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US to India pandemic travel

US to India pandemic travel

Old Feb 8, 21, 8:28 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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US to India pandemic travel

I had to make a business trip to India and thought I'd follow up with some quick lessons learned!
  1. My business visa had expired, so I had to get a new one. The Indian eVisa site (the worst website on the planet) is inoperable, so had to work directly with the Consulate in Chicago to get my Visa. That process was extremely simple and straightforward. The Indian consulate was responsive and helpful. It took two days.
  2. I typically fly Emirates through Dubai, but I didn't want to deal with COVID requirements in another country, so I opted for the United EWR-> BOM route. The fare was significantly less expensive when booking two one ways vs. round trip.
  3. The India contact tracing app is supposedly required for entry into the country. The app does not work unless you have an India phone number, so I basically ignored that requirement and they never once asked for it.
  4. The Air Sudhiva website requires inbound travelers to upload their COVID test and some other documentation before outbound flight from the US. A person reviews and approves the documents a couple of days before your outbound flight. It worked perfectly.
  5. Make sure you schedule a COVID test so that RESULTS come back within 72 hours of the first outbound leg of the journey.
  6. EWR United Airlines staff were absolutely TERRIBLE. The pandemic has given many companies an excuse for poor customer service and this was the worst I have seen... just barking out orders and yelling at people at a checkpoint 100ft from the outbound gate. It was some of the worst that I've seen in 40 years of traveling.
  7. 777-300 Polaris service on United was comfortable. Great pillow and bedding. Essentially zero service from the flight attendants and warm pre-packaged meals that provided calories and sustenance but not much more. I book business class for the bed and that's what I got. Nothing more, nothing less. Flight attendants on the long haul from EWR to BOM were terrible. Not helpful, grumpy and essentially just sat on their phones for most of the flight. It wouldn't have been hard for them to safely deliver better service.
  8. Arrival in BOM wasn't bad... just after the jet way they looked at one of the COVID forms. Immigration was normal... very fast and efficient. Just checked the visa, stamped and sent me on my way.
  9. After collecting luggage and scurrying past customs, there was one more folding table with no staff right by the exit doors to Ground Transportation. I tried walking around it and a gentleman asked me to fill out one form. Then after a few minutes, another guy read my COVID test line by line carefully noting test dates and other details.
  10. After closely reading that test, that person walked me to the exit door and instructed a security guard to unlock the exit door. That was absolutely surreal. The door to ground transportation was locked!
  11. Being masked up for around 30 hours each way isn't super fun, but you get used to it. Not a big deal.
The return was fairly simple. I got two COVID tests in India just in case one was delayed. Their testing was professional, quick and easy with results in < 24 hours. I uploaded the PDF to a United Airlines website and the results were approved manually a few minutes later. I then showed the COVID test at the baggage check counter in DEL (different return airport). It was the last time I showed that document and US Immigrations and Customs was totally normal without any additional checks. I did notice a thermal scanner in DEL and there was people EVERYWHERE in India zapping me for temp checks.

Overall, smooth and manageable. The show must go on! And the next time it goes on for me will DEFINITELY be on a different airline. I'm normally an MSP Delta guy and you get spoiled quickly. Even during the pandemic, Delta has been amazing.

Cheers!
Shiltsy is offline  
Old Feb 17, 21, 2:03 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
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Did you have any issues in flying commercial to India? Everything I read says that you can fly commercial if you have a business visa, but then some places say that commercial flights are suspended. Just wanted clarification.
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Old Feb 23, 21, 1:25 am
  #3  
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No problems flying into India on a Business visa. If you can deal with watching how UA treats economy passengers flying to India at the EWR gate, rest should be smooth sailing. I agree with OP, UA crew can do so much better. It's a pity. Overall, if you don't fall off to sleep, it's depressing flying this route now. If not for Polaris, I'd stay home.
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Old Mar 10, 21, 2:30 am
  #4  
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Thank you for sharing! Hate to hear business class sounds like coach with a bed.
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Old Mar 13, 21, 1:59 pm
  #5  
 
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Covid Advice Needed: Travel SFO-CCU RT in April

SFO-CCU RT

Hello:

I would appreciate some helpful advice from people who have taken QR or UA on this route.

I will finally resume my travels again, and have a trip I want to take in April.

I used to take this route about 9x a year on CX and bank my miles to AA.

CX hasn't started their flights again, so I know I can take UA to DEL and Vistara to CCU, but I would really like to avoid the 6 hour wait in DEL at night, would prefer to arrive into CCU directly late night so that I can get a few hours of sleep before getting to work, and of course credit miles on a OW carrier.

So, can anyone help in telling me what are the different covid requirements (testing, reporting etc) between UA and QR, obviously because I will have to transit in DOH ?

I would really prefer to take QR for the miles and far superior J product, but not if there are additional hurdles (covid testing etc) to take into account while transiting through DOH.

One question I do have is that I believe that India and the US both require a negative test report within 72 hours. Does this 72 hours start from the last flight boarded to the country of destination, or just the first flight on the itinerary ?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old Mar 13, 21, 4:02 pm
  #6  
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The requirements are not imposed by UA or QR, but rather by your destination jurisdiction(s). Thus, they are the same, no matter the carrier.

You can check TIMATIC for each specific routing that you are considering, bearing in mind that the requirements could change tomorrow and then again. Not something to generalize, thus the recommendation for TIMATIC.

A strong suggestion that you check TIMATIC for the routing(s) you are considering. Testing and quarantine requirements are not imposed by the air carriers, but rather by the destination and transit points you select.

Having done that, it is worth remaining flexible because requirements do change and sometimes with little notice.
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Last edited by NewbieRunner; Mar 13, 21 at 4:10 pm Reason: Merge consecutive posts by same member
Often1 is offline  
Old Mar 22, 21, 4:19 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
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Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
SFO-CCU RT


So, can anyone help in telling me what are the different covid requirements (testing, reporting etc) between UA and QR, obviously because I will have to transit in DOH ?

I would really prefer to take QR for the miles and far superior J product, but not if there are additional hurdles (covid testing etc) to take into account while transiting through DOH.

One question I do have is that I believe that India and the US both require a negative test report within 72 hours. Does this 72 hours start from the last flight boarded to the country of destination, or just the first flight on the itinerary ?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
72 hours starts from your first flight at the origin country. In case you transit via the middle east (QR) you will require a second test on arrival in India. If you take UA there is no further testing on arrival.

You may also go through the India forum and this thread for more information.

If you are not an Indian citizen or OCI, check whether your visa is valid for travel in April. India is not admitting tourists at this point.
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Last edited by superboi; Mar 22, 21 at 4:22 am Reason: added links
superboi is offline  
Old Apr 3, 21, 8:58 pm
  #8  
 
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Thanks for the info. I chose QR this time, but I might take UA on following trips just to avoid the 2nd test at DEL. I believe I can just take the 2nd test at DEL and exit/transit to my next flight on UK to CCU, without waiting for results (unlike flights/passengers from South Africa, Brazil, and the UK, I think).

I have both OCI and a Business Visa (B2). I believe either is fine for visiting India. I believe tourist visa holders (T) cannot visit India at this time.

I have also gotten both Covid vaccinations, so let's hope they come out with a simplified requirement for those of us that have been vaccinated.
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Old Apr 3, 21, 9:53 pm
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by superboi View Post
72 hours starts from your first flight at the origin country. In case you transit via the middle east (QR) you will require a second test on arrival in India. If you take UA there is no further testing on arrival.

You may also go through the India forum and this thread for more information.

If you are not an Indian citizen or OCI, check whether your visa is valid for travel in April. India is not admitting tourists at this point.
Hello, if you would know, could you please confirm that I can just exit and transit after my 2nd test in DEL upon arrival without waiting for results ? That is what I am reading at least, unless someone is coming from Brazil, South Africa, or the UK ?

Thanks
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Old Apr 3, 21, 9:54 pm
  #10  
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My sister in law just landed a few hours going via DOH on QR and I'll see what info she can share.
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Old Apr 12, 21, 1:14 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by SamirD View Post
My sister in law just landed a few hours going via DOH on QR and I'll see what info she can share.
Please let us know what she experienced. Thanks
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