Flying In The Times of Coronavirus: Pinkvilla's writer shares her Mumbai to Bengaluru flight experience

One of the employees of Pinkvilla, Sneha Kalra, has shared her Mumbai to Bengaluru flight experience during Coronavirus led lockdown. Read on to know her first-hand account of her journey.
Coronavirus,flight,flight experience Flying In The Times of Coronavirus: Pinkvilla's writer shares her Mumbai to Bengaluru flight experience
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Our lives were upended overnight due to the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown. The crisis has put everyone in a serious dilemma. And after many days of lockdown, plans of unlocking phase-wise has started in India. After Shramik special trains for migrant labourers, the government announced few domestic flights as well. Since the start of domestic flights, many have been sharing never before seen experiences as they took a flight to reach their hometowns.

Many people shared how the airports which are one of the business places have stark and weird look considering there are hardly any travellers, while many bore the brunt of disruption as several flights were cancelled last minute and were left confused. We asked one of Pinkvilla's writers, Sneha Kalra to share her Mumbai to Bengaluru flight experience. Read on to know her first-hand account of her journey.

1. How safe was your travel? 

It was very safe. From the time I got into the cab to go to the airport, to reaching there. Mask and gloves were mandatory. 

2. Were the precautionary rules were followed? Anything else that you think airlines could have done better?

Every rule was followed. Trolleys were not allotted to people who had just one bag. Social distancing was maintained in the queue to enter the airport. There was no physical contact whatsoever - the temperature was checked through the thermal scanner, ID checked through a glass partition. Baggage tags had to be printed at the airport along with the boarding pass and web check-in had to be done. Security check was also seamless - the trays were sanitized after every use. While it was nice to have abundant personal space in queues and nobody breathing down my neck, nudging me to move ahead, it was also eerie to see the airport as empty as it was.

When it came to airlines, they did a good job or ensuring passengers maintained social distancing, gave a mask, sanitizer and face shield to every passenger. But the idea of distancing was lost because of the seating arrangement. I wish it had been alternative seating so that distancing could have been maintained in the flight as well. 

3. What challenges did you face during your travel from Mumbai to Bangalore?

One main problem was the availability of cabs. Ola said they would provide a cab for essential services but only said they could confirm the cab 15 mins prior to the journey. The worry was that what if I didn't get an Ola at 5 am? Due to this, I had to go through a private cab company that obviously charged a bomb. Thankfully, both Ola and Uber have resumed services now. Another challenge was that my Covid-19 test result hadn't yet arrived despite the private lab assuring me that I would have it before I left. This would mean I would be Institutional Quarantined in Bangalore, which isn't exactly pleasant. 

4. What were your thoughts throughout the travel considering Mumbai has the highest number of cases?

It was definitely scary. Even a single sneeze in the airport echoed loud. Watching passengers in PPE suits was also weird, but also made me wonder if I was more prone to getting infected in just my gloves and mask. Even sitting so close to somebody on the flight felt suffocating and every time arms touched, I felt the need to sanitize myself (though I didn't because I thought it would be rude). Overall, the entire journey consisted of me worrying about getting infected and being suspicious of anybody who seemed to have even a mild cough or cold. 

5. What, according to you, the government could have done or should not have done?

I'm glad the government opened up different forms of travel as it is important for migrants to get back home in such situations. At the same time, I wish they were more strict about the lockdown and keeping people in check. Apart from stocking up on essentials, I have seen people loitering on the roads, spitting, walking without masks and just generally being outside when they were supposed to be at home. I wish the government tried harder to keep that in check and also test more. Different states boast of having a lower number of COVID-19 cases, but that is only because there is no rigorous testing happening.

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