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Here’s some good news if you’re traveling through Dubai any time soon: Emirates has brought back its popular Dubai Connect package for customers transiting through Dubai International Airport (DXB).
Qualifying passengers receive a free night at a four or five-star hotel, one free meal and ground transportation to and from the airport. This is undoubtedly a response to the drop in tourism caused by the global pandemic. With fewer tourists coming to Dubai for vacation, tapping into transiting passengers is one way to drum up tourism.
Travelers who choose to take advantage of this offer can get a UAE visa on arrival. Dubai also has testing requirements, which vary, depending on where you’re coming from. Most passengers need to present a negative PCR test taken up to 96 hours before arrival. Meanwhile, travelers from Germany and the UK can take a free COVID test at Dubai Airport.
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Who qualifies for Dubai Connect?
Emirates passengers in all cabin classes who have a stopover of 10-24 hours qualify for Dubai Connect. Bookings made through a travel agent are also eligible. Fares must be on Emirates-operated flights, including ones marketed by Qantas. Codeshare flights are not eligible, with the exception of EK5000 and QF8000.
Keep in mind that the Dubai Connect package is only available if you’re booking the shortest connection time possible. In other words, you can’t just book the flight with the longest layover if there is a shorter one available.
As for hotels, you’ll likely be put up at the Copthorne or the Le Méridien Airport Hotel Dubai. Both are very nice hotels close to Dubai Airport.
If you’re unable to leave the airport, you can still access the Dubai Connect airport lounge during your layover, free of charge.
Related: Where Americans can travel right now
How to book a Dubai Connect package
To book your free accommodations, you’ll need to book a qualifying Emirates flight. Then head over o the Dubai Connect page and provide your travel information (booking number, name, etc.). You will then receive instructions for booking your free hotel and ground transportation.
Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery
The Dubai Connect package is the latest effort on behalf of Emirates to drum up business in a global pandemic. In July, Emirates became the first airline to offer free COVID-19 travel insurance, providing peace of mind for travelers who are concerned about getting sick during their journey.
While Dubai has remained open for tourism, global travel demand is still way down and airlines like Emirates are in survival mode. By offering free hotel stays and ground transportation, Emirates may appeal to travelers looking for more value. The Dubai Connect package also encourages transiting passengers to spend money outside the airport and make up for lost tourism revenue.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
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