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Emirates announces it will end all flights – then changes its mind

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EDIT: Emirates has changed its mind again.  It now looks as if all passengers services, including the UK, WILL be suspended from Wednesday.

The Middle Eastern airlines have, so far, been doing their best to carry on as usual during the coronavirus crisis.

Because they are essentially transit-driven airlines, with Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports acting primarily as huge bus stations, there was no single event which forced them to close.  Even when the UAE and Qatar blocked entry to tourists, the airlines carried on flying between whatever city pairs were still allowing travellers to enter.

Demand was dropping by the day, however, and on Sunday Emirates decided it had had enough.  It announced that all flights, except for cargo, would end on Wednesday 25th March.

A few hours later, the airline made a surprising about-face, apparently as a result of Government requests.  It said:

Having received requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travellers, Emirates will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to the following countries and territories until further notice, as long as borders remain open, and there is demand: the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada. The situation remains dynamic, and travellers can check flight status on

For a while at least, Emirates will remain an option for travelling between various countries where direct flights may have ceased.

The full statement is on the Emirates website here.

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (February 2024)

Emirates Skywards does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Emirates Skywards miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (29)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Lady London says:

    Good to hear about Hilton Syon Park being used for the Hospital that is almost opposite.

  • Dawn says:

    Can’t believe this. Had an email this morning saying Emirates were not operating after 25th. We have booked on Sat 28th from Brisbane – Dubai – London. The Flight Centre told us the only flight we can get will be Brisbane – Sydney – Tokyo – Heathrow tomorrow. But the flight can’t be ticketed until the Flight Centre in UK open. They are trying to send us on Qantas metal at all times even if flights are available. I’m now going to try and keep our existing flights on Saturday as it’s far more preferable to go from Brisbane/Dubai/London than the other routing and older planes. Any advice please?

    • Mike P says:

      Advice, take whatever flight routing and metal you can and get to the UK as quickly as possible if you want to travel at all. Worrying about older planes and exact routing is futile at this stage. This is a fast evolving and volatile situation and if you leave it much longer, you may well not be able to fly at all.

      • Roger says:


        Anyone stranded anywhere should just get the hell out and come back home ASAP.

      • Harry T says:

        I agree with Mike, unless you have Australian citizenship and somewhere to live permanently.

    • Tom says:

      Why are you still there?

      Should’ve done this a week ago at least.

      Crazy to ignore the situation.

      • Dawn says:

        We had changed our flights a week ago as soon as we were advised to but since then the rules have changed twice and the flights we’d booked can’t now fly.
        They were just re-instating our flights when the Emirates flight status have now been changed again and now they are not flying out of Australia from 25th March even though our flight is still showing on the websites. The Tokyo flight is now full as she was trying to change back to the Dubai flight. Only option now we are being offered is 1st class on Qatar out of Melbourne. or Etihad out of Brisbane…. £5K each
        We have a place to stay here if we are stranded so that’s not an issue but we were trying to follow government advice etc.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Emirates said they will keep flying to Aus, is the flight confirmed as cancelled on their website?

          I’m guessing the news yesterday panicked people into rebooking before the u-turned and reinstated some flights.

          Would look at what’s still showing for sale on the emirates website and go from there.

          • Dawn says:

            On Qantas website the original booking (it’s a QF Codeshare) is showing that the flight still goes on 28th March from Brisbane to Dubai and Dubai to London.
            On Emirates website it still shows the Dubai – LHR leg.
            But the Emirates website now doesn’t mention flights are still coming to/from Australia as it said earlier.
            I told the Flight Centre that the flight seems to still be booked but they said Emirates changed their policy a second time a couple of hours ago and now is not flying after 25th March.
            They tried to get me other flights but any connections going through Dubai they said weren’t possible if it was longer than a few hours. I really don’t know if I’m being told the truth or not. So now the only option they can give us is the 1st class with Qatar from Melbourne. We have insurance with Nationwide Flex plus who said we can claim up to £5k per person. Is this the best avenue or the AMEX insurance as we used the BA AMEX card? I’ve not had to claim before.

        • Lady London says:

          You don’t have to pay for class changes if you are being rerouted – a reason to insist on being reticketed (=rerouted) by the airline that operated your cancelled flight (assuming your booking qualified under EU261).

          Though I do agree time is of the essence now.

          • Lady London says:

            Take the QR MEL quick if it’s being offered if you or insurance co have readies to pay if it’s not being offered as ticketed reroute under EU261 and sort out claims/reimbursement later if you can/have to pay.

            Look on the bright side – there will not be many opportunities to fly from Oz to Eur 1st class on many aurlines for a while …

          • Dawn says:

            We tried the re-routing etc with Qantas but all flights booked and countries closing borders meant nothing else on offer. So we’re leaving tomorrow from Melbourne and the Qatar flight – have Q suite so guess gives me a chance to try it out as it’s always been a dream of mine! We’ll sort the refund for the Qantas side plus the insurance on the £10K we’ve just paid out when we get back. We took the flights offered because otherwise we had to wait until UK opened for them to sort out the ticketing and we didn’t want to risk waiting any longer.

  • Neil says:

    This morning it has been announced that airports in UAE – including DXB and AUH – will close to arrival, departure and transit passengers for 2 weeks from Wednesday. So it looks like even the limited number of Emirates flights will stop

  • The Original David says:

    I’d think it substantially more likely that IHG have donated a Holiday Inn Express than an Indigo…

  • Rob Mc says:

    OT – Marriott status dropped overnight from titanium elite to gold (have done 39 nights this year. No soft landing or extension status.

    • Stu287 says:

      Same here… titanium to gold over night. Hope it’s a mistake as I had planned on platinum for the next 12 months.

      • Donny says:

        Same here. Seems no mistake as Marriott has changed their policy overnight. Not happy as I still have 400K points left and got email from them last year confirming I would be platinum this year.

    • Jamie says:

      First world problems.

    • N says:

      Same. Not happy really but not sure what can be done about it

    • Pangolin says:

      Why not post this on the Chat page? The info has already been posted and discussed there.

  • marcw says:

    Incredible how HfP hasn’t changed this article. It’s misleading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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