These are testing and trying times. Travel in the time of the corona virus pandemic being one of the most risky things to do right now, but unfortunately some of us had to catch flights and brave the journey home to our loved ones.
I was one of the many who had to alter my travel plans and scramble to catch a flight home. And I was lucky to make it back to Karachi as travel bans have been enforced since then.
I left Karachi on the 29th of February for Boston with a little voice in my head nagging me to not to go, but others did not seem as concerned particularly in the West. Upon reaching Boston I was surprised to note that the airports had zero protocols for arriving visitors.
I am usually labeled as borderline obsessive about hygiene by my friends and family so for me the hand-washing etc was already part of my daily rituals.
After Boston I caught two flights to get to Memphis where I had some work. Within 2 or 3 days of reaching Memphis the situation had accelerated rapidly. Originally I was scheduled to catch 2 flights back to Boston in order to fly out to Pakistan via Istanbul. But with the situation spiralling rapidly and Boston already in a state of emergency, this was not looking good. Thankfully my Aunt and Uncle drove down and picked me up from Memphis and drove me to Atlanta from where I flew back to Karachi.
Atlanta Airport is considered to be one of the busiest airports in the world but it was practically deserted.
I am sharing some photos of Atlanta, Istanbul and Karachi airport on my journey home.
Needless to say it was definitely stressful to be mindful of not touching surfaces and ensuring not touching my face. Luckily all the airports have sanitizers in place and clean bathrooms so that worked out.
For those who still have to travel, either internationally or within the country during the corona virus pandemic, here are a few tips you may already know but which cannot be stressed enough:
1. Yes I did wear gloves when handling luggage etc
2. Wear a mask at the airport and in the plane.
3. Sanitize the seat belt, seat back, tray table, remote etc.
4. Try not to eat in the plane.
5. Packaged food should be safer.
6. Washed my hands as often as I could.
7. Ensure not to touch door handles
8. Stayed a good distance of 6 feet or more away from people. Luckily this worked out as flights were not full.
9. Stay well hydrated.
Upon reaching Karachi
I sanitized the suitcases, did not wear my travel shoes in the house, requested bottled water and soap from my home and washed hands before getting in the car. Handled the luggage myself with gloves on.
Sanitized everything that I possibly could and went straight to the shower.
Washed all my travel clothes.
Currently I am in self Isolation and since I share the house with my family I am trying to stay away from them and wear a mask at home too if I cross paths with them.
I am pretty much confined to my room or the garden.
Just remember, every little gesture counts if not physically then mentally.
It was a relief to return to Pakistan. A lot of Pakistanis are still stranded, as most borders and flights have shut down for now, but the government is saying they will try and bring them all home.
#coronavirus #covid19 #flattenthecurve #travelintimesofcovid19