Virus vexation

Written by Pieter Jan on Mar 27, 2020 — 3 min read

At: St. George, Grenada

For those who thought we have succumbed to COVID19, fear not! All is well. But it was an enormous hassle to get the Parents back home, amidst panicking governments and bumbling travel agencies. There will be some stern naming and shaming in the following paragraphs.

My Parents had booked their flight through Connections. Do not use that travel agency. Actually, don’t book your tickets through any travel agency. They’re just there to make a quick buck and will deny all responsibility if anything goes wrong, just like some presidents do.

When the idiot Trump uselessly decided that no foreigner could enter ‘Murica — even though the virus was already inside the country for several weeks — the Parents suddenly found themselves with revoked travel visas. They could not enter USA soil, not even in transit. As their American Airlines flight back had a stopover in Miami, they couldn’t get home anymore.

At Connections, they said: “We can’t help you. Book another flight through British Airways (€3000+).” At American Airlines, they said: “Sorry, nothing we can do. The POTUS, in his infinity idiocy, has spoken.” Embassies and consulates were called. Some said, “It’s not going to be a problem.” Others said, “Yeah, this is going to be a problem.”

We found another flight on Tuesday morning via Barbados through Toronto to London. On Sunday we heard that Grenada would close its airport on Monday evening. We jumped on a bus to the airport — an adventure in itself for the Parents, who are used to taking a taxi. We had the ticket changed to Monday without hassle. Do use LIAT airlines when in the Caribbean. They’re friendly and understanding (though their website sucks doggie balls and will leave you hanging after you think you bought tickets).

I booked a place via AirBnb for them to spend a night on Barbados. The owner didn’t want to meet them in person because of the virus scare and directed the taxi driver to a place that was not at all like the ad. My Parents wisely refused the shady ‘alternative’ and went to a hotel.

When they arrived the next morning in the Barbados airport, all Air Canada flights were canceled. I checked on the Air Canada website: The flight was still scheduled. I checked on the Barbados Airport website: The flight was still scheduled. Perhaps Barbados Airport ground personnel gets a kick out of scaring people.

Then, at last, bit of smooth flying. Do use Air Canada. They’re calm and they care. When the Parents arrived in London, they had to change their Eurostar ticket — some trains had been cancelled. Their hotel was closed on their arrival. My brother took over command center role from me and found them an AirBnb.

In the end, they arrived home safely, but after more than a week of daily stress. Don’t go traveling with airplanes during a pandemic. It’s hell. Sailboats on the other hand are heaven. Natural quarantaine.