Emirates will soon require 2 coronavirus tests for select US flyers

Jul 26, 2020

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Emirates will soon require all passengers from the U.S. and other countries to get a coronavirus test result before flying. And some passengers will even need to be tested a second time upon arrival.

As of Aug. 1, all passengers traveling to Dubai from any destination — including passengers connecting in Dubai — must have a negative COVID-19 test certificate to be accepted on a flight. Tests must be taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure. This policy excludes children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability.

(Photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy)

If the U.A.E. government has specified a designated laboratory in the country of origin, then the passenger must get the certificate from that lab. The list of those laboratories is located here.

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In addition to the pre-departure PCR test, some travelers will be subject to another test on-arrival.

Specifically, those traveling from the following 29 countries require a second PCR test on-arrival: Afghanistan, Armenia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Montenegro, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Serbia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and select airports in the U.S.

The U.S. airports include:

  • Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Orlando (MCO)

Anyone originating from California, Florida and Texas connecting onto an Emirates flight at an airport not listed above will also be subjected to this on-arrival testing requirement too.

Until Aug. 1, select travelers must carry a negative PCR certificate issued by a “local government approved laboratory” to fly. These certificates must be issued no more than 96 hours prior to departure. The on-arrival testing requirement only begins on Aug. 1.

Review: Emirates A380 business class from New York to Dubai

Many airlines have focused on emphasizing health and cleaning initiatives, and some in the U.S. have even established health advisory panels to highlight these health-related commitments to passengers. Going beyond these actions, Emirates is slated to become the first global airline to require an absolute proof of negative coronavirus test results regardless of the final destination. Before this new policy, testing requirements have so far been part of a country’s reopening strategy to tourists.

Related: Dubai is reopening, and this is what you have to know

The requirements come after 55 passengers who traveled on Emirates flights from Pakistan in June later tested positive for coronavirus. 26 of them were connecting through Dubai to Hong Kong, where testing upon arrival is required.

More: Emirates to bring back on-the-ground premium experience

Ferrying individuals who have the virus may complicate any airline’s relationship with the country of destination. In early June, Greece had issued a de facto ban on Qatar Airways from flying into the country because several passengers tested positive for coronavirus upon arrival. For a carrier like Emirates that traditionally depends on connecting traffic, the new policy can be seen as a critical move to reassure the nations that it serves as it is slowly resuming flights to more cities.

The airline has already established several safety protocols in addition to the testing rule such as mandating face mask usage on board and providing hygiene kits. It also tried to conduct rapid testing at Dubai Airport before departure, only to find it producing highly inaccurate results.

Related: Emirates plans to bring back all A380s by 2022

This story, which was originally published on July 11, 2020, has been updated on July 26, 2020, to reflect the latest updates of coronavirus test requirements on Emirates flights.

Brian Kim contributed reporting.

Featured photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy

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