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Snippets from UK: India Sends Love to Britain on V-Day, Eases Way for Fully Vaccinated Travellers

Fully vaccinated UK travellers no longer need an RT-PCR test if they want to visit India, nor will they be subject to seven-day quarantine, or a day eight test.
(Representational image: Shutterstock)

Fully vaccinated UK travellers no longer need an RT-PCR test if they want to visit India, nor will they be subject to seven-day quarantine, or a day eight test. (Representational image: Shutterstock)

From the air traffic between the two countries set to soar to the flight fares shooting up, a roundup of what's making news at this time.

Long time coming: Just about every Indian in Britain received a Valentine’s gift, by way of an end to testing and quarantining for travel to India from Monday. Given the sharp drop in the number of cases in both countries, and a recognition everywhere that Omicron is not serious, this step was inevitable, and if anything, only cautiously delayed. This has become a space now to watch still, but not fear.

Yearning for more: Airlines, and passengers, are now eyeing the next step. That would take travel past the air bubble agreement between governments in both countries towards normal commercial scheduling. But the air bubbles have been in name more than in the air. Passengers have been booking online or through agents as before. What is now anticipated is very much more of this.

Put to the test: The new arrangements have brought a rumour mill of corruption in testing on arrival in India to a grinding halt. Social media has been buzzing with passenger testimonies of unfair treatment on arrival, to have been declared positive on arrival after testing negative on departure. Those stories failed to take account of the high transmissibility of Omicron among 200-300 passengers in the same confined space at airport terminals and onboard for a space of 12 hours or more. Most people are still just too susceptible to fall for allegations of corruption in India.

Fare play: An immediate fallout of the end of travel restrictions is a creeping rise in fares. Fears of delays on arrival, and risks of positive PCR tests were putting several passengers off. With that out of the way, an end to postponed travel has brought an inevitable rush towards bookings, feeding a rise in the cost of tickets, an opportunity that airlines never like to give up. Following two years of constrictions, perhaps a little understandably now.

The air business: The return towards normalcy in air travel has brought new hope if not new benefits quite yet to the tens of thousands of Indians living around Heathrow. For three generations now Indians have traditionally settled around the airport, to take up employment as airline staff, at the airport, and even more, at catering companies all around the airport, serving one of the world’s busiest airports. Work and income now beckon from the horizon.

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first published:February 15, 2022, 08:53 IST