Grounded: Emirates suspends all flights from 25 March

One of the world’s largest international airlines is cancelling all flights for at least two weeks.

By David Flynn , March 23 2020
Grounded: Emirates suspends all flights from 25 March

Emirates will stop all flights as of Wednesday March 25, following a UAE-wide ban on all passenger flights into and out of the country, and passenger transits though the nation's airports, including the Dubai mega-hub.

The lockdown, announced this morning by the UAE's Civil Aviation Authority, will take effect from 11.59pm on March 25 (local time) and be in place for two weeks, with exemptions for emergency evacuation flights and cargo services.

"As per the UAE Government's directive, Emirates will temporarily suspend all passenger services for two weeks starting from 25 March 2020," the airline said in a statement issued this afternoon. "These measures are in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, and we hope to resume services as soon as possible."

Emirates had previously planned to strip its globe-spanning network down to barely a dozen countries this week, although it reversed an overnight ruling to halt all passenger flights within the next three days.

Prior to the stringent UAE restrictions being announced, the Gulf colossus said it would continue passenger flights to Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, the UK and the USA.

That represented a staggering contraction of Emirates' worldview compared to December 2019, which saw the airline making over 3,500 flights per week to 159 destinations, and underscores the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has sent passenger numbers plummeting at the same time as countries put up their borders and advise people not to travel.

At the time of writing Emirates has not published a revised schedule beyond that which Executive Traveller shared yesterday (see below), and suggests that as "the situation remains dynamic," passengers should check the emirates.com website.

No refund for Emirates flight cancellations

Emirates advises that passengers affected by these cancellations, and holding a ticket issued on or before 31st March, can

  • request to be rebooked onto alternative flights "within the ticket validity without fee", although it notes an "applicable fare difference, if any, may apply"
  • request a travel voucher for the value of the ticket, with a validity of 12 months from the date of issue, to be used as credit against any future Emirates booking

There's currently no option for having the cost of your ticket refunded instead of being issued with credit against a future flight.

"Affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates office to request a travel voucher," Emirates advises. "Customers who booked directly with Emirates can visit the Travel Voucher webpage and add 'Refund request due to Coronavirus' in the comments section. Customers who booked with a travel agent must contact them for a rebooking and/or travel vouchers."

PREVIOUS [March 22, 2020] Emirates has slashed over a hundred destinations from its extensive international network, in a move that's also expected to see the bulk of its 115-strong Airbus A380 fleet grounded as the coronavirus undermines global travel demand.

As both the world's largest international airline and the largest operator of the double-decker Airbus A380, the Gulf colossus has proven especially vulnerable to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as passenger numbers plummet and an increasing number of countries lock down their borders.

In Australia and New Zealand, Emirates is suspending flights to Melbourne (both direct and via Singapore), Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland (both direct and via Bali), as well as the Dubai-Sydney-Christchurch service.

All flights to New York will vanish by March 24, followed by Paris, Edinburgh, Geneva, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco.

Here is the full list, accurate as of March 22, 2020:

  • Abidjan (via Accra): From 21 March – 20 May
  • Abuja: From 23 March – until further notice
  • Accra: From 21 March – 20 May
  • Adelaide: From 23 March – 20 May
  • Ahmedabad: From 23 March – 28 March
  • Algiers: From 18 March – 20 May
  • Amman: From 17 March – 30 April
  • Athens: From 23 March- 30 June
  • Auckland (via Bali): From 29 March – 30 June
  • Auckland: From 29 March – 30 June
  • Baghdad: From 17 March – 30 April
  • Bali: From 29 March – 30 June
  • Bangkok–Hong Kong: From 9 March – 20 May
  • Barcelona: From 20 March - 20 May
  • Basra: From 17 March – 30 April
  • Beirut: From 17 March – 30 April
  • Bengaluru: From 23 March – 28 March
  • Bologna: From 13 March – 20 May
  • Brisbane: From 29 March – 30 June
  • Brussels: From 26 March – 30 June
  • Budapest: From 13 March – 20 May
  • Buenos Aires (via Rio de Janeiro): From 25 March – 20 May
  • Cairo: From 19 March – 30 June
  • Casablanca: From 16 March – 30 June 
  • Cebu/Clark: From 29 March- 30 June
  • Chennai: From 22 March – 28 March
  • Chicago: From 27 March – 30 June
  • Christchurch (via Sydney): From 29 March – 30 June
  • Cochin: From 23 March – 28 March
  • Colombo (via Male): From 23 March – 30 June
  • Conakry: From 22 March – 19 May
  • Dakar (via Conakry): From 22 March – 19 May
  • Dammam: From 09 March – 30 April
  • Delhi: From 22 March – 28 March
  • Dhaka: From 22 March – 31 March
  • Dubai–Colombo: From 19 March – 25 March.
  • Dubai–Hanoi: From 18 March – 22 March.
  • Dubai–Ho Chi Minh: From 18 March – 24 March.
  • Dubai–Mauritius: From 20 March – 2 April. 
  • Durban: From 24 March – 20 May
  • Dusseldorf: From 23 March – until further notice
  • Edinburgh: From 25 March – 30 June
  • Fort Lauderdale: From 13 March – 30 June
  • Frankfurt: From 23 March – until further notice
  • Geneva: From 23 March – 30 June
  • Guangzhou: From 05 February – 30 April
  • Hamburg: From 23 March – until further notice
  • Hanoi: From 23 March – 30 June
  • Harare (via Lusaka): From 20 March – 20 May
  • Ho Chi Minh: From 25 March – 30 June
  • Houston: From 27 March – 30 June
  • Hyderabad: From 22 March – 28 March
  • Islamabad: From 22 March – until further notice
  • Istanbul (IST): From 17 March – 20 May
  • Istanbul (SAW): From 17 March – 20 May
  • Jeddah: From 16 March – 30 April
  • Kabul: From 26 March – 30 June
  • Karachi: From 22 March – until further notice
  • Khartoum: From 18 March – 20 May
  • Kolkata: From 23 March – 28 March
  • Kuwait City: From 14 March – 30 April
  • Lagos: From 23 March – until further notice
  • Larnaca: From 17 March – 20 May
  • Lahore: From 22 March – until further notice
  • Lisbon: From 19 March – 30 April
  • London Stansted: From 25 March – 30 June
  • Luanda: From 22 March – 20 May
  • Lusaka: From 20 March – 20 May
  • Lyon: From 23 March – until further notice
  • Madrid: From 18 March – 20 May
  • Malta (via Larnaca): From 17 March – 20 May
  • Medina: From 05 March – 30 April
  • Melbourne (via Singapore): From 23 March – 20 May
  • Melbourne: From 29 March – 30 June
  • Mexico City (via Barcelona): From 20 March – 20 May
  • Milan: From 15 March – 20 May
  • Moscow: From 30 March – 30 June
  • Mumbai: From 22 March – 28 March
  • Munich: From 23 March – until further notice
  • Muscat: From 22 March – 05 April
  • New York EWR (via Athens): From 13 March – 20 May
  • New York EWR: From 24 March – until further notice
  • New York JFK (via Milan): From 11 March – 20 May
  • New York JFK: From 24 March – until further notice
  • Newcastle: From 25 March – 30 June
  • Nice: From 23 March – until further notice
  • Orlando: From 24 March – 30 June
  • Osaka: From 26 March – 30 June
  • Oslo: From 28 March – 30 June
  • Paris: From 23 March – until further notice
  • Peshawar: From 22 March – until further notice
  • Phnom Penh (via Bangkok): From 29 March – 30 June
  • Phuket: From 29 March – 30 June
  • Porto: From 17 March – 20 May
  • Prague: From 25 March – 30 June
  • Rio de Janeiro: From 25 March – 20 May
  • Riyadh: From 16 March – 30 April
  • Rome: From 15 March – 20 May
  • Saint Petersburg: From 30 March – 30 June
  • San Francisco: From 29 March – 30 June
  • Santiago (via Rio de Janeiro): From 25 March – 20 May
  • Shanghai: From 05 February – 30 April
  • Sialkot: From 22 March – until further notice
  • Stockholm: From 26 March – 30 June
  • Taipei: From 16 March – 20 May
  • Tehran: From 26 February – 30 April
  • Trivandrum: From 22 March – 28 March
  • Tunis: From 18 March – 20 May
  • Venice: From 12 March – 20 May
  • Vienna: From 23 March – 30 June
  • Warsaw: From 15 March – 20 May

Emirates advises that passengers affected by these cancellations, and holding a ticket issued on or before 31st March, can

  • request to be rebooked onto alternative flights "within the ticket validity without fee", although it notes an "applicable fare difference, if any, may apply"
  • request a travel voucher for the value of the ticket, with a validity of 12 months from the date of issue, to be used as credit against any future Emirates booking

"Affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates office to request a travel voucher," Emirates advises. "Customers who booked directly with Emirates can visit the Travel Voucher webpage and add 'Refund request due to Coronavirus' in the comments section. Customers who booked with a travel agent must contact them for a rebooking and/or travel vouchers."

The UAE has also closed its own borders to anybody who is not a citizen or a resident, suspended its "visa on arrival" program and even placed a temporary travel ban which prevents citizens from leaving the UAE as part of the continued effort to minimise the exposure and spread of coronavirus.

However, at the time of writing, passengers are still allowed to transit through Emirates' Dubai mega-hub.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Feb 2017

Total posts 10

Maybe need a list of what flights they are still running. Huge suspensions. Will they close some of the concourses?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 509

It seems Sydney and London Heathrow but only one flight a day to each if that.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 412

Perth isn't mention as cancelled, unless I missed it in the long list.

02 Feb 2016

Total posts 5

I presume if these flights are cancelled by the airline then the pax is entitled to a full cash refund?

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

Cathay Pacific is much better. I had 2 bookings with them in business class to Japan. They gave me full refund in 4 weeks due to flight cancellation. Emirates is not good enough. What happen if I am not going to flight in the next couple months. I will stick with Cathay Pacific in future.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

You “should” be entitled to a full cash refund, but the law doesn't always guarantee it unfortunately.

Depends where you purchase the ticket, which country you are flying to/from, and what fare type you are flying on.

Good Luck.

24 Mar 2020

Total posts 5

Consumer law does.

If you paid with credit card then dispute the transaction with the card issuer on the grounds

the product was paid for but not supplied / received.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 7

Thanks Wires, bought on a UK issued Visa CC so will take it up with them if I have any issues with Emirates.

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 3

as an EU resident (UK is still part of the EU at present) you have very good prescriptive remedies!
The Emirates fare conditions (easily gotten on their website) lay out all the T&Cs for EU residents
specifically what your remedies are if flights are delayed.. or cancelled

ps... it is a long read (I know, I read them!)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

It does depending on where you purchased the ticket and what country you are traveling to/from.

Yes, in Australia you can claim under Australian Consumer Law for tickets purchased in Australia.

But in other counties you may not have the same protection or same rights.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 7

Thanks so much for the advice. I will wait till Emirates email me to tell me officially that my flight is ccld before I start the refund request process.

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

Hi, have a cancelled flight to budapest on 22 april. Tried to request for refund or travel voucher online but with no success as it keeps displaying invalid ticket number even afger typing the correct ticket nimber when i booked directly. Cant get hold of anyone from local emirate phone team.Please help

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

Colleges from work said that they were on the phone for 6 hours before they got to speak to someone at emirates.

You are traveling to EU so you can get a refund under EU-261.

See the EU Commission advise here: https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/legislation/c20201830.pdf

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 7

Last September I booked two return flights on emirates.com, GLA-MEL departing 29 March, the cheapest seats available, non flexible as travelling to visit family and would not cancel or change dates. I'm sure there's a no-refund clause in the T's & C's, but except for the worldwide Covid 19 crisis, and the FCO advisory, and now Emirates suspending/cancelling my flight, can I legally insist on a cash refund for the original full ticket price paid, plus the extra paid for seat reservations? I don't want to accept a voucher as it may not be possible to use it during the 12 months it is valid for. It has been impossible to contact the airline by any means and their info is lacking in detail. Can anyone here advise on my best course of action? Many thanks in advance.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

See UK Civil Aviation Authority responce to Covid-19 and your right to refund here under EU261 as you booked ex UK here: https://www.caa.co.uk/Our-work/Newsroom/COVID-19/

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 7

Thanks planesa 380, I am so glad I found this forum.

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

I cancelled my booking and request for refund . But till now no response. Also I tried to contact Emirates call center million times ..No luck. Even I called their Dubai office but no response fron their end . As i book my ticket through their contact center so i sould reach them for my refund

Can sone one suggest me what to do next . It is not a professional or responsible behaviour what Emirates reacting now towards their customar

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

Unfortunately, it's up to Emirates and there conditions of carriage to decide when a refund is required and how long it will take them to get the money to you. Additionally as a UAE based carrier, the UAE civil aviation authority has to decide what appropriate terms are for to sell tickets, they have sided on the airlines side over consumer in this matter unfortunately.

Depending on where you purchased the ticket and what country you are traveling to/from, you might be able to claim under the local consumer protection laws (i.e. the EU).

Colleges from work said that they were on the phone for over 6 hours before they got to speak to someone at emirates.

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 3

.. use the online 'chat' that Emirates show on their webpage
Search for ' Ask Emirates' if you cannot see it in 'Contact'


Usually takes only a few minutes before an Emirates staffer picks up your chat request

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 7

Thanks Les4, I'll do that when I've been notified by Emirates that my flight has been ccld by them.

23 Mar 2020

Total posts 3

yeah... have to say the 'no refund bit' above in the article is a bit misleading

was meant to flying business out of Melbourne at 0600 tomorrow morning but this was attempted to be changed over the weekend, via an email from Emirates to 22.30pm Tuesday. Problem is.. that did not suit (as conneciting flight left 14 hours earlier!) and also, cannot fly as that is an Aust govt directive.

Finally, 4 attempts and about 5 hours got to speak to human. Was offered an 'open' ticket of 180 days validity initially
but asked they check the fare conditions of our 2 tix. After 5 mins, came back with....a full refund of out fares less USD$400 fee
and... any refund can take up to 12 weeks.

Refund is processing as I type this :)

24 Mar 2020

Total posts 5

I got through to Emirates on +971 42144444 by selecting menu options I was business/first.

Also they are responding to emails sent to [email protected]

Why the hell they don't have contact email addresses on their website is beyond me.


25 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

Hi, I have 5 pax reservation at $4,329 (business special fare purchased 8 months ago) per person ( $21,645) that was just cancelled by Emirates. We cannot reschedule this trip within 12 months. When I requested a full refund I was told we'd get $140.00 ($700) returned to our credit card. They are subtracting $2,565.00 per tix cancellation fee and $1,624 per ticket tax fee. Id lose $20,945. The ticket was purchase from US via the emirates.com website.

Any suggestions?

It seems crazy to me.

25 Mar 2020

Total posts 2

Same issue for me! Ridiculous how emirates won't waive cancellation fees! It's not something people can control!

24 Mar 2020

Total posts 5

Guess I will be in same boat then. I'm desperately trying to get my parents out of NZ

back to England and bought 2 x $8000 tickets 12 hours before they cancelled the flights.

That was 6 hours before they confirmed the flights were operating.

I will be claiming full refund (on the grounds of merchant fraud if needed) from

my credit card provider.

25 Mar 2020

Total posts 2

Emirates should allow people to cancel! This is not fair !


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