After a year filled with travel restrictions, quarantines and lockdowns, summer is just around the corner. For many travellers, especially those who have been fully vaccinated, the time is right to travel again.
Emirates airline is warning these travellers to plan ahead for what it says will be a peak travel period.
The airline has advised all passengers to arrive early during this busy time at Dubai International Airport.
More than 450,000 passengers are set to pass through Emirates’ Terminal 3 between Wednesday and July 12.
The busiest days for travel are set to be the next two weekends, July 2 and 3, and then again from July 9 to 10.
1,600 flights and 100,000 arriving travellers
Emirates is operating over 1,600 flights over the next two weeks as UAE citizens and residents fly out of the country, with many of them travelling for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline's latest booking figures show that more than 100,000 passengers are also set to arrive in Dubai during the same period.
With such a busy time ahead, Emirates is warning passengers to arrive early at the airport and to ensure they follow the new rules in place for travel, including compulsory face masks on all flights.
How early do I need to be at the airport?
All travellers should be at Dubai International Airport at least three hours before their flight departure time, according to Emirates.
The airline has reminded passengers that heavy road traffic surrounding Terminal 3 is expected over the next two weeks, so getting to the airport may take a little longer than normal.
Travellers cannot check-in for a flight less than one hour before departure time and anyone arriving after this cut-off point will not be allowed to board.
Once in the airport, passengers need to ensure they are at their boarding gate on time. Gates open 90 minutes before departure and boarding begins 45 minutes before each flight.
All gates close 20 minutes before flights depart. Travellers will not be allowed to board any flight if they arrive late at the gates.
What safety measures are in place at Dubai airport?
Several new safety measures have been rolled out at Terminal 3 and travellers who are flying for the first time since the pandemic began can expect some changes.
As well as increased cleaning of high traffic areas including seats and handrails, Emirates has also implemented social distancing measures throughout Terminal 3 including floor markings, signage and dedicated airport employees to manage the flow of passengers.
Hand sanitising stations and Plexiglas partitions have been installed at check-in desks and in Emirates lounges.
Emirates will also reopen its First Class Lounge in Concourse B on Thursday.
This will have capacity for 540 travellers with socially distanced seating and dining areas. The lounge will help manage the surge in passenger demand over the summer.
Can I use contactless check-in and bag-drop?
Travellers can use Emirates’ contactless kiosks to check in for flights without having to print out documents or touch any electronic screens. These services are designed to reduce waiting times during busy periods.
Completely controlled by personal mobile devices, the kiosks can be used to check-in for flights, choose seats on board, drop bags and pay for additional services like extra baggage charges.
The contactless kiosk services are available on all Emirates flights except those to the US, Canada, China, India and Hong Kong, as these destinations require additional checks.
Customers can also use Emirates' biometric paths for a contactless journey. These include seven biometric boarding gates that help to cut down on document checks and queuing time.
Should I download the IATA travel app?
Travellers flying to some Emirates destinations from Dubai can register on the IATA Travel Pass to manage their Covid-19 travel documentation.
The app includes information on vaccination status and latest PCR test results, and allows people to ensure they will be verified to fly before going to the airport.
See the travel pass in action here.
Emirates is using the IATA Travel Pass for flights to nine destinations: London, Barcelona, Madrid, Istanbul, New York JFK, Moscow, Frankfurt, Charles De Gaulle, and Amsterdam. The airline plans to add more destinations to this list throughout the summer.
Will I have to show my Alhosn app?
From July 1, Emirates will link its check-in systems to the UAE’s Alhosn app.
This will be in addition to the airline’s existing integration with the Dubai Health Authority.
It means that travellers from across all emirates will be able to digitally retrieve their Covid-19 medical records from the Alhosn app in order to verify their health and vaccination status.
How can I save time at the airport?
Emirates allows travellers to check-in and drop off luggage at the airport up to 24 hours ahead of flights.
This service is available for all flights, other than those to the US. It means travellers can then go straight to security on arrival at the airport.
Travellers can also check-in online from 48 hours to 90 minutes before departure. However, passengers are reminded that selecting this option will mean they still need to visit Emirates’ check-in counters or contactless kiosks in person to complete documentations checks at the airport.
Do I need a Covid-19 PCR test before I fly from Dubai?
Emirates does not require travellers to have a negative PCR test result before flying. However, travellers flying to certain destinations will need to show negative Covid-19 PCR test results at the airport before being allowed to check-in.
The airline has reminded passengers to review the latest travel requirements to their destination including whether a PCR test is required and how far in advance before heading to the airport. These requirements can change regularly so it is best to review the information often.
Emirates has detailed destination-specific information on its website.