UAE airlines are now accepting barred passengers after 'travel ban' lifted
Good news for all those affected by the travel ban – for now, at least…
Remember how last week UAE airlines were having to turn away people travelling to the US who came from one of President Donald Trump’s seven “Muslim ban” countries?
Well, the situation has changed, and Emirates and Etihad are now accepting passengers from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen who are travelling to the United States from the UAE.
Why? Well, on Friday a federal judge blocked Trump’s travel ban, restoring travel to the US for refugees and those from the Muslim-majority countries.
This week, the US Customs and Border Protection has officially given airlines the green light to board travellers from those nations.
Emirates and Etihad confirmed the airlines were once again accepting all passengers with valid travel documents, subject to the same checks by US authorities that existed before the travel ban.
Qatar Airways, Air France, Spain’s Iberia and Germany’s Lufthansa also followed suit, while other airlines said they would wait to see how the situation developed.
This means those who were affected by the week-long travel ban are able to rebook their flights with co-operating airlines (Emirates is one airline who was offering rebook and refund options), as long as they have valid visas.
But travellers are being warned to fly while they still can. Trump has responded angrily to the judge’s order, vowing to appeal as soon as possible.
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump said on Twitter on Saturday.
“TURNING PEOPLE AWAY WAS HEART-WRENCHING”
Meanwhile, a Dubai Airport worker has spoken to The Guardian about how it felt to have to enforce Trump’s travel ban at the world’s busiest international airport.
The unnamed employee spoke of the confusion in the first days following the executive order, with little or no guidance from the US government.
“Turning people away was heart-wrenching; my colleagues and I were in disbelief,” the worker said.
“For instance, one Syrian woman with a green card – who had lived in the US for decades – was turned away due to the order. We also couldn’t send her to 95 per cent of our destinations as she holds a Syrian passport, which left her stuck in the airport for 48 hours – even Dubai does not allow Syrians to enter without a visa.
“I’m not sure what political games the president thinks he’s playing, but I’ve seen first-hand how this ridiculous order is ruining people’s lives.”