Emirates expands list of destinations served to 29 cities as UAE starts accepting transit passengers again
Middle East carrier Emirates will commence flights to an additional 16 cities starting 15 Jun, as the country starts opening up its airport to transit passengers again, paving the way for connecting passengers between Asia and the rest of the world.
At the height of the coronavirus situation, the airline maintained a handful of destinations from UAE, although these links mainly serve foreigners who with to leave UAE and return to their home countries.
Full list of destinations served from mid June
Since this week, Emirates has begun slowly reintroducing flights to some destinations, including Pakistan, the Philippines, with the largest lot of 16 other cities from 15 Jun. The full list of destinations that Emirates will serve after 15 Jun, is as follow:
|From 8 Jun||Lahore|
|From 11 Jun||Manila|
|From 15 Jun||Hong Kong|
|New York JFK|
Emirates operating to Singapore three times a week in June; more in July
From Singapore, Emirates will be operating three times weekly to Dubai, with the first flight departing Dubai for Singapore on 17 Jun, and returning on 18 Jun.
|Sector||Flight no.||Days of ops||Dep||Arr||Flight time||Aircraft|
|Singapore – Dubai||EK353||Thu, Sat, Sun||0050||0415||7h 25m||Boeing 777-300ER|
|Dubai – Singapore||EK352||Wed, Fri, Sat||1025||2200||7h 35m||Boeing 777-300ER|
In the month of July, this goes up to eight flights a week for the first half of the month, before bumping up to twice daily for the remainder of the month.
|Sector||Flight no.||Days of ops||Dep||Arr||Flight time||Aircraft|
|Singapore – Dubai||EK353||See below||0050||0415||7h 25m||Boeing 777-300ER|
|EK355||See below||2140||0050(+1)||7h 10m||Boeing 777-300ER|
|Dubai – Singapore||EK354||See below||0305||1500||7h 55m||Boeing 777-300ER|
|EK352||See below||0920||2055||7h 35m||Boeing 777-300ER|
The dates which all the flights will be operating in July, as shown in the calendar below:
Emirates will be operating its Boeing 777-300ER to Singapore for the time being – at least until the end of July. While the aircraft does not have the famous in-flight bar or the first class showers found on the A380s, Emirates will be operating the newest versions of its 777s, featuring the brand-new first class suites.
The downside to this aircraft is the seat configuration in business class, laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration, which means that there’s always a chance in getting a middle seat. Having said that, I highly doubt all the seats will be taken up during this time, so if I’m travelling during this period of time, I’ll be less worried about social distancing.
Not all destinations can be connected from Singapore – at least for June
Given the limited days of week that Emirates is operating into Singapore in June, connections are only possible to the following:
|Destination||From Singapore||To Singapore|
|Amsterdam||1x weekly||1x weekly (overnight connection)|
|Copenhagen||1x weekly||1x weekly (overnight connection)|
|Dublin||1x weekly||No connection|
|Frankfurt||3x weekly||3x weekly (overnight connection)|
|London-Heathrow||3x weekly||3x weekly|
|Paris||3x weekly||3x weekly (overnight connection)|
|Madrid||1x weekly (7hr connection)||1x weekly (7hr connection)|
|Milan||2x weekly||1x weekly (overnight connection)|
|Vienna||3x weekly||1x weekly (overnight connection)|
|Zurich||2x weekly||3x weekly (overnight connection)|
|Chicago||1x weekly||1x weekly (overnight connection)|
|New York JFK||2x weekly||2x weekly (overnight connection)|
|Toronto||No connection||1x weekly (22hr connection)|
The connections will significantly improve when July rolls around, with most connections available at least three days a week, although some long connection remains.
As you can see from the table above, the connections aren’t ideal in the few couple of weeks. Given Emirates’ scheduling of having all European flights departing Dubai in the mornings, you are looking at a minimum three-hour connection when you depart from Singapore. On the return flight it’s worse: practically every flight will require an overnight (at least 10 hours) connection in Dubai.
But then again, these services are meant for essential travel at the moment and not for mass travel, so if you really need to fly, the wait will matter not as much, but note that the Emirates lounges will be closed (at least for now).
Emirates suspended services to Singapore since March
The Middle East kingdom has banned visitors since mid-March, as well as forbidding citizens from travelling overseas.
Emirates has previously flew to Dubai four times daily, and also operates two daily fifth freedom services to Melbourne and Brisbane respectively. The Melbourne service was suspended on 22 Mar, while flights to Dubai was also suspended slightly more than a week later.
Unrelated to Covid-19, Emirates has applied last year to end the Singapore-Brisbane service on 30 Mar, but end date was brought forward to 14 Mar instead.
What to expect pre-flight and in-flight?
Emirates has also announced a comprehensive list of changes to its pre-, in- and post-flight experience, including:
- Chauffeur drive: Emirates has suspended its chauffeur drive service around the world until July 2020.
- Lounges: All lounges worldwide are closed until further notice.
- In-flight meals experience:
- Special meals: A limited range of special meals can still be pre-ordered online 48 hours before flight. No children’s meal will be available in economy.
- Menu cards: A single-use menu will be provided in business and first; no menus in economy.
- Meal service: While business class and first class will still get multi-course dine on-demand meal services, Executive Traveller has reported that meals will be pre-plated and served on tray, and some items such as bread and crackers will be plastic wrapped
- Alcoholic beverage service: Welcome drink only in first class; no more cocktails in business and first class (mixed drinks still available); Only wine & beer available in economy.
- Wifi: No free wifi for the time being. Wifi is still available for purchase.
- Duty-free shopping: Not available
- Children’s kit: Not available
- Newspapers & magazines: Not available
- Live TV: Not available
The resumption of Emirates services to Singapore is yet another encouraging sign of recovery. I won’t hold my breath in waiting for the A380s to return, given that the Boeing 777-300ERs that Emirates is operating is good enough any day.
During this time, many airlines will understandably operate with significant modifications to their services in response to the threat of infection. While some changes – such as in-flight dining changes – erode the magical experience of flying even further, these changes are essential to instil confidence in air travel at least for now.
Having said that, my view is that this might be a good time for airlines to fully re-evaluate what’s truly necessary, even in premium cabins, and do their part in reducing waste in many areas, particularly around magazines, newspapers and even menu cards. In the long run, this episode might yield some positive results for airlines, customers and god knows, even the earth.