Families who have been on vacation to their hometown in India are finding it difficult to return directly to the UAE either due to exorbitant tickets or the unavailability of tickets. Many of them are opting out to reach Dubai via other GCC countries.

Bharat Aidasani, managing partner, Pluto Travels said that the direct flight ticket price to the UAE from India is comparatively high as families are planning their return for back to school. “Many of them opt to travel via GCC countries like Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait as ticket prices to these destinations from Indian cities are low and good connectivity with UAE,” Aidasani said it would take over four hours to travel via a GCC country from India to the UAE.

Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travels, told Khaleej Times, “One-way tickets from India to Oman cost approximately Dh900. Following which, passengers can take an immediate connecting flight to any destination in the UAE.”

On the other hand, one-way return tickets from various destinations in India range from anything between Dh1,500 to Dh1,900. Most cases, tickets are sold out on premium carriers such as Emirates Airlines. “Passengers also use the option to take a bus back to UAE from Oman, which costs Dh55. Some are opting to drive back as well,” Ahmed explained.

For those seeking to travel in a cost-efficient manner, this is a fantastic option, he added. “People traveling to Oman are ones who did not book a return ticket for their travel to India, for example. They were hoping to find a better rate for return travel. While individual passengers are only making a saving of Dh500, it makes huge sense for families and big groups of travellers,” he added.

Passengers can avail of visas on arrival at Muscat International Airport and enter the country without any issues. “Many of them belong to middle and low-income groups. However, they are all travelling at their own risk. Challenges could arise for those choosing to opt for this route,” he added.

Raja Mir Wasim, manager of Galadari International Travel Services, said a slight dip in the ticket price was recorded this week. “But from next week, the ticket prices may further shoot up as the demand will be very high,” said Wasim.

Taha Siddique, Director of Siddique Travels, said he had booked over 30 tickets to Dubai via Muscat from Mumbai and Kannur in Kerala. “Many of my clients prefer to travel from Muscat with a few days stay. I have been applying for Oman visas for my clients since August 5.”

According to him, there is daily demand for tickets to UAE via Oman. Families are opting out to complete their vacation’s last leg in Oman. “As schools are set to open in the first week of September, parents are willing to take their children for a trip to many scenic locations in Oman, preferably Muscat and Salalah,” added Taha.

Commenting on the ticket prices, Taha said that many of his client’s families and big groups had saved nearly 50 per cent compared to a direct flight to Dubai. “A flight ticket from Kannur or Mumbai to Muscat costs Dh400 to Dh500, an Oman visa costs Dh100, and a private bus fare from Muscat is Dh100. So the total cost of the entire travel is much less. Moreover, families can also spend four days in Oman and still save some cash,” added Taha.

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