EXPECT a busy week ahead at most transportation hubs if you happen to be traveling anywhere into or out of Southeast Asia and the Middle East. This is because it is the Eid Al Fitr holidays.
For the uninitiated, Eid Al Fitr is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan.
In the Middle East, Eid celebrations vary culturally depending on the region but in Saudi Arabia, it is celebrated with great pomp. Saudis decorate their homes and prepare sumptuous meals for family and friends, and families to gather at the patriarchal home after the Eid prayers.
Meanwhile, Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei celebrate Eid as Hari Raya Aidilfitri. During which, it is customary for workers in the city to return to their hometown to celebrate with their families and to ask forgiveness from parents, in-laws, and other elders. This is known in Malaysia as balik kampung (homecoming).
As millions travel back their hometowns to celebrate Eid with their families, and while departure terminals at Dubai International Airport can accommodate more than half a million passengers, airlines are advising flyers to head to the airport earlier than usual in view of the expected surge in passenger traffic.
For example, flydubai has advised travelers to check which terminal they are flying from or arriving at before heading to the airport. It also asked flyers to ensure they arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight.
Emirates, on the other hand, is expecting more than 80,000 people traveling. Passengers flying out are expected to swell to more than 309,000 on 3 June. The airline also issued a travel advisory urging flyers to check in or time or risk canceling their travel plans altogether.
It also said travelers make their departure easier and more convenient by showing up at the airport a day before or as early as 24 hours prior to their travel and check-in. They can also check in online from 48 hours to three hours prior to departure.
Due to high passenger numbers travelling today and tomorrow, customers departing @DXB are advised to arrive at least three hours before their flight and allow extra time to avoid potential delays. Check-in opens up to 24 hours before departure.
— Emirates Airline (@emirates) June 2, 2019
In Malaysia, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said it was expecting nearly 100,000 passengers daily at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and its second terminal, klia2, during the Hari Raya break.
Local airlines operating at both terminals have added more than 500 flights for the festive season to accommodate the increase in domestic and international passengers. Hence, travelers are required to arrive three or four hours before their scheduled departure time.