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Emirates: COVID-19 on-site rapid testing – is this the future of flying?

Emirates: COVID-19 on-site rapid testing – is this the future of flying?

The UAE airline reported on 15 April, that all passengers on its flight to Tunisia were tested for COVID-19 before departing from Dubai. The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) conducted the health screening, which returns results in 10 minutes.

“We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, this will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates. The health and safety of staff and passengers at the airport remain of paramount importance.”

Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Office

Emirates is planning on rolling this rapid testing model out across all destinations if required, mandated test results for the destination or not.

a man wearing a mask and gloves while another man in a mask is getting a manicure

Is this the future of flying?

Will getting on an international fight in the future involve luggage deposit and check-in, security check, passport check, COVID-19 test check, and then straight to the lounge?

Emirates is also implementing social distancing at the airport, mandatory masks in the airport and on board the aircraft, and modifications to the inflight services to further health and safety protocols. It’s also dispensed with magazines and reading material.

Cabin baggage is much reduced: you can only take on a laptop, briefcase, handbag, and baby items (you are required to actually have a baby). Everything else must be checked in, and baggage allowances have been adjusted accordingly.

a man using a machine to check his tickets

We know that Etihad is trialling some Elenium check-in technology, which will be able to monitor the temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate of any person using the machine. The idea is that it may be able to detect those who have or are about to have COVID-19. The technology may be suitable for detecting other respiratory-related communicable diseases, not desired in airline travellers.

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Well if a quick finger pin prick of a test will allow me to travel internationally again, I’m in.

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