what to know before flying with Emirates and Etihad this Christmas
New guidelines have been issued by Emirates Airline to help travelers planning to return home for the holiday season.
The disruption caused by the emerging Omicron strain of Covid-19 has raised concerns among travelers as borders have been closed in southern and western Africa and flights have been canceled around the world.
So far, the UK has recorded 134 cases of the new variant, but no reported deaths directly related to the variant.
With many countries imposing different travel restrictions and protocols, it has created a complex web of new rules and options for those traveling in the coming weeks.
The UK has made pre-departure PCR testing mandatory for all arrivals to ensure those entering the country test negative.
Stricter travel requirements will take effect from 4 a.m. on Tuesday, December 7, with all newcomers over the age of 11 having to submit a negative side flow test or PCR test performed no more than 48 hours before departure .
People currently only need to self-isolate until they test negative within two days of arriving, but that could change as the UK government prepares to review its travel protocols on December 18.
In the United States, Monday’s changes to inbound passenger requirements include a negative Covid-19 test within one day of travel, rather than the result of the 72-hour pre-travel test previously required.
In India, authorities have postponed the resumption of international flights until at least December 15 amid growing concern over the spread of Omicron.
How to cancel a flight
The good news for people who have booked on an Emirates flight is that if their plans change, their ticket can be used for up to two years after booking.
The extension applies to flights due before May 31, 2022, for passengers who booked from October 1, 2020.
Passengers can rebook another flight to the same destination and in the same cabin class at no additional cost.
Changes can be made up to 36 months after the initial booking at no additional cost.
Passengers can also request a full refund if their travel plans have changed or are uncertain, although they must pay all service charges and related taxes.
Anyone traveling with Etihad can also book flights free of charge before May 31, 2022, but passengers will have to pay the difference if there is a price increase from the original booked fare.
Canceled flights will receive the cost of your ticket placed in your travel bank account, which can then be used for the next booked flight.
You can request a refund from Etihad if your flight is canceled, if government restrictions prevent you from traveling, or if you show a positive PCR result between 96 and 24 hours before your departure time.
Does my ticket still include free Covid-19 insurance?
Yes, but that has changed. Emirates’ free comprehensive travel insurance implemented during the pandemic will no longer apply to tickets booked after December 1, 2021.
It has been replaced by the airline’s Covid-19 medical travel insurance coverage.
The policy automatically applies to passengers who booked a flight from December 1 to March 31, 2022 and provides coverage for medical expenses related to Covid-19 up to $ 175,000.
It includes emergency medical evacuation and the repatriation of policyholders who test positive for the virus abroad.
Unexpected quarantine charges are covered for up to 14 consecutive days, at a daily cost of $ 115 and valid 31 days after departure.
Each Etihad Airways ticket for travel through March 31, 2022 also includes full Covid-19 insurance coverage for up to 31 days from departure.
How do I change my ticket?
To update a ticket or request a refund, travelers can visit the Manage My Booking page of the Emirates app or the Emirates web page, or contact their travel agent.
If travel is not scheduled for the next 48 hours, passengers are encouraged not to call.
Reports of long queues on the general inquiries line may make online chat a better option or Emirates’ What’sApp messaging service.
Likewise, Etihad tickets can be changed by visiting the Etihad webpage or by contacting the relevant travel agent.
Updated: December 5, 2021 9:08 AM