Travel

Domestic flights reopen from May 25, 2020 in India

Two few weeks ago, I had estimated that domestic flights will reopen from May 17, 2020 however, that wasn’t the case. Though the lockdown 3.0 did end on the expected date, lockdown 4.0 kickstarted from May 18th, and the Central government was firm on their decision of not starting domestic flights immediately.

However, 3 days later, Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri confirmed that the Government has decided to reopen domestic airline travel in India, as early as May 25, 2020. The available information says that flight travel will be open across all cities, with no restrictions whatsoever.

Will flight passengers be quarantined for 14 days?

One of the biggest concern is regarding the passengers’ quarantine. A report says that all passengers who arrive in domestic flights must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine at the destination (arrival) airport. For example, if a passenger travels from Bangalore to Goa, he/she must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine in Goa. Then, once they board a flight from Goa and arrive at Bangalore, they must again undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Of course, this is stupidity and does not make any sense, as you’ll be spending almost 1 month in quarantine for 1 hour of travel! The Government is working on this aspect, and will most likely come up with an alternate solution to curb the issue.

Book flight tickets online for travel from May 25, 2020

While the window to book flights have already begun, all major airline websites and travel agents such as Yatra.com, Goibibo.com and others have started accepting bookings, with the earliest date of departure being May 25 , 2020. When I randomly checked the price for Bangalore-Goa-Bangalore from June 5(departure) – June 7(arrival), the cost was around Rs.4000 person (return fare). I believe this is absolutely in line with the regular fare, and they are not increased.

The good news is, the Government has capped the price to a certain amount for all the routes, and the airlines cannot exceed the capping. For instance, the Delhi-Mumbai sector price has to be between Rs.3500 – Rs.10,000 only. Also, this capping of airfare is applicable for the next 3 months. This means, airlines cannot increase the price to their liking.

Mandatory documents for domestic flight travel in India

Another important aspect that you also need to know is about the documents that you need you need to carry. Here’s what the current information says –

  • Mandatory download and use of Aarogya Setu app for all travellers above 14 years of age, and the app needs to display a green tick
  • Compulsory web check-in before arriving to the airport
  • Your ID proof
  • A health certificate from a certified doctor / hospital that says you do not suffer from any known symptoms of fever, cough, and cold

Latest domestic airline travel guidelines in India for passengers

In addition to the documents, below are the rules and regulations for domestic airline travel in India starting May 25, 2020. Do keep them in mind and be prepared if you decide to travel –

  • You should not have any symptoms of cough, cold, and fever
  • You will have to wear mask and gloves at all times, starting from the time you enter the airport until you exit the destination airport
  • Only 1 check-in baggage (up to 20 kgs.) and 1 cabin baggage allowed
  • You will have to print and stick the pre-filled baggage tag for your check-in baggage
  • There will not be any food and beverages served during travel
  • Reporting time will be 4 hours before flight departure
  • You must undergo thermal screening at the airport
  • No newspapers, brochures and magazines inside the flight

Most importantly, the entire process of check-in will be a “no contact” one, at least to the maximum extent. With no physical contact involved with any of the airline and airport staff, this will help in avoiding the spread of the virus.

So, if you have already made plans for air travel, the time has finally come. One thing that you need to keep in mind is, almost all the hotels and beach side cottages/shacks are still closed at popular tourist locations and so, travelling to a holiday destination such as Goa might not be an ideal thing to do at the moment. Nevertheless, the time for “take off” has resumed after 2 months, and this is certainly something to cherish.

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