Next month, Emirates will operate a special flight available only to crewmembers and passengers who have been vaccinated. Is Emirates laying the groundwork for vaccine-only flights?
Emirates Offers Sightseeing Flight Only Available To Vaccinated Passengers
In celebration of the progress the United Arab Emirates has made in vaccinating passengers, on April 10th Emirates will operate EK2021, a three hour flight to nowhere. At midday, an Airbus A380 will take off from Dubai International Airport and complete a sightseeing journey before returning to Dubai.
Emirates promises the usual amenities will be available onboard:
From the award-winning ice inflight entertainment experience, to the iconic A380 Onboard Lounge service for Business and First Class passengers, from a full-course gourmet meal in all classes to the friendly Emirates cabin crew, flyers can expect the full Emirates experience onboard this special flight.
Passengers must present their UAE ID or passport and vaccination certificate in order to board (paper or electronic). Passengers must also wear masks onboard and take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test prior to boarding.
Tickets will only be available to UAE citizens and residents and can only be booked via:
- Emirates contact centre
- Emirates ticketing offices
- Travel agents
Emirates is only selling economy and business class tickets:
- AED 1,000 – economy class
- AED 2,000 – business class
The A380 will have both first class and premium economy and it is not clear how Emirates will allocate those seats.
T&Cs of the special flight here. All fares will be donated to charity.
Might We See Vaccine Restrictions On “Real” Flights?
Perhaps Emirates is testing the water here to see if offering actual vaccine-only flights will be feasible in the future. Flights which require each person to be vaccinated will be controversial, for the same reason some seek exemptions over obligatory masks. Still, the easier access to flights and international destinations will likely move some on the fence toward the vaccine if it means a quicker return to normalcy.
We’ve seen flights to nowhere from many carriers and now Emirates is offering one of its own. If you’re in the UAE, book this fast as I expect it will sell out later today.
But I must admit I am having trouble figuring out why masks are required on a flight in which everyone is both tested and vaccinated…
(H/T: Paddle You Own Kanoo)