Two weeks ago, I came back home after Middle East Airlines announced that there will be an evacuation flight for Lebanese in Turkey from Istanbul to Beirut on the 11th of June.
This trip was different. I was excited to see the measures taken against COVID-19 and experience traveling in the days of the pandemic.
Before my flight to Beirut I had to take the coronavirus PCR test at least 72 hours before the flight. (Learn more about the different coronavirus tests here. If you have to take it, no need to worry about it! It’s slightly uncomfortable, but it’s really quick).
When the test was over, all I had left to do was book a plane from Ankara to Istanbul and pack my bags.
The trip was very long and tiring. First, I took a bus to Ankara’s Esenboğa airport. To ensure social distancing, more than half of the seats on the bus were left empty.
Bus to Ankara’s airport
The airport in Ankara was pretty empty.
They didn’t even bother to turn all the lights on 😁
The flight from Ankara to Istanbul was a Turkish Airlines flight, the plane was pretty empty. Only the window seats were occupied, which I thought was great.
No handbags were allowed on the plane, no food was served and hygiene kits were handed out.
Turkish Airlines has The Quran and documentaries about Islam which is nice 🙂
The airport in Istanbul was also empty. Hand sanitizers were everywhere and the airport staff was there to ensure social distancing and to make sure everyone was wearing a mask. I was even sitting in a corner with a group of Lebanese and one of them took her mask off to eat some chocolate, one of the airport staff came toward us and asked her to wear her mark on 😂.
The plane from Istanbul to Beirut was run by Middle East Airlines. Before checking in, our PCR test results were checked.
The plane was huge and completely full. I didn’t see a single empty seat. Masks were handed out before boarding.
As soon as the plane landed, and for some reason, many immediately stood up and starting moving around, taking their bags and getting ready to leave. Flight attendants tried to make passengers sit back since the plane hadn’t completely landed yet and was still shaking. Many started shouting, even yelling at the flight attendants. Everything was hectic!
In Beirut’s airport everyone was even more angry and no one was giving the staff’s instructions any attention.
Social distance was completely forgotten!
In the airport we filled a couple of forms regarding the place we live in in Turkey, the house in which we plan to spend our 14-days home-quarantine and our contact information. Our luggage and clothes were disinfected and we were free to go!
I tried waiting for my parents inside the airport, but was asked to wait outside. No one was allowed to stay inside to prevent crowding.
My 14-day quarantine ends tomorrow. I was expecting to receive phone calls and check-ups from The Ministry of Health or something to make sure I’m staying at home, but no one did.
Yaman was there to see me too ❤️