‘Finally Back From Turkey After 3 Months Via Repatriation Flight’

The flight attendants looked like people from out of space with all their protective gear.

Published11 Jun 2020, 02:58 PM IST
My Report
4 min read

At last the long wait was over. Three months in Turkey were great but we were wanting and waiting to touch home ground. We woke up early on 8 June, the day of departure with all the excitement and apprehension about the flight. It was a rescue flight and we had no clue how things would pan out.

The officials from the Indian Embassy were waiting at the Turkey International Airport to greet us and put our minds to rest.
The officials from the Indian Embassy were waiting at the Turkey International Airport to greet us and put our minds to rest.
(Photo Courtesy: Carol Mitra)

India‘s Vande Bharat Mission with Air India took three months to organise and the Indian Embassy in Turkey worked very hard to bring us back home. The officials from the Indian Embassy were waiting at the Turkey International Airport to greet us and put our minds to rest.

We were made to fill up forms with our details about home and health. We were given a packet each with refreshments and were escorted to immigration, our tickets were stamped as our visas had expired.

 We were given a packet each with refreshments and were escorted to immigration, our tickets were stamped as our visa’s had expired.
We were given a packet each with refreshments and were escorted to immigration, our tickets were stamped as our visa’s had expired.
(Photo Courtesy: Carol Mitra)

All the while we had to maintain social distancing so the time taken in a usual scenario was more than double. The only problem we faced was the air-conditioning was not switched on as there were hardly any passengers.

Some parts of the airport looked like a ghost town with white coverings.
Some parts of the airport looked like a ghost town with white coverings.
(Photo Courtesy: Carol Mitra)

Some parts of the airport looked like a ghost town with white coverings. It was a bit unnerving to say the least.

At last it was time to board the flight and the coolest part was that the rescue flight no. was the same as the year that I was born, AI 1966.

The flight attendants looked like people from out of space with all their protective gear. They handed over masks, face shields and sanitizers to us on the way into the aircraft and requested to be seated at all times.

They handed over masks, face shields and sanitizers to us on the way into the aircraft and requested to be seated at all times.
They handed over masks, face shields and sanitizers to us on the way into the aircraft and requested to be seated at all times.
(Photo Courtesy: Carol Mitra)

It was a Dreamliner and we were 176 people in total. We were seated with middle seats kept empty so that the social distancing was maintained.

There was no inflight entertainment.

Food was given to us in white plastic packets and it was well stocked with two bottles of water, a paneer sandwich, a veg patty, a kochori, a packet of cookies, a juice packet, packets of chanachur, a slice of cake, a brownie and a Kitkat chocolate.

It was a smooth flight which took five and a half hour in total and when it touched ground there was a loud cheer from the passengers and everyone was clapping for joy. What a relief to be on Indian soil.

On Home Turf at Last

All the while we had to maintain social distancing so the time taken in a usual scenario was more than double.
All the while we had to maintain social distancing so the time taken in a usual scenario was more than double.
(Photo Courtesy: Carol Mitra)

We then exited the plane, all the while maintaining social distancing. There were six desks with people manning it.

First our temperature was checked we had to submit our health forms then a sticker with an alphabet and number were stuck on the back of our passports and we had to make a group of 20 people. The alphabet was our Group-T and the number was us. Mine was No.9.

We were headed by a CRPF officer, who had a no nonsense attitude and made us fall into line immediately. First we were taken for immigration and after that we were marched off to collect our luggage. Finally, off to customs. All this took an hour, it was the same story at the Delhi Airport with no air-conditioning, it was too hot, ghostly appearance but we ploughed through.

We were taken out of the exit gate and we saw some Delhi state buses lined up. But this was not the end. We were led into a huge hall, luckily the air-conditioning was running here but unfortunately we had to wait the longest out here. From 1.30 am to 3.30 am.

First our passports were given to the people who were handing out forms to fill-up about which hotel we would choose for our seven day quarantine.

A list of about 10 hotels were shared. As most were full, we had to choose from the ones available and waited our turn to board the bus. This part was a total mess as we waited nearly an hour to be dropped to our respective hotels.

Our names were called out, we exited with our luggage, and lo and behold, we boarded the state buses with luggage and all, social distancing was kicked out the window literally. The bus was escorted by a police vehicle in front and each one was dropped to their respective hotels. Our passports were handed over to the hotel staff. We were allotted rooms on floors that were especially ear marked to us foreign returnees.

We entered the room at exactly at 5 am, it was already light. Signalling a brand new day and our seven days hotel quarantine had begun, seven days at home to round it up. We will get ‘clear’ certificates from the hotel and after 14 days at home, a visit by government staff. Hoping and waiting for that day.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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