Emirates To Ban Most Cabin Baggage To Curb Coronavirus Spread

UAE flag-carrier Emirates announced Tuesday that it is stepping up precautionary measures to stop further spread of COVID-19. As a result, the airline is now banning cabin baggage on its flights.

Emirates Airbus A380
Emirates is banning almost all carry-ons on its flights. Photo: Emirates

Cabin bag allowance transferred

Emirates said in a statement that it would be ramping up corona-related precautions, both at its hub Dubai International Airport, and on its passenger flights. In a bid to “reduce risk of spreading the virus by touch,” it is banning all carry-on items apart from laptops, handbags, briefcases, or baby items. Passengers must check in any other bags. However, the airline is adding the cabin bag allowance to the weight permitted.

Emirates has removed magazines and any other in-flight printed material for the same reason, and it is serving meals in pre-packaged bento boxes. Furthermore, all aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols upon the return after each journey.

Social distancing is also a thing with the UAE national airline. On the plane, as well as at the airport. Emirates stated that seats on the flights are pre-allocated. There will be vacant seats placed between individual passengers or family groups in observance of physical distancing protocols.

Check in with partition screen Emirates coronavirus measures
Emirates has installed protective barriers at check-in desks. Photo: Emirates


At Dubai International Airport, thermal scanners monitor the body temperature of any individual stepping onto the premises. Physical distancing markings have been placed on the floor at gates waiting-areas to help travelers keep apart. Each check-in counter has been equipped with protective barriers, to ensure the safety of staff and passengers during their interaction.

All of the airline’s staff – cabin crew, boarding agents, and ground crew will now don personal protective equipment (PPE), including a protective disposable gown and a safety visor.

It is not only Emirates check-in staff and cabin crew that are wearing mandatory face masks and gloves. Passengers are also required to put on personal masks and gloves from the moment of check-in until they leave the aircraft upon arrival.

The airline is already operating its flights with a bare minimum of flight attendants to protect as many of its staff as possible.

Emirates health and safety
All Emirates staff will now wear full PPE. Photo: Emirates

In good UAE company

Emirates’ co-UAE flag carrier Etihad Airways has also implemented many of the same onboard measures. Emirates is also carrying out on-site rapid 10-minute COVID-19 tests on passengers before boarding. Meanwhile, Etihad is set to roll out prototype self-service contactless check-in kiosks that can detect symptoms of illness or other medical conditions, by the end of this month.

Just a couple of months ago, seeing flight attendants in full protective gear as you step on to a plane would have caused a sense of something being, well, not quite right. Now, it is meant to inspire a sense of security. As ironically, is a lack of safety-card in the seat pocket in front of us. These are indeed the strangest of air travel times, but at least we do not need to jostle for overhead compartment space.

How do you feel about traveling sans carry-on and with flight attendants in full protective gear? Would it make you feel safer if you needed to travel at this time? Do you believe some of these measures, such as health screening, could remain even after travel bans lift? Let us know in the comments.