Air Travel is a Nightmare during this Pandemic Era

Rob Hourmont

Based on my recent experience, it's best avoided for now.

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The pleasure of air travelRob Hourmont

I spent three days traveling and in an airport hotel, attempting to get from Bali to Singapore. After enduring a full Friday night flight, arriving at Jakarta domestic airport wasn't fun. The passengers are squeezed into two buses to get to the terminal. Being shoulder to shoulder, and some people coughing was highly unpleasant and scary, especially as the bus ride took 15 minutes. It's as if the airline companies have never heard of or don't need to follow the social distancing rules.

Finally arriving at the baggage hall, another scene of chaos and hundreds of people. As expected, it took close to one hour for the bags to arrive. Baggage carousels are one of my least favorite places to be as the uncertainty of if and when your bags will come strains your nerves.

Next, an unpleasant taxi ride to the hotel as the driver cannot find it, despite being a 5-star hotel in the airport complex. All of this, of course, is a show to run up the clock.

Saturday morning arrives, I walk to the testing center for the onward flight the following day. Long lines of people all doing the same thing; a frustrating one hour passes until I'm tested, and another three until I can pick up my result. I'm negative, they tell me. I thank them and go back to my hotel to wait, eat and sleep.

I rose Sunday morning at 5:30 to get ready and walk to the check-in counter. I'm armed with 8 required documents to be allowed on the flight and into Singapore. I hand my vaccine certificate to the agent, who stares at it silently for a while and says, "where's your app with the scan code for the vaccine?" I don't have that as I could not obtain it a visitor in Indonesia.

The agents discuss and keep checking my hospital certificate where my two vaccines are confirmed and stamped. Finally they look at me and say they can't let me board as the Singaporian Immigration will likely not accept my certificate once I arrive there, and I could be sent back. I explained that my friend in Singapore had cleared this document with immigration; however, they could not provide a confirmation letter.

They cannot let me fly, I'm told with finality. Two check-in agents decided my fate whether I can fly to another country or not. I waste two days, a lot of money, and nerves.

After purchasing a ticket back to Bali, I suffered another 100% full plane ride.

That's the end of my air travel attempts for the foreseeable future.

Rob

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