Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 14 July 2020

Emirates and Etihad in-air distancing tactics: no online check-in or seat selection

Travellers flying out of Dubai and Abu Dhabi will be allocated socially-distanced seats

Travellers set to fly out of the UAE on special repatriation flights will not be able to check-in online ahead of departure, or select their seats for travel.

Emirates is selling tickets for special service flights online, but the Dubai airline will not allow passengers to check-in online or choose their own seats. Instead, seating will be assigned by Emirates crew at the airport in order to follow physical distancing rules in the air.

Emirates is currently operating repatriation flights from Dubai to London, Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich. Emirates advises passengers to check requirements for their destination country via the International Air Transport Association's website before booking these flights.

The airline will also operate a reduced meal service, with special meals not available during the time when regular passenger flights in and out of the UAE are grounded,

Etihad to allocate seats by social-distancing rules

Etihad will allocate seats following best practice for social distancing on repatriation flights out of Abu Dhabi. Travellers should check-in at the airport, not online. Courtesy Etihad
Etihad will allocate seats following best practice for social distancing on repatriation flights out of Abu Dhabi

Etihad is operating its special services with a similar approach. Passengers can book repatriation flights on the Etihad website, but travellers flying from Abu Dhabi will need to complete check-in at the airport.

Seats will also be allocated by Etihad staff in order to give people as much space as possible from other passengers.

"This will help us to follow social distancing guidelines as closely as possible, and make sure you stay safe while you travel with us," said Etihad on its website.

Etihad is currently operating repatriation flights to Amsterdam, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Jakarta and Melbourne.

Reminder: gloves and face masks must be worn

Emirates has reminded travellers that they must wear a face mask and gloves in order to guarantee boarding for their flight during this time.

This follows a directive from the government in Dubai advising that masks must be worn at all times outside the home.

US airline blocks middle seats

American airline Delta has blocked middle seats on all its Economy and Premium Economy flights to implement social distancing for passengers. Courtesy Delta Air Lines
American airline Delta has blocked middle seats on all its Economy and Premium Economy flights to implement social distancing for passengers. Courtesy Delta Air Lines

Delta, America's largest airline, has laid out its new in-flight social distancing policy.

From April 13 until May 31, Delta has blocked all middle seats in Economy and Premium Economy class cabins on all flights.

Passengers can check in and select seats online, but the number of travellers on each flight will be reduced. Travellers that want to sit next to family members need to inform Delta ahead of travel.

Delta continues to fly within the US and internationally to Amsterdam, South Korea, Japan, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

Updated: April 9, 2020 10:48 AM

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