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My Journey From London, UK To India (Hyderabad/BBI) During Corona in 2022 | Things To Know & Do, International Solo Trip

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Are you planning to visit India in 2022? I recently traveled from London Heathrow Airport To Bhubaneswar (BBI), India via Hyderabad airport in January 2022. Traveling during this Corona pandemic is no fun! However, if you have a solid reason for an international trip, (all alone like me), then read this post until the end. I have shared everything, from COVID travel rules for international passengers 2022, what you need at the airports to my real-life travel experience amidst pandemic in the article. So, keep scrolling down!

Why I decided to Travel during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022?

Ah! I had no intention to travel during this pandemic. But my father was hospitalized, and my ailing parents needed me to be with them. My elder sister was already with my parents at that time. Unfortunately, she also encountered an accident and got both her legs and left hand fractured! Even though the Corona Omicron variant cases were rising in both the countries (UK & INDIA) in January 2022, I had no other option but to travel to my place and be with my family.

How To Travel Internationally Amid Corona Pandemic In 2022?

As I said before, traveling amid a pandemic is no fun, especially if you are traveling alone (& that too for the first time)! 

First thing first, check out the latest COVID-19 special travel guidelines for national and international passengers of each airport (and airlines) that you’ll visit during your trip. In my case, I had to go through LHR airport, Hyderabad airport, and Biju Patnaik International Airport (BBI) rulesplus British Airways & Indigo airlines guidelines before my trip. It is important because you’ll have to keep all the essential documents in place (in case you need to submit or show them to anyone at the airport).

Besides, the UK was listed among the top at-risk countries list when I made that trip to India. Remember, guidelines for at-risk & non-at-risk countries are a bit different. Always be prepared for everything as travel rules keep changing depending on the number of cases in a country.

Next, not just the airports/airlines check out the new SOP released by the individual cities/states. As per the previous travel itinerary, my final destination was Guwahati airport, Assam (so I could enter my hometown via Silchar). However, according to the new SOP released by the Assam state Govt. on 7th Jan 2022, only fully vaccinated people could enter the state. I had to change my destination from Guwahati to BBI, Odisha.

NOTE: I am sharing all the info and details, whatever I experienced during my trip to India in January 2022.  Therefore, it doesn’t mean that you’ll face the same thing on your next India trip. The travel rules are changing everyday, hence, please stay updated. Better be safe than sorry!!

London Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom:

As per the UK Govt. international travel rules in January 2022 were- 

To travel to India, all the passengers have to do-

RTPCR test within 72 hours before the journey 

(I booked my test at the BOOTS store located at Regents street and got my result within 24 hours! If you are doing this PCR test for the first time, then don’t worry. Breathe in and out continuously for the nostrils sample and make a heavy “AAA” sound when they take the sample from your throat. I got these tips from that test center!).  

Fill in Air Subidha Portal Self declaration form online 

Once you receive the negative test report, fill in the Air Subidha self-declaration form and upload the NEGATIVE test report on the online portal. 

Total 14 days quarantine period once you land at your destination city (7 days home quarantine, RTPCR test on 8th day and upload the result on Air Subidha Portal again, the next seven days monitor your health).

London Heathrow Airport

NOTE: Kindly cross-check everything. Visit airport/airline sites for the latest rules because COVID travel guidelines are changing every day. Always follow the COVID-19 travel protocols when you’re at the airport.

Those who are traveling for the first time from London to India (or any nation) via London Heathrow Airport, please know that there is no immigration center at the departure area. Only those who are arriving at this airport from a different nation have to go through the immigration process. Therefore, it’s fine if you reach the airport at least 3 hours before your journey. 

I did my flight web check-in from home and then grabbed my luggage tags at the airport. When you enter the security check-in area, you’ll see a lady with some clear plastic bags there. So if you’re carrying liquids in your handbag, take a clear plastic bag from that lady and securely place those liquids inside the bag. Read these below posts to know about TSA-approved airport liquid rules. 

Please note, for the security check, just remove your jacket, liquids, if any (includes hand sanitizer), and laptop from your handbag. You can keep the rest of things (chargers/phones/tabs/power banks) inside your cabin baggage. There are multiple hand sanitizing points at London Heathrow Airport, no worries. 

My flight for Hyderabad (BA 277) departed sharply at 2.55 pm from terminal 5, LHR airport, and arrived at about 6 am the next day at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Hyderabad, India.  

We didn’t get any face masks or face shields from the airline crew members. So make sure you are wearing a fresh, good face mask to protect yourself. They gave us anti-bacterial hand sanitizing wipes, though! I was fasting that day, so I didn’t drink or eat during my 10 hours long-haul journey. 

At the time of landing, the flight attendant gave us two self-declaration forms. We were told to fill in those forms and submit them at the APHO/State Health & Immigration at Hyderabad airport. 

Flight BA 277, British Airways

Note: The same form you can pre-download from the Hyderabad airport website. My husband downloaded those forms before my trip. We filled up the forms with the correct details and took physical copies with me in case, I needed to submit/show anything at the airport. 

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad, India:

When I traveled in Jan 2022, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport travel rules for International passengers arriving from at-risk countries were – 

✅ All passengers must do RTPCR test upon arrival

(I booked a rapid PCR test online via MapMyGenome. I had the physical copies of my prepaid test receipt with me. You can show them your test booking on your mobile phone as well). 

✅ All international arriving passengers mandatorily submit the fully-filled self-reporting form to APHO & duplicate stamped copy to Immigration

✅ 14 days quarantine period

(7 days self-quarantine at home, the next seven days monitor your health, RTPCR test on 8th day and upload the result on Air Subidha Portal again. I had a connecting flight to Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Hence, I did my quarantine at my final destination city, Cuttack, Odisha).

NOTE: Kindly cross-check everything. Visit airport/airline sites for the latest rules because COVID travel guidelines are changing every day. Always follow the COVID-19 travel protocols when you’re at the airport.

After reading all the airport rules/online articles/news/airline websites, what we guessed –

The flight arrives – Thermal screening – APHO (submit one health self-reporting form) – Get your Token Number – Do the PCR test – Wait for the result (2 hrs for rapid test and 5 hrs for standard) – Immigration (submit 2nd copy of self-reporting form) – exit/transit.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED WITH ME AT THE AIRPORT –

So, our flight landed at the Hyderabad airport at about 6 am on Wednesday. As I mentioned earlier, the crew members gave us two self-declaration forms to submit at the airport.

All Important Travel Documents

I was the third passenger when I exited the flight, so I got the token number 3. A lady gave me that token number and guided us directly to the MapMyGenome COVID test center. We didn’t see the APHO counter there at the arrival port. 

They took a sample from my nose and told me to wait two hours for the result. There is a dedicated waiting area with a good seating arrangement and a food stall. 

Even though I paid for a rapid PCR test and was the 3rd passenger, I had to wait for about 3 hours to get my report! People who arrived late got their results before some of us that left us angry & betrayed! I was lucky because I had sufficient time (6 hours) on hand to catch my next connecting flight. So, be prepared for this kind of experience also at this airport.

Next, I headed over to the immigration counter. I asked the ground staff about the APHO/State Health counter, but he replied not needed! I also asked him, what about the self-reporting forms and this negative RTPCR test report? Don’t I have to show or submit these forms (given by the cabin crew members) and test result to anyone there? He said, nope! I only need to go to the immigration officer, and that’s all. 

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad, India

Before entering the immigration center, the security lady had put a “home quarantine” stamp on my right hand. I quickly gave my passport to the immigration officer, and once the checking got finished, he asked a boy to take my local number so they could contact me later. 

Remember, if you don’t have an active Indian number, kindly arrange an alternate number. That boy didn’t take my London postpaid phone number and forced me to give an Indian one. So I gave him my FIL’s number, which, anyway, was my alternate contact number (attached with Air Subidha Portal form/tickets) for this India trip. 

Upon reaching my final destination, Cuttack, Odisha, they did contact me on the 3rd day and asked my FIL about my health. I stayed at my in-laws’ place and spent my 14-day quarantine (7 days self-isolation at a separate room & 7 days self-health monitor) at home. Even though all my RTPCR test reports were NEGATIVE, I didn’t want to take any risk! Hence, everything went smoothly and fine. 

Kindly note I didn’t have to submit those self-reporting forms to anyone at the airport. Maybe because my flight landed super early in the morning, or the rules were changed when I arrived in the city. That’s why I request you all to be well-prepared before your trip. You never know your experience might differ from me completely! 

By the way, as per India travel guidelines, a passenger on an international flight landing at any airport in the country should possess a copy of the self-declaration – Subidha Portal form. Honestly, I carried several copies of EVERY travel document with me, so I don’t face any issues at the airport! 

Next, I had to go through the security check-in again before collecting my luggage from the Baggage Collection area.  

Since I had a connecting flight to Bhubaneswar, Odisha, I immediately headed to the departure terminal via lift(the second level of the same building). If you need a local Indian sim card there is a shop right at the arrival gate exit point. 

At the departure terminal, I dropped off my baggage, at the INDIGO check-in counter and grabbed my luggage tags. There are multiple hand sanitizing points at the departure terminal as well. I have to say, be prepared to remove everything from your cabin baggage (like a laptop, jacket, chargers, phone/tablet, power banks) at the domestic security check-in area. 

My flight from Hyderabad to BBI was Indigo 6E 922 (departed at 2.50 pm and landed at 4.20 pm). I expected to receive a face mask, face shield, and sanitizers from the airline members before boarding the flight amid the pandemic, but we didn’t get any. Hence, I am again telling you to wear a good face mask and keep a hand sanitizer to protect yourself if you’re traveling these days. We arrived at the Bhubaneswar airport at the right time.

As mentioned above, on the 3rd day, I got a call from the concerned team. They wanted to know about my health and quarantine status. On the 8th day, I did the RTPCR test again at a State Govt. approved agency at Cuttack, Odisha. I submitted my NEGATIVE test report on the Air Subidha portal the next day. And thus, the formal procedures of my solo international trip from the at-risk country United Kingdom (18th Jan) to India ended on 1st-February 2022 on a good note.  

NOTE: I am sharing all the info, and details of whatever I experienced during my trip to India in January 2022. Therefore, it doesn’t mean that you’ll face the same thing on your next India trip from the UK/any nation 🙂. The travel rules are changing every day. Hence, please stay updated. Better be safe than sorry!!

I am still unable to enter my home state Assam as I am not fully vaccinated! However, I am now in Lucknow with my parents at my elder sister’s place for my father’s further treatments. All I need is your good wishes for him, so he can get well soon. By the way, I had to do RTPCR tests again before boarding the flight for Lucknow from Bhubaneswar, Odisha. 

I hope you found the info and my travel experience amid the Corona pandemic blog post helpful and informative. I tried my best to give as much information as possible in this article. 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY READING THESE POSTS:

I request you to go through the latest COVID special travel rules, for India before you book your tickets. In case, you have any questions or need any further information, please, let me know in the comment section below.

Everything Enchanting

View Comments

  • The pandemic really messed up my hopes of traveling out of country, but this article really did provide me with helpful tips.

  • Great information! I personally don't plan on traveling anytime soon, but posts like these are always very helpful to read and keep in mind, just in case I do end up going somewhere.

  • This sounds like it was quite an ordeal for you, but I completely understand your wanting to be with your parents while your dad was in hospital!

  • Oh my, what an adventure. We'll be heading to London this summer and as of now it looks like they are forgoing all covid procedures and I hope it stays like that!

  • We're not comfortable yet with traveling, especially international while Covid is still spreading, but we may consider doing some road trips or short flights in the states.

  • This is helpful information. I hope that with the covid spike going down, that travel is even easier.

  • Amazing information, thank you so much. I miss traveling so much, last time I've been to India was three years ago, I miss it so much.

  • Very detailed information about your journey. This will be very helpful to those who are eyeing to travel in the mentioned location.

  • Really useful information. I have travelled a few times during the pandemic and honestly feel it is a lot safer than you think it might be. I do think it's important we all start travelling again and it is becoming easier now.

  • Although I do not plan on traveling right now I enjoyed reading your post. I think it was so in-depth and would be helpful to anyone that decides to travel to India. You were great to explain to always check since the rules are changing every day. Also to be prepared or over-prepared so you are ready for anything. Awesome post! I hope your parents get better, and I also hope your sister heals well. I should say that my hopes for you are that you don't get sick! So take care of yourself.

  • I haven't traveled this pandemic because of fear and restrictions. But I'm happy with your journey. Thanks for sharing it,.

  • It's so tricky having to travel now...I think taking all the necessary precautions are important. I'm sorry you had to travel under such conditions. I will keep your parents in my prayers.

  • Wow, what a journey! I'm saving this post because we are traveling overseas this summer so this can help me prepare. Glad you got home safely!

  • I am staying put for now but cannot wait to travel abroad sometime soon ;) Loved your post and appreciate your sharing!

  • It has been 3 years now since my family and I have travelled to Asia to see family members but I do hope we get a chance to soon. Your tips are so helpful so thank you for sharing

  • It is interesting to hear about how travel regulations are evolving through the pandemic. This is a lot of travel and good to know.

  • I wouldn't mind visiting India. My son's wife is from there so we could stay with her family. I don't think it's going to be this year though.

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Hey there, welcome to Everything Enchanting Blog. My name is Anamika, the founder & editor of EE. Here, my team & I’ll share everything from beauty, travel, health & wellness, blogging, video editing related stuff to fashion, food and all things enchanting!!

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