Traveling in the middle of the pandemic, An experience of a lifetime (hopefully)

So the last week had been pretty much spent in packing for my trip to home in India. I wanted to share the experience so that people could see how traveling internationally has been impacted because of the pandemic.

The day started at 7am when I booked an uber from my Aunt’s place in Queens to get to JFK. India had initially grounded all flights in March and that a lot of people had been stuck overseas until recently when a joint operation between the Government of India and Air India was introduced to being stranded citizens back home. Since I was finishing my semester in Mid May, I wanted to go back home for the summer. The only problem was that since the demand was so much, the flights were sold out!

After a week or two of waiting I finally found a ticket, and then the real worries started. You see, spending 15 hours in a closed air conditioning system with about 300 people did sound like suicide, but I hadn’t been back in a year and if you pit that against my mom’s paranthe, the suicide obviously lost. So I packed my bags, took the cab and was standing in this long line by the Air India check in for a temperature check. Then heading to the gates at JFK, it was probably the first time I had seen an airport this empty, and I have been at airports at 4am! We got masks and protective equipment by the airline but everyone already was covered from top to bottom. A 15 hour flight later and 5 hours of immigration on top of that, I ended up in a hotel in New Delhi, to spend a 7 day quarantine before I can go home. I will hopefully use this free time in the hotel room to focus more on my work and come up with an update soon!