an airplane flying over water

Throughout the global pandemic, airlines have looked for silver linings, with few and far between. One such silver lining, as reported just weeks ago, managed to hardly feel a scratch, with one airline alone sending up to 7 Airbus A380’s per day, between Dubai and London Heathrow Airport.

The route quickly became the busiest in the world, but a major move from the United Kingdom means it’s not operating, at all. At the moment, there’s no indication as to when it will be reinstated.


UK Bans UAE Flights

The UK has taken a tangental course to its covid-19 response, to put it politely. But now, the island nation is drawing attention left and right, with a raft of new measures which purport to help stop the emergence of variants into the UK.

One such measure involves 10 days of enforced hotel quarantine, much like what arrivals into Australia and other APAC areas face, including bearing the brunt of the costs, which are estimated to be at least $1200 for a room. And yes, that’s mandatory.

In a move perhaps few saw coming though, the UK also added an overnight, outright ban on direct flights between the UK and the UAE, leaving thousands scrambling to find flights ‘home’ to the UK via random cities, and facing unknowns at the border.

For many UK “influencers” in Dubai, today is a very, very bad day.

Flight Ban Details

From Friday, January 29th, the UK will enact a ban on direct flights from the UAE. UK officials purport that this will slow the spread of variants from South Africa. Other Gulf neighbors which benefit from just as much through traffic of connecting passengers did not receive such a ban.

The ban states that no flights may ferry passengers directly between the two countries, and anyone who’s been in Dubai in the last 10 days is not allowed to enter, with the exception of British nationals, nationals of Ireland (Rep.), or a resident of the United Kingdom.

If none of those apply to you, you can’t have been in the UAE within the last 10 days, if you wish to enter the UK, until further notice. You can confirm the exact details and other UK border updates at the IATA Travel Tool, the official resource used by most airlines to validate passengers.

Photo of Emirates a380 flying

How Long Will The UAE-UK Ban Last?

The ban on UAE flights does not have a termination date, of yet, but UAE officials will undoubtedly be ringing the lines of 10 Downing Street today, to understand just what exactly is going on, and how it can be helped.

It’s absolutely possible that the outright ban could be lifted in a matter of days, once hotel quarantine measures are more concrete, or that it could last until the end of the national lockdown currently imposed in the UK. Travel to other destinations remains on an essential basis only, for noted exceptions.

On the news, it’s likely that Jeddah – Cairo could overtake Dubai – London as the world’s busiest route, with Seoul – Tokyo; or Paris to Pointe-A-Pitre as likely other contenders on the world’s busiest flight list. Let’s hope spring brings better news.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I had good time flying Emirates from Australia to UAE on the
    Boeing 777 a nice 17 hour flight then change to a Emirates Airbus A380 from UAE to London 7 hour flight, to me it was an experience and on the way back it was Qantas Airbus A380 to Melbourne but we change planes in UAE, then continue on to Melbourne,.

  2. The Asian community was having a good time in Dubai over the Christmas period and said said most hotel s in Dubai weren’t bothered about covid because they had lost a lot already with tourists.
    Now they will be bothered

  3. Having seen z-list celebrities bragging about getting vaccinated and showing off their sponsor’s money in crass overpriced restaurants eating gold crusted steaks served by a cringe inducing celebrity chefs… I have little sympathy.

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