Travellers with upcoming flights should expect their journey to look a little different than normal, with Emirates and Flydubai stepping up in-flight safety measures in a bid to protect passengers and crew.
All Emirates cabin crew, boarding agents and ground staff that work with travellers have now been issued with personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn whenever they are on duty.
The kits include protective disposable gowns to be worn over standard Emirates’ uniforms, as well as gloves, masks and safety visors covering the eyes.
Travellers must also wear protective coverings: all passengers must wear face masks and gloves from check-in at Terminal 3 until they disembark their flight in their chosen destination.
Families can sit together
Travellers must also follow temporary rules that include sitting in pre-assigned seats. This is to allow Emirates to allocate empty seats between individual travellers to ensure social distancing in the air. Families who live together can still sit as a group, and this should be requested during the check-in process at Dubai International Airport.
New checked baggage allowance
All cabin baggage other than laptops, handbags, briefcases and baby items must be checked in. Emirates is allowing passengers to add their cabin baggage allowance to their check-in allowance.
Emirates’ in-flight food and beverage services have also changed, and all meals are now being offered in the form of bento-style boxes. Designed to reduce contact between crew and passengers during flights, each box contains sandwiches, beverages, snacks and desserts. Travellers cannot order special meals at this time.
New procedures at Terminal 3
The airline has also implemented new procedures at Dubai International Airport. Gloves and masks are now mandatory at the airport, for both travellers and staff.
Thermal scanners have been installed to monitor the temperature of anyone coming into the airport. Social distancing is also in action with distance markers on the ground at waiting areas to help travellers gauge the correct distance to stand from others during check-in and boarding processes.
Check-in staff at Emirates now sit behind protective barriers installed at each desk.
Flydubai and Etihad crew don masks
Emirates is not the only UAE airline changing things when it comes to in-flight safety during the time of coronavirus.
Flydubai has also established new guidelines to ensure all cabin crew operating repatriation flights wear protective equipment.
“Our crew wear gloves and masks, and on-board standard pieces of equipment we carry include Universal Precaution Kits as alongside Emergency Medical Kits and First Aid Kits,” said a Flydubai spokesperson.
Etihad, the national airline of the UAE, recently released a video thanking employees working in the pandemic for their service. In the video, Etihad crew can be seen wearing face masks and gloves. The airline has also suspended online seat selection to "help us to follow social distancing guidelines as closely as possible, and make sure you stay safe while you travel with us," said the airline on its website.
Flights in and out of the UAE are temporarily suspended, but airlines are working to provide repatriation flights to bring Emiratis back to the country and take stranded travellers home. You can find out more about repatriation flights here.