Hi.. how are you? If you happen to come to this page I assume you miss flying, don’t you? I do too. I had couple of flights during pandemic and would like to note it over here with a wish we could fly as we used to pretty soon. Have a nice day and nice flight for you!
Flight Booking and Airline Physical Distancing
I have learned my lesson and I haven’t fully gained back my trust to travel agency ( both online and offline ). Direct booking still become my preference. Reason being ,with a direct booking in case you need to change your plan it will be easier. I had the experience where the airline has published the announcement giving the passenger a leeway but the implementation with service partner is another complexity. It took months to managed one of my old booking therefore when I become very careful for any upcoming trips since the whole process of changing your itinerary was quite frustrating for everyone involved. Another notes, I will suggest to go with Flagship airline of the country.
In 2020 many airlines conduct physical distancing in the airplane but as of now in Q2 2021 many don’t do it anymore so choose yours wisely. The one which still has physical distancing comes with a higher price. It might not stated very clearly for you but the distancing somehow being sold as an add on either you need to choose a higher ticket class or essentially you could purchase a seating zone in booking page just before you go to the payment.
Before Flying Preparation
Good, now you already have your booking you will need another preparation. It may change from time to time so you need to check during your flight time. For Indonesia Domestic flight it usually either PCR Negative result max 3 or 2 x 24 hours from your flight or Rapid Test Antigen Result max 2 or 1 x24 hours from your flight. It may vary depending on your destination. There is also a facility provided at the airport if you need one. Rapid test antigen is quite quick, based on my experience I could always get the result less than 20 minutes. Starting from Q1 2021 there are some health facilities which already connected to eHac ( Health application provided for travellers in Indonesia ) – more about it later.
At the Airport
Aaaahh… now the happy part. I literally smiling ear to ear the first time I put my feet at the Airport. Excited! I went to Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Jakarta Terminal 3 Ultimate. After you get there I suggest you to go to Gate 3 because you will need to validate your rapid test / pcr test result for boarding and the place is just right after you get in through Gate 3. The validation process is very quick and there are a lot of stations so this one could be finished within 5 minute or so. Once you have the validation get into the Check in / Baggage drop area. Well, you could still drop your baggage without the validation but you can’t go to the boarding room so just make sure you provide enough time for this.
When you are all set with all the validation and your luggage is packed you could proceed to the boarding room. When you are at the gate, the officer will ask for your boarding information including the COVID-19 test result validation before you could proceed further into the queue. when they are checking the info they will ask you to open your mask once to ensure that you are the same person as your identity information. If everything’s good then you could go into your boarding room.
Of course there are some measures in place such as temperature checking and the distancing. However, I found that we tend to forget it when we are in queue. My suggestion and this is what I did which seems to work. I didn’t wear N95 mask, i tried but I got dizzy so I opted for another one which by wearing KN95 mask doubled with Surgical Mask. I didn’t open it at all during the flight. So yes, hello fasting. LOL.
During the waiting time in the boarding room, It’s a good time to fill in your eHAC. eHAC is an Indonesia Electronic Health Alert Card. It’s being used by the government to do the tracing and also to give the latest information for travelling purpose. You could get your eHAC by installing the application on your phone. Once you have it installed you need to register yourself then you could go under your Account menu and to the HAC section. Over there you will need to create your HAC either you just arrived from abroad or you want to travel intercity within Indonesia. You will need to put your flight number and your seat number. HAC information won’t be necessary for you to board the airplane in your departure airport but this info will be scanned in your arrival airport. Based on my experience it’s better to fill the HAC before you land so yes boarding time is a good window time.
Without further ado, when you have been called for boarding make sure you grab everything ready mask on and try not to touch anything and distance yourself from others. We tend to forget all this in a queue. When i got into the airplane, well i think it depends on which flight that you choose, some put a stricter measure than the others. Still, I wiped everything down and sanitized my stuff and my hand. I observed that every passenger has their own ritual so relax no one will judge you, well unless you wear hazmat suit perhaps. Throughout the flight, I recommend this Do not rub your eyes or open your mask if it’s not necessary. Well, for me not opening my mask for drinking was not that hard. I think Ramadhan fasting has trained me therefore I could enjoy the flight. How could I not? My excitement level shot up the roof seeing the white cloud and blue water beneath. Enjoy the flight until your landing time.
Once you landed, the changes are about the same as the one in Soekarno Hatta Airport. The main difference is the eHAC checking part. So you need to show your HAC, there is a QR code generated for your visit and the officer will scan it through. Since you get it all ready before you depart it’s all good the process will be quick. After the scanning you could get into conveyor belt and there you are off you go to wherever your destination is.
Wish you could travel safely wherever you are.
Triana Mustika Rukmi