Photos: Travelling for Christmas as Covid-19 restrictions tighten

UPDATED ON DEC 25, 2020 06:06 PM IST
Passengers walk through the deserted international departure international terminal at Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport on December 21 as an increasing number of countries around the world restrict travel from Britain and elsewhere, including South Africa, amid concerns about new variants of the coronavirus. (Jerome Delay / AP)
Passengers go through a temperature check as they enter the terminal at Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport on December 21. The security officer pointing the thermometer barely glanced, but wished the traveller a “Happy Holiday,” Associated Press photographer Jeremy Delay observed while journeying to Paris over the holidays. (Jerome Delay / AP)
A hand sanitizing pump stands in the middle of a near empty terminal at OR Tambo airport on December 21. Normally, the airport is packed solid this time of year. Travellers pushing trolleys snake through lines to the check-in counters, followed by more long lines for security and again for immigration. Even the business lounges are overcrowded and it can take 20 minutes to pay for a duty-free bottle of wine. Not this Christmas. (Jerome Delay / AP)
South African health ministry officials collect tracing forms from international travellers at OR Tambo airport on December 21. The check-in was effortless, Delay noted. There is no need to show proof of a Covid-19 test. There are no lines at security, where the big old X-ray machines have been replaced by a high-tech full-body scanner. Just a quick temperature check and turn in a tracking form to a health official. (Jerome Delay / AP)
Passengers wait to board their Air France flight to Paris at OR Tambo airport on December 21. The international terminal was empty and most shops closed, aside from the duty-free perfume, alcohol and tobacco store, a sunglasses franchise and a listless electronics shop. (Jerome Delay / AP)
Passengers board an Air France flight bound for Paris at Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport on December 21. Boarding is a breeze when a plane is at less than 40% capacity. Passengers wearing designer cloth masks were politely requested to take them off and wear the universally acknowledged as effective light blue surgical mask, Delay recalled. (Jerome Delay / AP)
An Air France flight bound for Paris, France, takes off from Johannesburg on December 21. Ten hours later, after a smooth flight over the African continent in the dark of night, the 15-year-old Boeing 777 touched down in a typical winter mist at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport. (Jerome Delay / AP)
Arriving and departing passengers use the train link between two terminals at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on December 22. Despite the very early hour, hundreds lined up at the transit desk. With London, a popular European transit hub, turned into a no-go-zone for many, travellers re-routed to Paris or Frankfurt as their European transit point. (Jerome Delay / AP)
Arriving passengers walk by a Christmas tree at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on December 22. For those whose final destination was Paris, passengers are triage for immigration, depending on their flight’s origin. Proof of a negative Covid-19 test was required here but social distances not necessarily observed. (Jerome Delay / AP)
A taxi driver takes passengers to their destination in Paris after they arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport on December 22. Curbside, on a drizzling, dark morning, the cab driver remains inaudible, because of a thick plastic sheet separating him from the passengers. The curfew lifts over Paris as the clock strikes 6 a.m — the highways are packed again. (Jerome Delay / AP)

Passengers walk through the deserted international departure international terminal at Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport on December 21 as an increasing number of countries around the world restrict travel from Britain and elsewhere, including South Africa, amid concerns about new variants of the coronavirus. (Jerome Delay / AP)

Passengers go through a temperature check as they enter the terminal at Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport on December 21. The security officer pointing the thermometer barely glanced, but wished the traveller a “Happy Holiday,” Associated Press photographer Jeremy Delay observed while journeying to Paris over the holidays. (Jerome Delay / AP)

A hand sanitizing pump stands in the middle of a near empty terminal at OR Tambo airport on December 21. Normally, the airport is packed solid this time of year. Travellers pushing trolleys snake through lines to the check-in counters, followed by more long lines for security and again for immigration. Even the business lounges are overcrowded and it can take 20 minutes to pay for a duty-free bottle of wine. Not this Christmas. (Jerome Delay / AP)

South African health ministry officials collect tracing forms from international travellers at OR Tambo airport on December 21. The check-in was effortless, Delay noted. There is no need to show proof of a Covid-19 test. There are no lines at security, where the big old X-ray machines have been replaced by a high-tech full-body scanner. Just a quick temperature check and turn in a tracking form to a health official. (Jerome Delay / AP)

Passengers wait to board their Air France flight to Paris at OR Tambo airport on December 21. The international terminal was empty and most shops closed, aside from the duty-free perfume, alcohol and tobacco store, a sunglasses franchise and a listless electronics shop. (Jerome Delay / AP)

Passengers board an Air France flight bound for Paris at Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport on December 21. Boarding is a breeze when a plane is at less than 40% capacity. Passengers wearing designer cloth masks were politely requested to take them off and wear the universally acknowledged as effective light blue surgical mask, Delay recalled. (Jerome Delay / AP)

An Air France flight bound for Paris, France, takes off from Johannesburg on December 21. Ten hours later, after a smooth flight over the African continent in the dark of night, the 15-year-old Boeing 777 touched down in a typical winter mist at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport. (Jerome Delay / AP)

Arriving and departing passengers use the train link between two terminals at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on December 22. Despite the very early hour, hundreds lined up at the transit desk. With London, a popular European transit hub, turned into a no-go-zone for many, travellers re-routed to Paris or Frankfurt as their European transit point. (Jerome Delay / AP)

Arriving passengers walk by a Christmas tree at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on December 22. For those whose final destination was Paris, passengers are triage for immigration, depending on their flight’s origin. Proof of a negative Covid-19 test was required here but social distances not necessarily observed. (Jerome Delay / AP)

A taxi driver takes passengers to their destination in Paris after they arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport on December 22. Curbside, on a drizzling, dark morning, the cab driver remains inaudible, because of a thick plastic sheet separating him from the passengers. The curfew lifts over Paris as the clock strikes 6 a.m — the highways are packed again. (Jerome Delay / AP)

About The Gallery

A listless airport, fewer travelers and a lack of holiday cheer --this is Christmas travel 2020, a pale shadow of prior holiday crushes. Covid-19 just mutated and many flights from South Africa were being banned. Between these developments, Associated Press photographer took a flight documenting holiday travel, with less than 100 masked-and-sanitized passengers lining up for a flight from Johannesburg to Paris, hoping it will not be canceled at the last minute.

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