Covid-19 travelling rules: New dos and dont’s for flights and trains
Wherever you’re headed and whatever the reasons, it’s going to take longer and cost more. Airports are distanced and digital. Train bookings open a week in advance. And don’t forget to pack your own snacks.Updated: Aug 30, 2020, 10:41 IST
- Ticket sales will open closer to the flight dates. Don’t expect to get early-bird discounts or block seats months in advance.
- Pack light. You can carry only one piece of cabin luggage and one check-in bag.
Karishma Jayapaul, 26, a cybersecurity executive in Bengaluru, found this out the hard way when she travelled to Delhi in mid-June. “The airlines sent me so many messages, but nothing on the new luggage rules,” she says. She had two cabin bags. “I had to call a friend, put all essentials in one bag and leave the other one with her. It was a mess.”
- Do pack a snack. Domestic flights don’t provide food. Some long-haul flights offer snacks in sealed boxes. But no meals or hot beverages.
- Most domestic airlines issue online advisories on how early you should arrive for your flight. Panicked folk who land up four hours earlier will find it just adds to the crowds and queueing.
- The plane will look different too. Instead of overhead bins which bear a risk of cross-contamination, cabin bags will now be stowed in special boxes under your seat.
A new track
- On trains, it might be a cleaner ride than before.
Sharan Shetty, 25, a marketing exec, travelled to Udupi with his parents in August. “The ciacges were so clean, even the wash-rooms,” he says. Our bags were sanitised before we got in.” The pantries are all closed, so carry your own food. “At Udupi, our bags were disinfected again. The station officer gave us instructions about isolating ourselves for seven nights. I have never seen the railways so organised.”
- An important note for overnight journeys - bring your own blanket. The AC coaches no longer provide bedding.
- Every train seat across coaches is labelled, leaving empty spaces so passengers can maintain social distancing. Follow these guidelines, for your own safety and the safety of others.
- Aim to be at the platform at least 90 minutes before the train departs, so you’re well in time for any thermal screenings, self-declaration form checks and disinfection procedures.
What to Wear
- You will likely be required to wear a face shield, in addition to a mask, through the journey.
- Take off clothes and shoes as soon as your enter your destination, put the clothes in the wash, and shower. These steps are recommended by the US Centers for disease control, for those in close contact with Covid-positive individuals.
How to Navigate
- There will likely be national and global certification to declare a service provider or a homestay as Covid-free, says Ravinder Singh, MD and CEOofMahindraHolidays.
- Expect to pay more. Add-on costs of sanitisation and extra precautions will likely drive prices up, says Rakshit Desai, MD at travel management company FCM.