The first direct flight by the Singapore airlines carrier from Singapore to Kochi landed on the 29th of November 2021, after a 20-month hiatus. The announcement of the resumption of select flights to the city of Kochi from the lion city was a sigh of relief for many Keralites stuck in the city-state due to the pandemic.
However, 2 days after resumption of services, the passenger elations were stumped by the overwhelmingly disappointing experience they had at the CIAL airport. After a normal check out from immigration, it seems they ran into a highly underprepared and unplanned health authority entourage.
After they were asked to undergo PCR tests on arrival, most of these passengers had to wait a mammoth 4 to 5-hour period at the least before they received their results. They were not allowed to leave the airport premises due to renewed COVID control protocols, which were not enforced on the first flight. The fact that UK and Germany flights simultaneously arrived at the same moment did not help expediting the protocols, much in line with Kochi’s notoriety for tardiness.
After a lot of vociferous exchanges, the tired and starving passengers (inclusive of children and infants) were given some tea. And that was pretty much the only reparations provided. Further, they called out names of people publicly and took some random samples for re-test with no technical protocols or standard safe practices.
This is extremely disheartening considering the hardships of the returning Indian citizens who have to undergo harassment such as this in their own country, due to lack of planning and preparation from the authorities.