In my last blog article, I promised to share my client’s experience of coming back from Dubai to London to beat the hotel quarantine. You can read that article by clicking here:
This is what my client had to say:
Dubai International Airport and Emirates have always been at the forefront of enhancing the customer experience and being at the cutting edge of technological change. I had to travel back to the UK unexpectedly from an extended stay in Dubai as a result of the new quarantine restrictions that were being applied to travellers coming back from the United Arab Emirates.
Before documenting my journey back to the UK, I would like to begin by talking about my experiences being in Dubai. I have seen the media coverage about so called influencers partying and ignoring all social distancing regulations designed to curb the spread of Covid 19. The reality, as I experienced, is far removed from this media portrayal.
Firstly, the Dubai authorities had made it abundantly clear to hotels and any hospitality establishment that preventative measures to curb the spread of the virus were of paramount importance. This was immediately apparent when we arrived in Dubai; from the hotel to the malls, everyone was taking Covid 19 seriously. This of course makes sense as it would hardly benefit Dubai’s tourism economy if the destination became synonymous with being super spreader of the virus.
I personally believe I was safer in Dubai than I would have been in the UK where the rate of infection was so high that I was more likely to catch the virus in the supermarket than I would have been at the hotels I was staying at in the UAE. I completely understand that we have to take hard decisions to curb the spread of the virus in the UK and fully support the measures taken by the government. Since my return from Dubai I have been strictly following the regulations which require me to self-isolate for 10 days. When my quarantine period ends, I will continue to observe all the rules that the authorities impose so that I can do my bit to curb the spread of the virus in my country.
Emirates is using the latest biometric technology which comprises a mix of facial and iris recognition. All passengers flying with Emirates passengers can check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights without having to interact with any staff or airport officials. The various touchpoints in the biometric path allow for a hygienic contactless travel journey, reducing human interaction and putting emphasis on health and safety.
My journey back to the UK was at the beginning of February 2021. My experiences below will allow readers to judge whether the reality compares to the hype.
As I walked into the Emirates terminal in Dubai, I had to firstly sanitise my hands. I was then directed to kiosk where my temperature was measured by a camera. As was not suffering from any virus symptoms, I was then allowed to proceed to the check-in area.
There are a number of automated self-service check-in desks which, it appears have increased compared to what was available before Covid. These self-service terminals have been upgraded from the standard self-service kiosks I have been used to using in the past. The kiosks have been designed to allow the passenger to check in using their phones and contactless technology so as to ensure that there is not risk of passengers spreading the virus by touching the devices. The process was extremely smooth and I even checked in our bags without having to speak to anyone for assistance.
This is was the one part of the journey where there was a limited element of interaction, although not more than necessary in order to check passports and baggage. There were some queues at this stage but social distancing was being observed and the wait time was only 5 minutes.
Emirates advises everyone to arrive 4 hours early for their flight during the pandemic. However, it only took us a total of 20 minutes from entering at the airport to finalising all the formalities required to enter the passenger departure hall. I have a priority pass and would normally have headed to one of the many lounges in the airport, but, unfortunately, as a result of Covid, all the lounges were closed. This left us with 3 hours to wander around the airport or simply find a place to set up camp until our flight was called. We opted for the latter!
The airport was a lot quieter than I have ever seen it in the past, but there were still a fair number of passengers who were travelling, many of whom were travelling with children.
The restaurants were busy but, as the restrictions only allow them to operate at 50% of capacity to curb the spread of the virus, social distancing was being effectively observed.
We were not alone travelling back to the UK via Dublin prior to the introduction of hotel quarantine! The flight was running at 80% capacity which was much higher than I anticipated. Because of the number of passengers travelling, there was a long queue for the gate but social distancing was being effectively managed by the airport staff to ensure that passengers were not coming into close contact with each other prior to boarding.
Book by: Jan 31st 2022
Book by: Jan 31st 2022
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