UAE airlines offering promotions, fee waivers to lure travellers back

More carriers waive rebooking fees, promise to issue full refunds

Image used for illustrative purpose. An Etihad Airways aircraft is seen at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Image used for illustrative purpose. An Etihad Airways aircraft is seen at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

REUTERS/Stringer .

As fears over the spread of coronavirus intensifies and more and more people are putting their travel plans on hold, airlines are revising their strategies to lure customers back.

Carriers operating in the UAE and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region are promoting new measures, like waiving rebooking fees, offering full refunds and intensifying hygienic procedures aboard the aircraft in a bid to entice customers.

UAE-based flydubai, Emirates and Etihad, as well as Air Arabia said that they have introduced a new waiver policy to "offer more flexibility" and put flyers at ease. 

“Passengers can rebook to a later date or arrange a full refund, no charges apply,” flydubai told Zawya on Tuesday. The budget carrier has recently cancelled flights to Bahrain, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Dozens of airlines around the world have temporarily grounded flights to and from China, Iran, Italy and several other destinations to help contain the spread of the coronavirus that has now infected more than 113,000 people and claimed a death toll of over 4,000 individuals since it was discovered in December.

“We want our customers to feel fully supported, comfortable and confident when making travel plans… The situation remains dynamic and we will continue to look at ways to provide flexibility, convenience and peace of mind for our customers,” said Adnan Kazim, chief commercial officer of Emirates Airline.


Emirates has introduced a new waiver policy for all tickets booked from March 7 until March 31, 2020. “Customers can change their booking to any date for travel within an 11-month date range in the same booking class without change penalties… The policy covers all existing destinations across the Emirates network,” the airline said.

The airline also said it is taking its aircraft cleaning process “to the next level” especially for flights from destinations most affected by the coronavirus.

“If the airline is alerted to any suspect or confirmed cases of infectious diseases, teams will be immediately deployed for a deeper cleaning to thoroughly disinfect all cabins of the aircraft with stronger, approved chemicals,” the airline said.

Air Arabia also announced late Monday that its passengers can modify their travel bookings without charge and re-issuance fees. Flyers can change their bookings until March 31, 2020 for travel until December 31, 2020.

As for passengers who have booked with Philippines’ budget carrier Cebu Pacific, which operates flights in the UAE and other GCC countries, rebooking will not incur extra charges for customers who book a flight from March 10 to March 31, 2020.

In a statement sent to Zawya, the airline said it has also put preventive measures in place to manage the risk of infection from the coronavirus.

“These measures include thorough disinfection of aircraft, on top of the regular cleaning; providing our crew with personnel protective equipment such as face masks, gloves and disinfectants,” said the airline on Tuesday.

As for Etihad, the airline said on its website that it has removed change fees for flyers who wish to book a flight between March 8 and April 7, 2020.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

#Airlines #UAE #Dubai #Coronavirus #Travel

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