COVID-19: Here’s how to get mask exemption on UAE airlines

Stock Dubai airport 2021


Dubai International airport terminal 3
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Wearing a mask is now mandatory for all situations that involve being in a public and/or crowded place and this includes flights. Masks are mandatory on all flights based on recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and other related global entities.

However, there are exemptions in place to accommodate travellers who can’t wear masks due to medical reasons. Here’s what UAE-based airlines have in place to allow for such exemptions:


According to the airline’s website, cloth or medical masks are mandatory at the Dubai International Airport (DXB) for all passengers older than six. Children who are younger than six are exempted and so are individuals with the following cognitive, intellectual or sensory conditions:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Down syndrome
  • Developmental delay
  • Autism spectrum condition

The exemptions also apply for passengers who require supplemental oxygen or have the following respiratory conditions; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, cystic fibrosis and asthma.

Passengers who fall in these categories are required to complete and submit a medical information form based on the condition issued within one month of date of travel. The form needs to be attested by the passenger’s doctor and must be submitted to the airline at least 48 hours before the flight.


FlyDubai also has exemptions for the above mentioned categories and requires passengers to send an email to the special assistance team at least 72 hours ahead of the flight along with a signed and attested medical certificate. All other passengers aged six and older must wear masks at all times.

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Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways also has a mandatory mask requirement for passengers at all times, including at the airport and on board.

If the passenger has a disability that makes wearing a mask impossible, they must carry a medical certificate issued by a licensed medical doctor, signed or stamped with the clinic letterhead, for the duration of their journey. Passengers can also download a medical form from the airline’s website which can then be attested by a licensed doctor.

The medical form is valid for 21 days and should cover the entire duration of the journey including stopovers.

For such passengers, Etihad suggests wearing a face shield on board, at any time spent out of their assigned seat and during cabin crew service.

Mask rules in the UAE

UAE residents, visitors, and citizens are required to wear masks in public places, public transportation, or commercial centers, and when walking outside in high-density public areas and in private transportation. However, in 2020 some exemptions were announced based on medical conditions (which require a medical certificate to be carried at all times) or when in certain situations. Masks can be removed when dining at restaurants, during strenuous exercise, when alone in the car, etc.


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