NAT 200320 Miha Zaheer in Frankfurt-1584699194329
Miha Zaheer, 18, stranded at Frankfurt Airport Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The parents of a Dubai teen stranded at Frankfurt Airport in Germany for over 24 hours, after not being allowed to travel due to entry restrictions in the UAE, are desperately seeking help from the authorities to help their 18-year old daughter come home.

Speaking to Gulf News on Friday, Indian expats and long-time Dubai residents Arshad and Urvi Zaheer said their daughter Miha Zaheer, 18, a first-year student at University of British Columbia, traveled from Vancouver for Dubai via a European airline with a four-hour layover in Frankfurt.

Miha’s school was locked down as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and all students were asked to return to their respective homes.

Miha’s parents immediately booked her tickets and checked if there were any travel restrictions. There was none and Miha boarded the European airline flight from Vancouver International Airport on Thursday, March 19, at 1.15am (UAE time), an hour before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a temporary suspension of entry for all UAE valid visa holders, as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

After hearing the news, Miha’s parents checked the status of her daughter’s flight with the airline and they were assured it was on schedule. Miha had already been issued the boarding pass to resume her flight to Dubai after a four-hour layover in Frankfurt.

The plane landed in Frankfurt on Thursday at around 11am (UAE time). Miha’s parents told Gulf News they again checked with the airline and also went to the Dubai immigration counter at DXB Terminal 3. “We were assured that people in transit are allowed to travel,” the couple said.

“However, at the last minute, Miha was told she could not go to the plane as the airline has received specific instructions that only Emiratis and diplomatic passport holders are exempted from the travel restrictions,” they shared.

“Our daughter missed the flight and booked on the next flight on another (UAE-based) airline but she was again told she could not board the plane,” they added.

“Our daughter is now stuck at Frankfurt Airport. She cannot go back to Vancouver, as borders have been closed; and she cannot leave the airport as she does not have a Schengen Visa. She is also not allowed to take a flight to India (we Indian passport holders), because India has been sealed to anyone coming in from Europe since March 18. So where does my daughter go?,” they asked.

Arshad and Urvi said they have reached out to Indian and UAE diplomatic staff in Frankfurt.

“They have been helpful and we just hope we can immediately get a letter which we can show to the airline to let our daughter board the next flight to Dubai.”

“She (Miha) is stressed, crying alone and scared of COVID-19. She should be staying at home. But being in a foreign land, she is now more exposed to the pandemic. We don’t mind putting her under strict quarantine once she arrives. We trust the health authorities in Dubai and we always feel she is safer here,” they added.