Emirates confirmed on Sunday that it is still trying to sell tickets for a sightseeing ‘flight to nowhere’ that only passengers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are allowed to enjoy. Tickets remain available a full seven days after first being put on sale for what has been billed as a one-off flight to celebrate the UAE’s successful vaccination rollout.
In a bid to convince more passengers to book a seat on the flight, Emirates said on Sunday that it would even give passengers booked in Economy Class complimentary access to the airline’s Business Class lounge in Dubai, as well as 20 per cent off Duty Free purchases.
In contrast, the Australian flag carrier Qantas completely sold out of tickets for a seven-hour ‘flight to nowhere’ in just 10 minutes last September. The airline has since had success selling themed ‘flights to somewhere’ and mystery flight experiences.
The cheapest ticket for Emirates’ two and a half hour flight around the UAE will set passengers back 1,000 AED ($272) for an Economy Class seat, while the 76 Business Class seats are double the price at 2,000 AED per person.
Emirates has around 470 seats to fill on the doubledeck Airbus A380 aircraft being used for the flight. The airline didn’t say how many seats were still available.
Emirates flight EK2021 will depart Dubai International Airport (DXB) at midday on April 10 and land back right where it started just two and a half hours later after taking in some of the iconic sights of the UAE including the Burj Khalifa and Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Only passengers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can secure a seat on the flight, although Emirates says everyone onboard must continue to wear a face mask and practice social distancing. All passengers will also be subjected to a Coronavirus test on arrival at Dubai International Airport.
As well as celebrating the UAE’s wider success in inoculating its population, Emirates says the flight is meant to celebrate the airline’s success in offering staffers the vaccine.
Around 85 per cent of the airline’s pilots and cabin crew have received both doses of the vaccine, while employees who choose not to get vaccinated are required to take regular PCR tests to prove their negative status.
The UAE has steamed ahead with its vaccination programme, administering around 86 doses per 100 people according to the latest stats provided by Our World in Data. In comparison, Qatar has administered 30 shots per 100 people, while the United States has administered nearly 48 shots per 100 people.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.