While the process of choosing passengers for the flights from other countries to India has been left to the High Commissions/Consulates/Embassies of India in those respective countries, Air India is also selling seats on the outward flights at the moment. In Phase 1, flights to the USA went almost full.
Now that Phase 2 of the project to bring back Indians from abroad is launching, Air India is going to be selling tickets on some flights as well in Phase 2. Air India will only be selling tickets on the outwards flights to Singapore, Germany, France, Australia United Kingdom and the United States of America for now. These tickets will be available for sale at 6 pm on May 14, 2020.
To book these flights, you have to head to this specific Air India website. I have put together a list of all the Air India flights bookable on the Air India website for now along with the current advisory applicable. In the end, you will also see a complete list of all the flights being operated by Air India from India.
Foreign nationals are permitted, however, all passengers arriving into Ireland via Dublin Airport including Irish citizens to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival
Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Pass holders allowed to board. Any other country citizen holding any category of Visa i.e Long Term employment etc. requires prior written approval from the Ministry of Manpower or Immigration of Singapore. Every Traveler entering Singapore will be required to serve a 14-day SHN (Stay Home Notice) at a dedicated Quarantine facility.
Arrival and departure flights are allowed and no restriction on Passenger movement.
There is no restriction for Indian Passport holders who are holding valid visas for the US. Passengers who have transited or have been in certain countries in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter the USA.
Indian citizens seeking to travel on outbound Air India flights to the US, on the basis of their F1 visas, for higher studies may NOT be able to travel to the USA on the current Air India repatriation flights under Mission Vande Bharat if their F or M category visa has less than 6 months validity from the date of planned departure or they are a new admission case and have not as yet joined their educational institution before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Following are permitted: EU Citizens Passengers with Residence permit and Long term working visa (e.g. Blue cardholders) are permitted. Non-citizens are not permitted. Compulsory Home Quarantine 14 days.
The following passengers are allowed:
- Spouses and children of French citizens
- Nationals of third countries limited to persons who have their main residence in France or in the European Union or an assimilated country thereof (United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland, Vatican and San Marino), holders of a valid French or European residence permit or long-stay visa, and their spouses and children;
- Persons in transit to their country of origin, who should present the travel document for their country of origin and remain in the international zone without entering the national territory;
- Holders of Permanent Residence are allowed
- New Zealand Citizens usually resident in Australia
- Immediate family of an Australian citizen / permanent resident
- Guardians of children as permitted by law
Following are permitted:
- Permanent residents
- Immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident which includes: spouse or common-law partner of the person; a dependent child of the person or the person’s spouse or common-law partner; a dependent child of a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; the parent or step-parent of the person or person’s spouse or common-law partner; or the guardian or tutor of the person.
- Passengers arriving from the USA. They must travel for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose.
- International students who hold a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020.
- Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 18, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
- A person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act, a protected person under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
14 days quarantine upon arrival.
Here is the full list of flights to be operated from India to other countries as a part of Phase 2 of the Vande Bharat Mission.
What to expect on the plane?
Air India’s Standard Operating Procedure for these flights includes handing out masks and sanitizers to every passenger boarding. Only Water Bottles and pre-packed snacks will be offered to the passengers, so it is well advised to have a full meal or carry some protein bars and carry a tablet full of your own content if you want to watch something on these flights given there will be no internet connectivity on board. Here is an experience from someone who flew on the Mumbai to Newark flight about what to expect onboard one of these flights.
I expect that there will be more flights at some point in the future, for now, however, there are only going to be these ones to use. The reason most of these flights are usually from Delhi because are the bases of these aircraft, and Air India is trying to help some people getting them on the empty legs too. Although, of course, the prices are eye-watering and they are making reasonable profits on these flights.
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