So you’ve put in all the hard work planning a trip to Abu Dhabi, but something has come up. You are no longer able to take your trip, or something has changed with your airline or travel agency, or even within Abu Dhabi preventing you from taking your dream trip or completing a stopover.
Where exactly does this leave you when planning your trip to Abu Dhabi?
On this page, we will take you through the steps to consider in cancelling or postponing your trip to Abu Dhabi for reasons outside of your control.
- How to cancel or postpone flights to Abu Dhabi
- How to cancel accommodation in Abu Dhabi
- How to cancel attraction tickets and tours in Abu Dhabi
- Travel Insurance for Abu Dhabi
- Visas for Abu Dhabi
Cancelling Flights to Abu Dhabi
How and when you receive compensation from your airline for a cancelled flight can depend on:
- What type of ticket you booked (was it fully flexible or non-refundable?)
- How your ticket was booked (through the airline directly or via a travel agency?)
- Who cancelled the flight (Did you cancel the flight or did the airline cancel?)
If you did not book your ticket directly with the airline, you will need to go through the travel agency you booked your ticket with to deal with your enquiry on your behalf.
If you cancel the flight due to personal circumstances changing, your options are more limited and may depend on the fine print of your ticket. In these instances, if you do not have a fully-flexible ticket, you are best speaking to your travel insurer next (we cover travel insurance in more detail below). Airlines are only like to compensate you (by refund or travel voucher) if they are the ones who cancel the flight.
We share with you here the cancellation policies for the major airlines into Abu Dhabi and the UAE:
Etihad Cancellation Policies
Etihad’s Website – change or cancel your booking
Emirates Airlines Cancellation Policies
Emirates Website – How to cancel or change a Booking
FlyDubai Cancellation Policies
FlyDubai Website – How to change or cancel your booking
Air Arabia Cancellation Policies
Air Arabia’s website – modifications and cancellations
Note that UAE Airlines are regulated by the GCAA – General Civil Aviation Authority.
Cancelling hotel bookings in Abu Dhabi
As with airline tickets, it will be highly dependent on who you booked your accommodation with and who is liable for the cancellation.
We like to book our accommodation through Booking.com as they offer very flexible rates and cancellation policies. Do be mindful fully flexible bookings usually cost more than if you are willing to pay upfront on a non-cancellable rate – that is a risk you take in a cheaper booking.
That said, even if you have booked something non-refundable on Booking.Com, they do provide an option to appeal when you cancel. The accommodation owner is free to then negotiate or offer new terms such as a credit voucher or agree new dates with you directly (via the Booking.com platform).
If your accommodation was packaged with your flight to Abu Dhabi by a travel agent, they will need to deal with your hotel booking as well as your flights.
Cancelling tours and attraction tickets in Abu Dhabi
If your trip to Abu Dhabi is cancelled or postponed, you may have already purchased tickets for your tours and attractions.
You will need to contact the issuing party who sold you the tickets to explore your options.
If this is not the venue or provider directly, you can only look to appeal to the agency that you bought the tickets through – most likely an online third party ticketing app or online travel agency.
Taking vouchers or credit notes instead of refunds for a cancellation in Abu Dhabi
Vouchers or credit notes can be a great way to defer your trip without losing your money, especially if a refund is unavailable under the terms of your ticket. Vouchers are a gesture of goodwill from the attraction/service provider that you will be back in future.
But vouchers can have their pitfalls too.
- What is the validity of the voucher, and can it be extended if you are unable to re-book your travel plans within a certain period of time?
- Will the voucher cover the whole original price you paid or are their admin fees or other restrictions attached?
- If you are dealing with an agency or smaller business, is it likely that they will still be operating at the point you want to redeem your voucher?
We like using third-party companies such as Get Your Guide for booking our tour and attraction tickets. Using this third-party ticket provider, we only have one company to deal with and they offer excellent cancellation policies, even up to 24 hours in advance. Not all have such customer-first approaches!
Insurance for visiting Abu Dhabi
The number one thing every good traveller should do when booking international travel (or any travel for that matter) is making sure they are insured.
Whilst many travellers might use credit cards that provide some level of insurance, think about your entire trip when you book it and different scenarios that may occur between booking, travelling and getting home. Is your coverage enough? Or will you need a separate insurance policy for other aspects of your trip such as hire cars, luggage, extreme supports, personal liability, trip delay or cancellation?
Be really careful on the wording of insurance policy. I know these documents can read like tombstones, but within the fine print, you’d be surprised as to just how many exceptions there are to actually being able to claim on travel insurance – such as items not being covered if they are stolen and not in your immediate possession (ie holding them!), or not covering you in the case of a natural disaster or pandemic.
Insurance companies will usually ask that you have exhausted all other avenues of compensation first. Eg, you have contacted your airline or accommodation provider and note been able to move your dates or receive any compensation?
Visa fees when cancelling a trip to Abu Dhabi
Many countries do not need to pay for a tourist or visit visa into Abu Dhabi, these are provided free of charge on arrival. You can see the complete current listing of visa on arrival countries here.
Residents of other countries not listed must apply in advance for a visit visa.
You are unlikely to be able to get a refund if you have already paid for your Tourist Visa to the UAE then cancel your trip before entering the country. Please do check this with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs as individual circumstances may differ.
Please note, we are not a travel agency, nor can we help you deal with any of these providers on your behalf if your trip to Abu Dhabi needs to be cancelled or postponed for any reason.