To say that travel is a big no-no during the current global goings-on would be just about the understatement of the century, omitting countless expletives about where people should be staying right now. Travel bans and lockdowns abound in most every country; right here at home, Egypt's airports have been closed since mid-March and, most recently, roads, resorts, and beaches are closed to curb long weekend travels amid the virus outbreak. However, there are some circumstances beyond people's control that force them to travel – be it repatriation, sick loved ones, or whatever else. Under these circumstances, there are plenty of question marks about what measures are currently in place across global airports to ensure that those traveling – passengers and crew alike – are not putting themselves and those around them at risk.
Cue Emirates Airlines, of course.
To no one's surprise, everybody's favourite luxury airline has become the first worldwide to conduct on-site COVID-19 testing for its passengers, with results available within 10 minutes.
See, told you – no one's surprised.
In collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and as part of its introduction of additional safety precautions, the airline tested passengers on a flight to Tunisia on April 15th before their departure from Dubai. Tests were done at the Group Check-in area of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, and results were good to go in 10 minutes. According to Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Officer, "We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, this will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates. The health and safety of staff and passengers at the airport remain of paramount importance.”
This comes as part of the airline's general enhancement of health and safety precautions amid the Coronavirus outbreak. For starters, there are now barriers installed at each of the airline's check-in desks, and gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers have been made mandatory for all airport employees. Hear that, world? Mandatory.
To accommodate passengers, in-flight food and entertainment options have been adjusted to minimize the risk of human interaction. Plus, instead of taking cabin baggage onto your flight, the only carry-on items allowed on Emirates flights are laptops, handbags, briefcases, and baby items. Anything else needs to get checked in, but the airline is actually adding the cabin baggage allowance to the customers' check-in baggage allowance so you're not inconvenienced by the process.
With repatriation flights, emergency travel, and some airports still open, it would be great to see similar initiatives across the globe.