Fasten Your Seatbelts, Ladies And Gentlemen… We Are Ready For Take-Off!

An increasing number of countries have resumed international commercial flights with India, since mid-August. Multiple countries and multiple carriers are in preparedness to welcome Indian passengers. No matter how remote your destination or how far the shores, Indians love to travel and have always left their indelible imprints on every foreign land.

For air travel to get streamlined, easy and efficient, it may take some time. Travel is no longer the same, it gets daunting even for seasoned travellers. At the onset, even before booking your flight, ensure you’re informed and armed with relevant data as each country demands its own set of mandatory requirements. So, if you’re planning on traveling for holiday or otherwise, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

Do Your Homework: A little preliminary research could go a long way in avoiding tenuous situations. Travel is no longer as simple as surfing a web page, choosing a destination, a date and paying off with your credit card. Each country has its own travel restrictions. Prior to any travel, find out yours. Many countries have just about opened up; some still have restrictions on direct flights originating from certain countries. You need to check up on that. Just a couple of weeks back the UK eased travel restrictions for India by moving it from the red to the amber list. However, quarantine rules may apply.

Call The Airline: In this day and age airline staff and travel agents seem to be best equipped to handle and answer ones queries regarding all travel rules regulations and mandates. Check for PCR testing. Depending on your destination, a negative test will be required in less than 48 or 72 hours from your time of departure. Most countries require a PCR test upon arrival as well. I can only imagine the nightmare of passengers on long trips with multiple stops having their noses prodded, poked and picked several times over! Be prepared for that.

Check Up On Quarantine Rules: It’s imperative to re-check the regulations of your destination just before you leave, since these are constantly changing and you don’t want any unpleasant last-moment surprises. Many travellers end up cooped in hotel rooms because they were caught unaware regarding quarantine rules on arrival. Weeks back, a compulsory 10-day self-isolation in a government-approved facility could have set you back by 1,750 pounds!

Consider Your Mobile As An Appendage Of Sorts: Digital technologies and resources are already typical, in most countries but in some, this has not yet been implemented. Airlines, hotels and travel agencies have chosen to use Apps, NFC technology (Near Field Communication) and Bluetooth to avoid physical contact. In fact, in many parts of the UAE, entry into shops, malls, and restaurants is not permitted without scanning the ALHOSN UAE App downloaded on your mobile which is constantly updated to caution health authorities of fully vaccinated individuals, validity of their PCR test and contact tracing. The Unified Identity Number (UID) is used by authorities to identify a person’s status and is found either on the entry stamp of one’s passport or on the visa page.

Carry Your Supplies: While socks, underwear and bathing suits were items we could not travel without in the past, we now add disposable masks, antibacterial gel and sanitizing wipes to the list as well! Don’t take for granted that the airlines or hotels will have that covered.

Preparedness Is The Key: Along with the usual health and safety concerns, there are many possibilities and warnings of unforeseen circumstances of travelling, including the possibility that governments could change their restrictions with very little notice, which in turn means trip plans could go awry and overseas travellers might get stranded. There are country specific advisories that assess the risk factor involved. Having Insurance seems a wise choice. Currently, all or almost all airlines offer insurance for your trip. In case of flight rescheduling and I believe that happens a lot, one is guaranteed against the loss of reservation and money. Talk about Reservation Insurance with your airline and hotel.

It has been a period of change, one which has altered the tourism and hospitality landscape forever. Reports indicate that over 90% of the population worldwide population is keen to resume travel. ‘Revenge Travel’ – a post Covid phenomenon seems to be shepherding in a steep rise in domestic travel, the world over… with weekend get-aways, staycations, workcations, drivecations, wellness- travel, the list endless and peppered with a gazillion reasons to just take off. Indians have been exploring and venturing across the country, rediscovering the mesmerizing beauty and charm of India.

But now, with the skies opening-up, we are all but ready to take flight! Soon we will inch back into the normalcy of things. We may or may not revert back to the way things were prior to the pandemic, but as time flies, so shall we. As an increasing number of people get vaccinated, we feel more empowered to resume the threads of our life again. Time has taught us to put things in perspective. We’ve learnt to see things more clearly now. Coping and readjusting to the new-age travel norms may prove tedious and difficult initially, but the thought of creating and curating our travelogues again will surely be a priceless experience!

Veera Shroff Sanjana
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