Dubai no longer requires pre-departure test, Emirates create ‘biometric pathway’ at Dubai & Hyatt update COVID-19 cancellation policy.

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Dubai no longer requires a pre-departure test from UK, as it’s added to UK corridor list

Earlier this week, some good news was announced for the UK Travel Corridor: Dubai will now be joining. Residents of the UK can now travel freely to Dubai with no need to quarantine upon arrival or return.

A spokesperson for Dubai Tourism has said that social distancing measures have been introduced; however, tourism destinations and sites are open and ready to receive visitors. You can read about my friend’s recent experience in Dubai in this article. (note entry requirements have changed as per below)

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Tourism, said of the decision:

“Following today’s announcement to include Dubai on the UK’s travel exemption quarantine list, we are delighted to welcome British visitors back to the city from December 3rd. Since opening our borders on July 7th a key priority for us has been to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our residents and guests in Dubai. We hope these stringent measures and the news of today’s travel exemption quarantine list give confidence to British visitors to come and experience Dubai for some winter sun.”

Upon arrival in Dubai, UK residents must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test which can either be done upon arrival in Dubai, or up to 96 hours prior to departure from the UK. Previously you had to have a test before you go. 

So should you wait until you get there? I would say not because you’ll need to quarantine until results. Although you should get them within 6 hours, but if it is a short trip you may not want to waste that much time. The advantage is that it is less hassle finding somewhere to take a test although the 96 hours gives some flexibility. Also, it will save you upwards of £150 as it is free. 

The other thing to bear in mind is that if you test positive you’ll have to pay for government enforcement quarantine or private hospital. This could run to thousands of pounds so it’s quite a gamble to take!

To celebrate the travel corridor announcement, British Airways Holidays are offering £100 off Dubai holidays – for the full details, go here!


Emirates create fully integrated ‘biometric pathway’ at Dubai International Airport

Emirates biometric pathway

Emirates have announced a fully integrated ‘biometric pathway’ at Dubai International Airport.

According to the statement, the airlines ‘commitment to continuous innovation and an unmatched customer experience’ prompted the creation of a completely contactless experience, now open to Emirates passengers travelling to and from Dubai.

The path offers a seamless journey for travellers, from check-in to the boarding gate, which not only improves often frayed tempers, but will also remove unhygienic touchpoints, improve the flow of traffic and minimise unnecessary queuing and interaction.

The system uses a mix of biometric technology, including facial and iris recognition, and will allow passengers to enter the Emirates Lounge, check-in for flights, complete immigration formalities and board flights just by walking through the airport.

Biometric touchpoints have been installed at certain First, Business and Economy check-in desks through Terminal 3 at the Dubai International Airport, as well as at immigration gates, select boarding gates and also the Emirates’ premium lounge entrance at concourse B.

The ‘smart tunnel’, which is currently installed at one of the immigration gates, is a project by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) in collaboration with Emirates, enables passengers to easily ‘walk through’ a tunnel and are ‘cleared’ by immigration authorities without human intervention or the need for a physical passport stamp.

Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, said in a statement:

“We have always focused on providing a great customer experience at any touchpoint and now it is more vital than before to make use of technology and implement products, and introduce processes that focuses not only on fast tracking customers, but more importantly on health and safety during their travel journey. The state-of-the-art, contactless biometric path is the latest in a series of initiatives we have introduced to make sure that travelling on Emirates is a seamless journey and gives customers added peace of mind.”

Emirates are the first airline outside of the USA to receive approval for biometric boarding from the U.S. Customs Border Protection. This will enable any customers flying from Dubai to any Emirates ports in the U.S to choose ‘facial recognition technology’ at their departure gate.

Over the last few months, Emirates have introduced a range of measures to provide an easy, contactless journey. These include self-check-in and bag drop kiosks at Dubai International, allowing a more hygienic experience for both travellers and staff.


Hyatt update cancellation conditions

Hyatt is the latest in a range of hotel chains who have updated their cancellation policies, in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The main difference relates to reservations booked on or after the 1st July 2020, where specific rules start coming into play for each hotel, if they differ from the global rules.

See the rundown below, or for the full list of details check out their website here.

Existing reservations booked prior to July 1, 2020:

With some very limited exceptions, existing reservations booked before July 1, 2020 can be cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. This includes Advance Purchase Rate reservations.

Reservations made after April 1, 2020 at select Destination properties or under the Special Event Rates and after June 3, 2020 at Hyatt Residence Club properties are excluded from this policy and subject to the cancellation policy disclosed at the time of reservation.

New reservations booked July 1, 2020 or beyond:

With some very limited exceptions, reservations booked on July 1, 2020 or beyond – for arrival dates through July 31, 2021 – can be cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.

Any reservations booked on July 1, 2020 or beyond that disclose a different cancellation or refund policy at the time of booking are excluded from this policy and subject to the cancellation or refund policy disclosed at the time of booking.

Hotels may adjust this cancellation policy during some high-demand periods (e.g., holidays or special events).

Reservations can be changed or cancelled on or via the World of Hyatt app (subject to the exceptions noted here and during the booking process). Please note that changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences.