers can simply hold on to their Emirates ticket and when flights resume, get in touch with their travel agent or booking office to make new travel plans.

Following the directive issued by the Government of Morocco, Emirates suspended passenger operations to and from Casablanca starting from November 30, 2021, until further notice.

Customers holding tickets with the final destination to Casablanca will not be accepted at the point of origin.

Travelling to Nigeria, Uganda, Vietnam

Effective from November 27, 2021, passengers who have been in or transited through Nigeria, Uganda, Vietnam or Zambia in the last 14 days will only be allowed to travel to Dubai if they can present a printed copy of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result (displaying a QR code) in English or Arabic from a test taken in thhe country of departure by an approved health service no more than 72 hours prior to the departure of their inbound flight to Dubai, flydubai said on its website. Passengers are not required to take a rapid PCR test at the departure airport but must undergo a PCR test on arrival in Dubai.

Keep your tickets open

As new travel restrictions are being enforced by countries due to the Omicron, resulting in the cancellation of the flights, the UAE carriers advise passengers to keep their tickets open. If the flight has been cancelled, the passenger can simply keep his/her ticket open until he/she is ready to travel again. They don’t need to call the airline or do anything until they’re ready to rebook. Etihad says it’ll keep the ticket open until May 31, 2022, and if you haven’t used your open ticket within 12 months of your first cancelled flight, you will be entitled to a refund.

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