Saturday, June 13, 2020

Bengaluru: Toronto flyers fear double quarantine

Bengaluru: Lack of connecting flights to Bengaluru and Chennai from international destinations like Toronto and Helsinki has put passengers heading home in a spot. They fear they may have to undergo institutional quarantine twice — for 14 days at their port of arrival, Delhi, and for another few days at their final destination, as per norms of the respective state.
Those travelling to Bengaluru and Chennai are particularly affected by this, said Sudhakara Reddy, president, Air Passengers Association of India. APAI claimed to have received complaints from several passengers regarding this issue.
“Passengers travelling onward to Bengaluru and Chennai have been badly hit. Lack of connecting flights is forcing many to undergo 14 day-institutional quarantine in Delhi when, in fact, their home destination is different. It doesn’t seem logical. They should be treated as transit passengers. No hub-and-spoke model is being followed, so passengers from Toronto, Vancouver and Chicago will land in Delhi despite the fact that they are travelling onward to Bengaluru, Chennai or Hyderabad,” said Reddy.

Several passengers have complained of lack of clarity on the issue. A marketing professional from Bengaluru, who recently got laid off in Toronto and is travelling to Delhi on Friday, said he may have to be under quarantine for nearly a month in two different cities due to lack of connecting flights under Phase 3 of the Vande Bharat mission.

“Quarantine is mandatory in Delhi although my home destination is Bengaluru. There is no clarity as the rules keep changing. Double quarantine is unreasonable. Direct flights or connecting flights from Delhi to Bengaluru are needed. How does the government expect people to cover the cost in such a situation? The ticket itself costs around 2,500 CAD (Canadian Dollar), nearly triple the normal fare,” he rued.
Ritika Giridhar, a student in Finland who’s from Bengaluru, tweeted: “Ever since the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) had started, I have been requesting the officials to send a flight to Finland, as the cost of living here is very high and since we cannot work, we cannot sustain ourselves. Finally, after almost a month of requesting the government officials, we got a flight (only because we are “small in number”) (sic).”
13/06/20 Swathyr Iyer/Times of India
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