For the past 4 months we have been experiencing one of the biggest worldwide lockdowns in recent history and needless to say, the impact of this has been severe on the economy as a whole.
Especially the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries, which have come to an absolute standstill. However, as of June 1, India has moved into the fifth phase of the lockdown – Unlock 1. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is now gradually allowing all sectors outside of containment zones to resume activity. It is important to note that as of now this will only be applicable till June 30.
Following the MHA guidelines, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry has given a go-ahead on domestic flights. International air travel for passengers, however, is still prohibited. Previously the UCAM had negotiated a condition that airlines would have to stick to one-third of their regular summer schedule.
While this cap has now been removed. busy airports have placed a limit on daily arrival and departures which in turn restrict airlines from flying across more circuits. Metros linking the city to the airports will also remain closed during this period.
Here are some things that you need to know before embarking on domestic air travel:
Regarding Infection: The government has mandated thermal scanning for all passengers and the use of the Aarogya Setu app to determine if passengers are coming from highly-infected regions. Passengers need to sign an undertaking stating that they are not arriving from containment zones and are not showing symptoms of the coronavirus. Passengers from containment zones will not be allowed to travel.
Baggage and Check-in: In the current scenario, only one cabin baggage and one check-in baggage are allowed. In addition to one cabin baggage, a laptop bag or handbag can be carried. Under the guidelines presented by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), all check-in has to be done via the web to keep first person contact to a minimum. Passengers are expected to take printouts of baggage tags at the time of the check-in. If a printer facility is not available, passengers can simply write the ticket PNR and their name on a paper and paste it on their baggage.
Food and Lodging: No meals will be served during the flight and though passengers can bring dry food items with them, it is not recommended to eat inside the aircraft unless necessary. Hotels will remain closed during Unlock 1. If passengers have to board connecting flights, they will have to wait in transit areas where refreshments will be made available.
Airport facilities: Wheelchairs and golf carts for the elderly will be provided on request but considering that the elderly are susceptible to risks of infection, they are discouraged from travel. All equipment is supposed to be sanitised properly. The use of any of these facilities should be done only when necessary.
· Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds especially after being in a public place. If water and soap are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
· Maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from others.
· Cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue, use proper disposal for the same.
· Avoid touching your face without washing your hands.
· Wear a mask or any other form of covering for the face and gloves.
· Safety kits will be issued to passengers at the airport with masks, face shields and sanitizers.
· Ensure all belongings are properly sanitised before leaving the house.
· Cooperate with officials in case of an emergency.
With the start of Unlock 1, people are expecting to get back to their usual work schedule, etc. and all people must keep the safety precautions in mind and work with the authorities at this time.