Should we be travelling to London from Dubai ?
3 Sep 2020 update TRAVELLING ANYWHERE FROM DUBAI
- Covid Tests, required for travellling, are available in a number of clinics in Dubai, some are 24 hour walk in clinics such as the Dubai London Clinic in Jumierah.
- Prices range from around AED 300 to AED 370.
- You have to QUARANTINE till you get your result, usually within 24 to 36 hours or so, regardless of whether you display any symptoms. We’ll keep UPDATING THIS POST, PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR DETAILS.
- Need a visa? Check here first.
UPDATED 29TH AUGUST
It’s now compulsory to have evidence of a covid negative test result 96 hours before you fly to Dubai.
Let’s look at the detailed requirements:
- On first contacting Emirates, I was told an NHS test would in no way be accepted. On a subsequent call I was told YES an NHS test would be accepted BUT it had to be an email, NOT an SMS
- The NHS doesn’t always guarantee you an emailed result, sometimes it’s just an SMS you receive.
- We know the NHS emailed results are accepted as friends have gone through fine with these. The advantage is of course they are FREE.
- Private providers such as clinics and even pharmacies in the UK also undertake covid tests as in the PCR swab test that requires a swab of your nose and throat. The sample is sent to a lab and the results are emailed to you, usually within 24 hours. Labs seem to be working 24 hours to keep up with demand, at least in London as I understand.
- The timing of the test is critical, so Emirates requires you take your swab pcr test no longer than 96 hours before your flight departure time. So that’s from the time you submit or go for your test, NOT from when the lab receives your sample.
- It’s tricky as you need to leave enough time to receive your result as well.
You also must have an approval form to return back to DXB. If you give your approval number to Emirates once you have your form, they will update it in the system for you.
LINK from Emirates with new requirements FOR RESIDENTS is
LINK from Emirates with new requirements FOR TOURISTS OR VISITORS is
UPDATED 8TH AUGUST
HERE IS THE LINK TO MORE COUNTRIES ADDED TO QUARANTINE LIST FROM BRITISH GOVERNMENT.
UPDATED 4TH AUGUST 2020
As we expected, changes to travel rules all the time, now it’s compuslory for anyone travelling TO DUBAI to carry a covid negative certificate that’s valid for 96 hours. So no earlier than 4 days before your departure date.
If you’re coming from certain countries, then certificates must be obtained from certain designated facilities. Approval to return is still needed and applied for in the same way.
All the new information that came through from Emirates today is in this LINK here. Please share with anyone who needs to know.
There were so many uncertainties regarding travelling to London from Dubai during this time, but I did it and am sharing my honest experience as clearly as possible in this post.
Please share with others if you think it will help. Time of travelleing is around 3rd week of July 2020, so things may change very soon. Please check with your airline and official government sites from your country of origin and destination before you decide to travel. It’s a calculated risk that depends on your personal situation.
Making the booking with Emirates
I booked my flight a week before my departure. I reserved a seat by phone with Emirates : tel is 04 214 4444 and I asked if I needed to show an a “successful” approval to return Dubai form before booking.
I was told yes I should do this but as a Dubai resident, there would be no problem with getting the approval. But they offered to reserve my booking and “block or hold” the booking for 6 hours.
Do you need to complete an approval to return to Dubai form BEFORE you book?
The operator at Emirates said yes to me on the phone, but the second time I rang I was told no approval is needed for you to BOOK A FLIGHT WITH EMIRATES. You do NEED APPROVAL TO RETURN TO DUBAI ITSELF though.
But it seems you don’t have to apply for it before you travel. The validity of approval I received via email in a couple of minutes was for 4 weeks. If you travel for longer than that, you can re apply on line.
Here is the official link for applying for approval
You need your PASSPORT for your file number and an email address and date of birth. Very easy form to fill in and submit.
48 hours before you go
You also need to download and complete an extensive landing track and trace form giving details of your stay in the UK. You HAVE to show this form when you arrive at Dubai airport before travel AND again at Heathrow airport.
It’s a 3 page form that you can fill in online and print off and or save on your phone and have emailed to you. I did all 3 and kept the printed version with me. The UK border DID ASK to see it. Officially it’s called a Passenger Locator Form.
There are many countries and categories of people who are exempt from quarantining for 14 days on arrival in the UK, BUT as I write, the UAE is not on on the exemption list, so you do have to quarantine.
Here is the link to fill in the ARRIVAL IN THE UK FORM.
You CANNOT DO THIS MORE THAN 48 HOURS BEFORE YOU TRAVEL. The link won’t give you access to do so, as I understand.
At the airport in Dubai
Dubai airport was much quieter than usual but it was much busier than when we dropped off our daughter on June 23rd. That was the date when covid tests before leaving Dubai were going to be compulsory. But as we know that didn’t happen.
Most airport staff are in full protective aprons and masks of course. Gloves are not compulsory. You are asked to show your arrival in the UK form when you check in.
Security is the same as usual, but overall, there are far fewer people travelling than what we’re used to so the whole process is very, very quick. You are told to get to the airport 3 hours before hand though.
Is Dubai Duty Free open?
Yes it is! So you can have a wander around the shops. There are some discounts around but they aren’t obvious, just ask if there are any offers, you may be pleasantly surprised!
I upgraded my seat to Business using miles so I had access to the Emirates Business Lounge. While the lounge is open, the experience is very different to normal! Firstly it was almost deserted, very quiet with more staff than passengers at about lunch time. The lounge opened on the 1st of July.
There is no open buffet or hot food of any kind at all. Ordering is done via a QR card and a very limited menu is on offer.
There is the choice of a vegetarian or non vegetarian box that contains a salad, a wrap and some processed, white rolls. Hot beverages are dispensed in paper cups. But everything arrives on a silver tray and you are served at your table. Everyone was very polite. There is also a small menu of alcoholic beverages you can choose from.
There are no magazines or newspapers of any kind on any stands neither are they available on request, so do take your own reading material for longer flights.
There are toilets of course, but fewer than usual, the facilities were extremely clean and being refreshed on a regular basis.
The lounge is open for customers for sure, but this is not Business as Usual, by a long shot. I did feel totally safe at all times at Dubai airport and on the flight too.
During the flight
Crew are in full aprons that cover their uniforms and they wear masks throughout the flight. It’s compulsory for passengers to wear masks for the duration of the fight apart from while eating or drinking. The flight took off and landed roughly according to schedule. It was about half full, or half empty!
Again there is no reading material on board the cabin. I was served a hot lunch and an afternoon snack. There is a huge amount of real cutlery that comes with each meal. I counted a total of 6 knives, forks and spoons! Tea and coffee were dispensed in china mugs whenever you needed a drink.
There was no cheese board as an alternative to the dessert on the tray for the business class meal.
Arriving at Heathrow
We arrived at Terminal 2, the Queen’s Terminal, not the usual terminal we would have exited from. Only Terminals 2 and 5 are open at Heathrow at the moment due to the much lower number of aircraft in circulation.
At immigration you can opt to exit via the e-gates if you have a British passport, but a number of people who tried the gates, including your reporter, were denied access via the electronic gates and asked to Seek Assistance.
That meant a long wait in a line to reach the one immigration officer on duty in that section.
You are asked to show your completed passenger locator form, it’s a long, but uncomplicated form so do it before hand. Some people were filling their’s up while standing in line!
I ordered a private taxi to take me home, and on the way was struck by how much faster the journey was but also at the number of places that were closed. I kept another mask on throughout my journey. You do have to quarantine for 2 weeks on arrival in the UK if you are coming in from the UAE.
Coming back to Life after Lockdown. From London's Marylebone. NEXT POST
Masks will be compulsory to wear in all shops, cafes and restaurants including take away places in the UK from Friday 24th of July.
What are your feelings about travelling this summer?
Please let me know in a comment below and do share this post with anyone thinking of travel. It’s an honest account of how things stand at the moment. Thank you.. Monica.