Emirates Adds Coronavirus Test Requirement For Passengers

Filed Under: Emirates

Emirates will now require passengers departing from some airports to have proof of a negative coronavirus test before being allowed to get on a plane.

Emirates’ new coronavirus test requirement

For travel as of July 10, 2020, Emirates is requiring passengers originating from airports in a dozen countries (including the US) to get a coronavirus test before travel.

Specifically, passengers will have to carry a negative PCR certificate issued by a local government approved laboratory to be accepted on the flight, and the test certificate must be issued no more than 96 hours before departure. If the UAE government has specified a designated laboratory in a country, then that one must be used.

Travel from the following countries will be subjected to this new requirement:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Iran
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Russian Federation
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • USA

Specifically for the USA, only travel from the following gateways will require proof of test results:

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

On top of that, any passengers originating in California, Florida, or Texas, and connecting onto an Emirates flight, would need to adhere to this requirement.

Emirates is requiring negative PCR test results for travel

This is separate from country entry requirements

To my knowledge, Emirates has become the first major global airline to require passengers to get tested for coronavirus before travel.

Generally speaking coronavirus testing requirements are based around the country you’re traveling to, rather than the airline you’re flying. In other words, if you have to get tested before departure it’s generally because of a country requirement, rather than an airline requirement.

Dubai has once again opened to tourists as of July 7, and a condition of entry has been getting tested within 96 hours of travel, or otherwise getting a test on arrival. Now passengers from select countries will have to get tested before travel regardless of whether they intend to visit Dubai, or just connect there.

Dubai is requiring all visitors to get tested

This comes after Emirates has been in the news for carrying quite a few passengers who tested positive for coronavirus. For example, the airline operated a Dubai to Hong Kong flight where 26 passengers tested positive for coronavirus, and all had originated in Pakistan.

Back in April Emirates became the first airline to conduct rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport before departure, but it was later determined that this testing was highly inaccurate.

Back in April, Emirates did some rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport

Bottom line

Emirates is now requiring passengers traveling from a dozen countries to provide proof of a negative PCR test within 96 hours of departure. While countries around the world are asking visitors to get tested, we haven’t seen many airlines add such a requirement, regardless of the destination.

I certainly can’t blame Emirates, and this further reinforces what a challenge it can be to plan travel, with constantly changing rules (and that’s not even addressing whether or not someone should travel).

Do you think we’ll see more airlines add testing requirements for passengers?

Comments
  1. Out of interest, what’s the gap between being infected and a positive test result? We keep hearing about symptoms taking 2-14 days to emerge but I don’t think I’ve read anywhere about the gap between infection and showing a positive test result (before symptoms show up, if they ever do).

  2. Good luck with that, I’m still waiting on my results from June 29th here in San Mateo County (Home of SFO)

  3. Travel from the following countries will be subjected to this new requirement:

    Afghanistan
    Bangladesh
    Egypt
    India
    Iran
    Nigeria
    Pakistan
    Philippines
    Russian Federation
    Sudan
    Tanzania
    USA

    How proud the Trumpists must be – look at that exclusive list of five-star countries we’re in! Very special company we keep. But… no love for Brazil?

    So much winning!

  4. @Dick Bupkiss
    If you think that all the ‘Trumpists; are so stupid, than you should be happy that they are now effectively quarantined thanks to COVID-19(84) and can’t spread their worldview around other countries.

  5. “Out of interest, what’s the gap between being infected and a positive test result?” It takes a few days at least. Like 1 to 3 days before showing symptoms. With asymptomatic people the chances of a false negative increases. False positives are fairly rare, but false negatives can be rather frequent depending on the test and the way its conducted. Its not a bad idea but its not going to catch all the cases until we get better tests.

  6. This will simply mean that people will stop using Emirates flights

    E.g. in Karachi Pakistan, a city of 2p million people, Emirates has specified only ONE lab as the one they’ll accept results from. Clearly not a sustainable option.

    The result is everyone I know is cancelling their Emirates flight and using Qatar or Turkish instead.

  7. @B:
    …. you must know a lot of people?!
    (especially those, who like to take risks rather then be on the safe side if a test is a burden for safer travel!)
    If i want to fly to the US, i constantly need to invest first in a stupid thing called ESTA!
    It still doesn’t hold me (sorry, did not!) back from flying where i want to go.

  8. I am wondering how one is supposed to get results within 72, 96 hrs etc…. most testing centers around the country are taking longer than that. I post talking about this would be very helpful

  9. Surprising they introduced this with almost no notice!
    Good luck to the passengers flying tomorrow or in the next days from these countries on EK…

  10. Do folks know of actual testing locations in California, Texas, and Florida that provide tests for foreign nationals (I’m stuck in the USA) with such quick turnaround times?

    Most places seem to require a doctor’s referral.

  11. I won’t bother flying emirates until their cabin no longer looks like I’m being wheeled into surgery.

  12. This is no good in countries like India and Pakistan where one can send their servant to get tested and get a lab to issue a certificate on demand.

    All theatre.

  13. @bruno there’s barely any. Contrary to what the news is saying my friends at EK are saying load factors are around 25% if any. Stay home and stay safe – what rubbish news to post here. Emirates is firing thousands of staff yet this is what the discussion is about?

  14. It is not possible to get test results in the US for a molecular RT-PCR test from a CLIA qualified lab in 96 hours, which is what Emirates is requiring, as is Hawaiian Air (in 72 hours). It normally takes 6 days minimum to get test results, not 3 or 4 days.

  15. @peetyrd: my test result was back within 19 hours. Got tested @ 7 pm and the result was texted to me by 2 pm the next day

  16. Thanks to the ignorant people who are still spreading the virus in the states, the US is part of this illustrious group! Just simply embarrasing!

  17. Crazy solution this is!

    There will be virtually no PAX from Kabul where I am based. There are 000’s of military contractors waiting to leave the country eight no prospect of a PCR test being completed. I have a ticket for 9th August and hope this rule is dropped by then. Turkish Airlines will see their seats go up from Kabul and Emirates will see a drop for sure!

  18. @Dick Bupkiss If I had to guess I would say maybe they don’t fly from Brazil? No legitimate reason why brazil would be excluded from that list otherwise.

  19. Fyi…Its not the airline introducing all the restrictions and requirements its the uea goverment…

  20. @Anna – it is Emirates the Airline that has introduced this, not the UAE government.

    Emirates explained that quite clearly to me when they advised me i could use the national Afghan carrier to come to Dubai from Kabul and then take Emirates to Manchester.

    No other airline has this restriction for entering Dubai other than Emirates and its sister airline FlyDubai.

  21. Specifically, passengers will have to carry a negative PCR certificate issued by a local government approved laboratory to be accepted on the flight, and the test certificate must be issued no more than 96 hours before departure.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *