Winter is peak travel season for the UAE and Etihad Airways is gearing up for an influx of visitors to the capital.
Over the next six weeks, more than 1.5 million passengers are expected to fly with the UAE’s national carrier through Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The airline says the busy season will begin on Monday and run until January 8.
It’s being driven by winter tourists and big events taking place in the country, as well as National Day holidays. Many schools will enjoy a three-week winter break from mid-December which will also coincide with the annual Christmas travel rush.
“There has never been a better time to experience Abu Dhabi, with the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix taking place this weekend and many more attractions to be enjoyed over the winter season,“ said Shaeb Al Najjar, general manager hub operations at Etihad.
“Football fans from around the world will also be flocking to the region ahead of the most exciting football event of the year. As a result, Etihad, with its partners, is geared up and ready to host 1.5 million expected guests over the next six weeks.”
During peak travel times, Etihad will open check-in desks four hours before flight departure times, closing the facilities an hour before flights are due to depart, or two hours before departure for US flights. Gates to all destinations will close 20 minutes before flights depart and travellers will not be accepted after this time, even if they have already checked in.
Travellers can use Etihad’s self-service bag drop facility at the airport. Once checked in online, Etihad passengers can use the facility to retrieve their booking, print baggage tags and process their luggage in under two minutes.
To help alleviate queues at the airport, Etihad passengers travelling from Monday until January 8 are encouraged to check in early for flights.
Bringing heavy bags? Check-in early for extra allowance
The Staff Travel Centre in Etihad’s Terminal 3 will open daily from 10am until 5.30pm and can be used for check-in, including bag drop, up to 24 hours before flight departure times.
Passengers who opt to use the facility can choose to make use of an additional 5kg baggage allowance or bonus Etihad miles. Travellers will also receive two hours of complimentary Skypark parking, making luggage drop-off easy.
Etihad’s Home Check-in service is also an option for travellers who want extra convenience.
It is available to book up to seven hours before flights, with agents collecting baggage from travellers’ homes, assigning boarding passes and issuing baggage tags. It costs Prices start from Dh249 for up to four bags, which allows passengers to travel baggage free to the airport where they can go directly to passport control.
Etihad has also advised passengers that there are likely to be some operational changes during this busy period.
The airline may relocate economy class check-in desks for passengers travelling on select flights and passengers should double-check flight times and departure terminals before travelling to the airport.