'Lost contact with parents': UAE residents, tourists face delays due to airspace closure after Iran attacks Israel

The closure caused worldwide air-traffic disruption, leaving travellers anxiously awaiting updates and hoping for a swift resolution to the crisis


Waad Barakat

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Published: Sun 14 Apr 2024, 4:18 PM

Last updated: Sun 14 Apr 2024, 11:19 PM

Several countries temporarily closed their airspace after Iran's drone and missile attacks on Israel last Saturday night, leaving some UAE residents and tourists stranded in airports while others experienced flight delays. Airlines, including UAE-based Etihad, Emirates, and Flydubai, were forced to cancel or reroute several flights.

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Expecting a smooth journey, Indian expat Vineet Ladha flew from Istanbul to Riyadh at 9.30 pm on Saturday. However, two hours into the flight, the aircraft returned to Istanbul. Ladha found himself waiting for a total of 15 hours before finally being able to board his flight at 1.08pm (UAE time) on Sunday and resumed his journey to Riyadh.

Vineet Ladha at the airport
Vineet Ladha at the airport
Flights delayed
Flights delayed

Losing contact

The disruption also caused distress to few who lost contact with loved ones. A distraught UAE resident dropped off her parents, only to discover that their flight had been cancelled. Fearing for their safety, she reached out to Emirates in a desperate plea for information.

"I am trying to find information about the status of the passengers of the flight scheduled for April 14, which has been cancelled. I have lost contact with my parents." The concerned daughter tried to gather information through social media and sought updates in a post to Emirates.

The airspace closure caused worldwide air traffic disruption, leaving travellers anxiously awaiting for updates and hoping for a swift resolution to the crisis.

In-flight shock

Amidst the chaos, Parv Prabhakar, aboard an Emirates flight from Brussels to Dubai, received news of the attacks through the in-flight entertainment system.

Parv Prabhakar
Parv Prabhakar

"It was around 11pm Brussels time, approximately 1am in Dubai (when I saw the news). Initially, no official announcements were made on the flight," he told Khaleej Times.

Parv explained that there was a 30-minute delay in the trip, but no one suspected anything, as people thought it was normal. The captain eventually addressed the passengers before landing, acknowledging the situation and explaining the cause of the delay.

While most passengers maintained clam amidst the unfolding events, he couldn't help but notice his immediate co-passenger's shock and concern upon hearing about the attacks.

Anxious anticipation

Passengers were strongly advised to check their flight status on the airline's website regularly. Krinza Momim, a frequent traveller for work who is currently in the United States and had planned to attend a crypto conference in Dubai, was able to stay ahead of the situation.

Krinza Momim
Krinza Momim

After learning about the regional tensions, Krinza learned from a friend who also planned to attend the same conference in Dubai that United Airlines had cancelled most of their flights due to the airspace closure. He rebooked his flight on Emirates, hoping the airline would continue to operate at 11am.

Anxious about her upcoming trip, Krinza contacted Emirates to inquire about the status of her own flight. "I have my flight booked for the 14th at 7.55 pm from Houston to Dubai," she shared. "Given the current chaos with other airlines and their reschedules, I can't help but feel anxious about the situation."


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