PIA: Expat narrates his experience at the airport when he traveled to Pakistan from Canada
Ahmad A Saleh appreciated the efforts and precautionary measures taken by Pakistan and the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
A social media user Ahmed A Saleh has shared his experience of visiting Pakistan during the COVID-19 crisis. He appreciated the efforts and precautionary measures taken by Pakistan and the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Experience of Ahmed A Saleh
“Given the COVID-19 global crisis, I decided to make an emergency visit to Pakistan, and landed in Islamabad from on April the 4th, 2020.
Seats were assigned with a blocked place in between for all passengers. We were lucky to get a complete row of three to each of us (we were two passengers).
Islamabad was very well prepared to handle the COVID from the inbound passengers. It was an immense pleasure to watch our country on it’s toes, and so diligent. The thought process and perseverance are commendable and praiseworthy.
- Upon landing at Islamabad International Airport, all the passengers were seated within the departure lounge of the gate, the plane taxied, and SWAB tests were performed for each passenger. The passengers were issued a lab client ID against their CNIC. The reports are expected to be in within 24 hours.
- After the swab test, we were tested for temperature with two different devices installed at two different spots before the passport control.
- Once cleared, we moved to Passport control, got our entry stamped, and then to the carousel for baggage pickup.
- After picking up our luggage, we were directed, in groups of tens, to various buses to drop us at a hotel.
- We were assigned to the Regalia hotel in G-6 (Blue Area, Islamabad). My mother and myself are assigned separate rooms, a protocol ensured for all the travelers).
- Chicken Curry, Roti (flatbread), and salad was served for dinner.
Everything was provided at the airline/government expense (very surprising and much appreciated where most of us were ready to pay).
The least we can do is practice their measures and praise their effort.
It is a proud moment for all of us to witness such sanity being practiced in our country.
On the contrary, despite being highly organized and vigilant, the intent of social distancing was jeopardized. This happened repeatedly due to public non-cooperation which was not deliberate (including myself a few times such as standing closer to people and not shooing them away at points such as, the swab test area, while boarding the bus, getting rooms at the hotels). Rest, the passengers cooperated to best, and it was a very satisfying moment.
Other things to be noted:
Ticket Price: It was a whopping $2600 for two people, one-way (I mention this because I believe that in such hours of crisis, all the companies should show compassion, sadly, the PIA did not and charged a fortune. However, we still were the lucky ones as there were people who were flying at $1900 per person, one way. This is not a complaint but just a pure feeling because besides this and IFE, the PIA has captivated me entirely and booked me as their client for future)
Regretfully, IFE was not there, but we knew that before opting for the flight, so that does not count. Besides, excellent dinner (had four options), snacks and beverages (self-service throughout the flight) and breakfast, marvelous cabin crew, superb hospitality, and outstanding COVID measures. PIA has booked me as a permanent client for future travel.”
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