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UAE and Qatar removed from quarantine list – Middle East transits now possible

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Your travel planning got slightly easier on Thursday when Grant Shapps announced that a number of countries have been removed from the 14-day self isolation list.

These are:

  • Bahrain
  • Chile
  • Iceland
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • UAE
  • Qatar
  • Turks & Caicos Islands

From 4am on Saturday 14th November, anyone returning to England from these countries will NOT have to self isolate for fourteen days.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that all of the countries above are willing to let you in! In the case of the UAE, however, Dubai is happily accepting British tourists.

BA Holidays has launched a Dubai flash sale

BA Holidays has jumped in with a flash sale to Dubai, valid for travel up to November 2021.

Book by Wednesday 18th November to make the following additional savings:

  • £100 extra discount with a minimum spend of £2,500 per booking
  • £50 extra discount with a minimum spend of £1,500 per booking

Transit flights are now easier

Whilst Doha remains closed, I believe, this is excellent news for anyone planning to fly with Qatar Airways.

As Qatar is now on the corridor list, you can book a Qatar Airways flight back to the UK – connecting in Doha – and avoid quarantine as long as your starting point is also on the corridor list.

The same applies, obviously, for Emirates and Etihad, providing that you meet any local rules regarding transit flights.

There are only a few long haul destinations beyond the Middle East which would also not trigger quarantine. However, it does – for example – make it easier to get to the Maldives or Seychelles. Flying home via the UAE or Doha will not now trigger quarantine.

Let’s see if any of the Middle Eastern airlines decides to capitalise on this move with some strong UK deals in time for Christmas.

Greece has been added to the quarantine list

It’s not all good news. Mainland Greece has been added to the quarantine list.

This excludes Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos although you may struggle to find direct flights at this time of year. Anyone returning from elsewhere in Greece after 4am on Saturday will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Travel corridors update

The Government has not yet amended the list of countries exempt from the Foreign Office ‘do not travel’ list (click here, but the standalone list has been temporarily removed for the November lockdown).

The official ‘travel corridor’ list is on this page of the Government website.

Comments (78)

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

  • Jimmy Mac says:

    Why anyone would want to go to Dubai is beyond me. I had a one-night stopover there in 1998 and have no desire to ever return.

    • Chas says:

      A lot can change in any country in 22 years. In Dubai a lot can change in 2 years! I was there last NYEs having not been there since 2002, and had a great time.

    • Rob says:

      That’s genuinely amusing. I was there for work in 1997 for a while. It was about 20% of the size it is today with no decent hotels (we ended up in the Hyatt Regency on the creek).

    • Coucou says:

      2020 and Dubai is still meh. But I understand people want to be pretentious so… ¯\(°_o)/¯

    • eleanor hanna says:

      Dubai had less covid cases than the UK, it’s very warm, nice food, lovely hotels and beaches and much safer than the UK!!!!!!

    • ChrisW says:

      There’s a surprising amount of things to do there – it’s not just a 24 hour stopover destination. This time of year, if you’re looking for great weather, nice hotels, beaches and restaurants and extremely safe (ie for young families). Even if you have zero interest in shopping (I don’t) you could easily fill a week of things to do.

      For an easy beach holiday in a UK winter, if you don’t like the Canaries and the Caribbean is too far away, I can see the appeal.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Jimmy Mac I was there around same time give or take a year i prefer places that haven’t been over developed (Turkey in 60s was brilliant)
      I liked Dubai then can’t see us going again now full of hotels n tourists, same with rest of Europe (tourists have unfortunately caught up with travel Gr, been Greece a lot mostly different parts Hmm Spain Lloret twice when kids very young 33 years ago and a few years ago 3 week trip we do a regular stay in Sorrento same place but young couple that own it (Pamela looks after us (all guests) incredibly well Surriento Suites yes that’s correct spelling
      That’s why most people miss it wouldn’t be letting it out on here, but what with Covid and it will be a couple of years before we next go
      warning only 3 rooms all suites right at the beach book early

  • Graeme says:

    That’s when it was a one road village with more camels than people. I grew up there, and in Jeddah. I agree with some that it’s become a bit of a Las Vegas-esque theme park, playground for the rich and downright outlandish but for permanent sunshine, great food, generally friendly people, and hotel suites bigger than most homes, I find the new Dubai hard to beat. We’ve 3 weeks booked for Christmas, I imagine BA and others might be adding some extra seats now!

    • Denis says:

      Dubai is one of the best family destinations during winter. Booked 2 weeks for Christmas instead of Florida. Happy news reg quarantine-free, fingers x there is no extension to this so-called “lockdown”.

      • Graeme says:

        Yes, we love the Anna Maria area of Florida, and have been there twice at Christmas, but sadly it’s just not warm enough!!

    • Harry T says:

      Dubai is good fun and I can see why so many people enjoy it, especially when travelling with kids. It’s certainly not in any way similar to a culturally high brow European holiday, but perhaps that’s a good thing for some.

      • Anna says:

        What culturally high brow stuff have you been doing in Tenerife Harry T? 🤣

        • Colin MacKinnon says:

          Maybe going to the Pyramids of Guimar?

          Thor Heyerdahl was a schoolboy hero of mine!

          • Anna says:

            I went to university in Tenerife for a year so knew it pretty well at one time – most visitors don’t bother exploring beyond the coast though!

        • Harry T says:

          I’ve drank some very sophisticated cocktails 🤪

      • meta says:

        @ Harry T It can be culturally high brow if you want it too. World Art Dubai, Jameel Arts Centre or several experimental art/music festivals. The whole point of Dubai and Emirates is to recreate everything. I do find that sometimes when you throw all things together, some of local culture gets lost, but this can be found too if you look hard enough.

        • Harry T says:

          Sounds like I need to go back and look harder! Thanks for the recommendations, I’m always keen to see a different side of a country/city.

    • Polly says:

      Which school did you go to in Jeddah? Did you know Saudis City? And Arabian Homes? I worked in the ER in the new King Fahed Hospital nearby. Our plays were performed at PCS and the Continental. Paths?
      But we also remember Dubai when we stayed at the old Chicago Beach, now the site of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. We used to have to walk across the road to the rec centre! to play tennis etc. And only desert as far as we could see. Just cannot believe how built up it is over the years. Watched the Burj being built and indeed the JBH. Feel v old even thinking about it now. But had good times there with the kids.

  • RH says:

    Glad Dubai is added – I fancy some Xmas sun!

  • Harry T says:

    Now we just need a sale so we can all get cheap flights to Dubai for Christmas/NY 😂

  • Bill says:

    Booked speculatively for December to Dubai in 50 percent Avios sale.

    Also managed to book a room at FS for under 300 a night.

    All worked out nicely

  • Craig says:

    Also means that Etihad is a viable option again for connections to Asia?

  • Anna says:

    I’ve booked Abu Dhabi (admittedly not till Easter) as I couldn’t get 3 J seats to Dubai in the recent avios half price sale and all I want at this point is guaranteed sunshine and a nice hotel (also the Louvre looks intriguing). Is there any reason why AUH has such strict entry requirements just now compared to DXB? If there’s still a quarantine requirement by April could we change hotels to DBX and transfer direct from AUH without having to quarantine (unless things go downhill again before then)?

    • Harry T says:

      Not sure you can dodge quarantine if you arrive into AUH. Your best bet may be to wait for Dubai availability and pay £35 each to switch.

      • Anna says:

        I can’t see availability coming up for Easter, TBH, especially if the US is still off the cards.

        • meta says:

          @Anna I looked at this for my January trip as I had a problem in the opposite direction. Abu Dhabi is not as reliant on tourism as Dubai, that’s why. The only way to avoid Abu Dhabi quarantine is to stay in Dubai for 14 days and then go to Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately can’t stay that long, so cancelled. Was planning on flying back with Etihad F apartment, but that got scrapped. At least I got to try it once last year.

    • Rob says:

      I think it will change substantially by Easter – I wouldn’t be too worried. On the other hand, my California road trip for Easter still looks dodgy.

  • Anna says:

    But which destinations would you endorse completely? There’s an interesting thread about Thailand on the chat page; this is a massively popular destination but is regularly slated for its human rights record.

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

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