A traveller's experience trying to get home to Victoria from Australia amid COVID-19
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- Sydney Airport is filled with travellers from all over the world frantically trying to get home as COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly.
Instead of the international airport being empty, like we’ve seen at other locations, it is filled with students who were travelling abroad here in Australia, and American residents desperately trying to get back home before international flights are cancelled.
I am one of these travellers racing against time trying to get from Melbourne, Australia to Victoria, B.C.
Currently, I am waiting to board Flight 72 to Los Angeles. I’ve cornered myself away from everyone trying to practise social distancing but the airport is packed with people wearing masks, gloves and apply lots of hand sanitizer.
There’s a sense of discomfort, anxiety and panic as people speak on the phone to loved ones. But some people I’ve spoken to are more concerned about the reality they will face once home. Not only will these people I am surrounded by be forced into quarantine, they also have very real concerns of losing their jobs and the ripple effect that will have on their life as they knew it.
A couple I met yesterday were on a cruise that was cancelled. They told me they were trying to get home to Vancouver and were supposed to fly out next week. They were ahead of me in the line to speak to Qantas Airlines just moments before the airline announced it was cancelling over 100 flights.
Once they approached the desk they were told there were very few flights and the ones they had were AUS$10,000. I then watched as in a blink of an eye, they didn’t hesitate but both purchased a ticket.
This first part of my journey went relatively smooth, I was through customs with no problems. There was no additional screening here, only asked if I have been to Iran or China recently.
I will spent 13 hours in the air now and land in Los Angeles. I will then have two hours to get my bag, get through screening and my next flight to Vancouver. Then I will fly from Vancouver to Victoria and go right into quarantine.
Fortunately, I have friends in Victoria that will fill my fridge with food and support me, but if anyone has ideas on how to keep busy for 14 days, I’m open to suggestions.