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Flying, Covid-style

expect the unexpected

laptop on the patio in Puerto VallartaOur helpful, friendly and smiling WestJet agent Christine said I should write a travel blog. Okay, she didn’t actually offer up that advice but when I told her I was going to write about being prepared for air travel right now she thought it was a great idea.

As I sit with my morning coffee and laptop, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on Los Muertos beach I reflect on the days, and even weeks of stress it took to get here. Tucker was the source of at least half of it, yet here he is curled up sleeping, so happy to be adventuring with us.

The Decision

This trip was booked over a year ago, when only the most pessimistic among us could have predicted what is going on today. When the Canadian Government declared a travel advisory on all international travel last month it was depressing to say the least. The decision to continue with the trip was not made lightly. https://traillady.com/to-go-or-not-to-go/.

Expect the Unexpected

checking in at the airportIt’s hard to believe that our last adventure in South East Asia just two years ago saw us jumping on and off flights and trains and motorcycles without a care in the world. Stamp my passport and let’s get going. It was a carefree world then.  When one of our last flights home got canceled due to it being empty because of the coronavirus as it was known then, we threw a little tantrum. In spite of getting home on time Air Canada gave us a big credit. It’s not like that anymore.

One must be a little more flexible and independent to travel today. It is highly unlikely that your flight will go exactly as planned, and there’s no such thing as picking up a phone and calling anyone about it. Add in the complexity of traveling with a kennel and you can be sure of a load of unexpected fun.

 

DON’T book your flight through any third party service right now, like for instance WestJet Vacations or Expedia. I witnessed a couple at Victoria International trying to discuss a WestJet flight disruption with a WestJet agent. The agent told them they had nothing to do with WestJet Vacations and then walked away. I’m sure she walked away because she knew what was coming next.

Your flight could be canceled, changed or delayed at any moment right now.  The primary reason for flight disruption is probably empty airplanes but there’s no way to know for sure. Cancellations arrive without explanation. The airlines also have to worry about enough healthy, covid-negative staff to get your plane into the air. The airports need to keep baggage handlers and security personnel working. Uncertainty is the name of the game.

Be Prepared

If you want your trip to run smoothly, be prepared. You need a lot more paperwork right now. Christine was impressed with my dossier, or so she said.

If you’re from Canada, download and then print your Canadian QR code document that shows proof of vaccination for Covid. When you check in online you can attach that QR code to your boarding pass, but don’t trust that. The printed copy was appreciated.

Look up your destination requirements and do absolutely everything they require. This is not the time for loosey-goosey travel. Mexico said they needed no proof of vaccination, but that was for people. They actually needed quite a lot of proof of vaccinations and other health issues for Tucker.  If you’re bringing your pet visit your vet before leaving, as close to the departure date as possible. A good vet should know what you need.

Mexico also required three separate immigration forms, one of which could be filled out online prior to leaving home. https://www.tourism-visitmexico.com/application/a52a8340-7158-11ec-878c-06068ca605c1.5810fed

 

Getting Home

To be honest I don’t really care right now if Canada ever lets me back in. I will feel differently a month from now, though. Getting home will undoubtedly be even more stressful that getting here. We will need the infamous Arrive Canada app. It must be the most current version so I’ve not bothered to do anything with it. We’ll need a last minute Covid test, a negative one of course and then right now we could face a second random test at the airport when we arrive.  Should any of those tests be positive, false or otherwise we’ll need a quarantine plan. For me that will be a healthy credit card and a dog walker.Those are today’s rules. We are coming home mid-February so I’m not investing much effort into this yet. Things can, and are changing rapidly.

Should You Go?

So now that I’ve done it, do I think you should too? YES – and no. It really depends on your personal situation. If you have the luxury of flexibility, the fortune of good health and a bunch of Covid vaccines, I think you’re good to go.

Watch for my next blog when I tell you all about flying with your dog. For now it’s time to go for a walk on the beach with Tucker.

Ahhhh - we have arrived

 

 

1 Comment
  1. Christine Spinney says

    Thanks for the information. Looking forward to more info. Spinn

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