Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid in India: Expats cancel travel plans, worry for families back home

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on April 23, 2021
File photo

Many residents who are stuck in India are exploring all options to grab a seat on the final flights to the UAE

Many Indian expats in the UAE, who had booked their tickets to India earlier, are either cancelling or rebooking their tickets following the UAE’s 10-day suspension of passenger flights from India.

And some UAE residents who are stuck in India after the announcement on Thursday are exploring all options to grab a seat on the final flights to the UAE on Saturday when the travel curbs take effect.

All flights from Indian destinations to the UAE are reportedly booked. Helpless residents are praying for the safety and well-being of loved ones stuck in India, where a new single-day record of 332,730 positive cases were reported on Friday.

Krilosh Panicker, a newlywed resident Keralite, is making desperate attempts to bring his wife to Dubai.

“I got a visit visa for my wife Parvathy this week. I had planned to bring her here in a few days but now striving hard for Saturday’s flight. With the validity of RT-PCR results reduced to 48 hours, my wife took tests on Thursday and Friday. I have tried many options from Thiruvananthapuram, be it checking airlines’ websites or calling up travel agents here and back in Kerala. I am told Air India Express has seats left on Thiruvananthapuram-Abu Dhabi sector but my wife is coming on visit visa and can’t land there. Another option I am exploring is a GoAir flight from Kochi to Sharjah for Saturday that costs more than Rs31,000.”

Krilosh is in regular contact with his wife, family and friends for any possible solutions. “I haven’t been occupied like this on a Friday. There is a fear factor among the families and public. The only relief is Kerala’s preparedness to deal with such a crisis. While I can easily wait for 10 days, I doubt there may be an extension on this suspension. You never know how things evolve.”

Meanwhile, resident Nirmal C.M. has postponed Friday’s Abu Dhabi-Kochi air ticket to next month.

“The situation is grim and unpredictable. And you never know if there will be an extension on this suspension by the UAE airlines. There is a good possibility it will. I had planned to visit Kerala with my family but seeing the way things have unfolded, I rebooked our tickets. We are safe here. I hope and pray for everyone in India,” Nirmal said.

Anurag Sharma, a Dubai resident, cancelled his Saturday flight ticket to New Delhi.

“This was a planned break. Of course, with the recent developments in India, I was reconsidering it. The UAE’s decision made me cancel my travel plan. It was a difficult choice to make at the moment. I know many of my dear ones who are in the hospital. It is scary. It is Ramadan, and we can only pray that the Delhi Government and our Prime Minister Narendra Modi are able to contain the pandemic,” Anurag added.


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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