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It is crazy times in the travel world. Can I get an Amen?! At the moment even the word travel can give people a panic attack. Things are so different now for all of us. I am hopeful this recap of TeamRyanAdventures recent wonderful experience traveling internationally with Delta and Delta SkyTeam Partners, KLM (Dubai-Amesterdam-Atlanta) during these are unprecedented times will give guidance and peace of mind to all who need it this Christmas season (and until this pandemic passes).
COvid-19 Travel & immigration updates
My husband (our international travel planning whiz) began by daily checking departing & arrival country of quarantine requirements on www.newlandchase.com
**The “COVID-19: Latest Travel and Immigration Updates” gives travelers daily updated information on countries travel & quarantine regulations.
Delta & Delta SkyTeam Partners KLM also send out requirements 7 days prior to flight which is very nice. Many would never know about websites that offer regulation information. (Thankfully because of my man even my non planning self knows about the website now!)
DEPARTURE FROM THE UAE
The UAE and many airlines require a negative test PCR COVID-19 test 96 hours prior to international flights for all over 12 years of age. My husband and I opted for 48 hours just to let those we would be visiting have more security. We recommend printing your results to take to airport & keep hard copy with you during travel
We flew out of Dubai (DXB) due to our flight schedules constantly changing. After speaking with many travel agents and those who are traveling both internationally and domestically this is the norm at the moment. The night of travel we took a taxi to Dubai from Abu Dhabi.
Arriving at Dubai airport the main difference was the lack of people traveling. Dubai airport is usually so fun as I simply love to people watch, but sadly it was a bit empty. We did not fly from the main terminal though so that possibly could be different. The KLM check-in counter began by asking for our Proof of negative PCR test. They only issued our boarding passes for our flight to Amsterdam at DXB. We would to get boarding passes for our final destination flight in Amsterdam. *No tests or proof of tests for our girls as they are all under the age of 7.*
In Amsterdam at the KLM Lounge we received our boarding passes for Atlanta. (Further down in the article you will find information on food, beverage and the lounges.) No additional proof of negative test required as we were flying to Atlanta, but upon arrival into AMS we did have to fill out a health declaration form.
Upon arriving at Atlanta (ATL), no additional negative test result checks were done, but we completed a health declaration form.
Return flight from ATL to DXB via AMS
After booking our international flights and checking requirements we immediately located a testing facility in the US. Most places did not guarantee results within 24 hours. My husband, the planner did his recon work on this and it took time which made things a little tricky. He finally found a facility that did PCR COVID-19 test for travel and thankfully they accepted our insurance. We had our negative results within 24 hours. Again, we printed test results and kept a hard copy with us while traveling.
ATL TO AMS
Upon arriving at the Delta check-in counter in ATL proof of negative test was required. Again, only our ticket for our flight to Amsterdam was provided. We would need to get boarding passes for next flight in Amsterdam. *No tests or proof of tests for our girls as they are all under the age of 7.*
AMS to DXB
AMS examined our negative COVID-19 test results and we completed a health declaration form prior to boarding. This verification took place at a separate gate from our boarding gate. Once cleared, we proceeded to our gate and asked to provide the stamped form prior to boarding the plane.
On the flight
We felt very safe on the plane. They sanitize planes before boarding & they give wipes upon entering. On the plane the air circulates every 2-6 minutes. They also use industrial grade HEPA filters which is very comforting.
I highly recommend going on the website of the airline you are flying and reading up on any questions and concerns you may have. We went on delta.com as they have tons of information in regards to the Delta CareStandard. The Delta CareStandard focuses on keeping passengers safe throughout the entire travel experience. As a mama traveling with her babies in a pandemic this provides more comfort than one can imagine.
We did invest in hand sanitizer, wipes & travel size Lysol disinfectant spray for our trip. We used all items at our discretion throughout our travel. Airports, lounges and planes are all being sanitized and very cautious. We diligently practiced washing hands every time we had the opportunity. Even our smallest who is under the age of 2 knows the drill when it comes to hand washing and using sanitizer.
During travel masks are worn in airport, lounges & on flight unless you are consuming food or beverages. We brought a bag of extra children masks for our girls. They went through many masks over the trip. Disposable masks break easily. Reusable masks “disappear” like socks in a dryer. Overall though they rocked the masks very well. If your child does not normally wear a mask I recommend having them wear one prior to travel. Our 7 year old wears it at school daily and knows the drill, but our 4 year old battles the mask from time to time. She did her best to be diligent in keeping it on. A few slip ups mainly for blow pops, photos and chats with mommy, but overall I am very proud of her commitment to keeping herself and those around her safe.
Food & Beverage
Lounges are serving more prepackaged food. They are also mostly self-service (apart from the hot buffets and bar). This can make the lounge lines a tad long at the bar or buffet area. Coffee and some self serve items are available. Honestly we were just happy they were serving & open. (NOTE: We are all consuming or about to consume food and beverages in the photo above. I think they had chips and mommy brought candy so everyone is smiling!)
Many airport restaurants were closed or low on menu items. We looked for pizza in both ATL and AMS and were unsuccessful in our searches. After speaking to airport staff a number of restaurants are not open at this time.
Airplane food & beverage was a tad different. This is to be expected. Delta recommended that we bring certain snacks and so we did. They also allowed for the girls to make changes to their menus which was very kind.
My husband and I found food and beverage not much different. Flying Delta One and Delta SkyTeam Partner KLM World Business Class, the main difference was no drinks served prior to take off. This is usually when I am getting my kiddos situated so I did not notice, but if you fly business and expect this service you may want to inquire prior to your flight. A few items that our girls like were not available, but the staff made more than sure they were more than happy. In speaking with the airlines it is the country you are flying to & from that often determines the rules on food and beverage. In all honesty Flight Attendants (just like teachers) are front line workers in my opinion at the moment and going above and beyond the call of duty,
This was definitely different in DXB, AMS and ATL. Most Duty Free is roped off and some areas are closed. Perhaps if you travel mid day this will be different. Duty free is where I stock up on items like cosmetics and stocking stuffers and unfortunately this was not as easily as accessible as usual. (Amazon to the rescue.)
ARRIVALS & BAGGAGE
Arriving into ATL was very different. The positive in this was the lines are shorter due to less people traveling. Most people working at the airport demonstrated extra grace & patience to those traveling. One lady gently stated the rules and kindly welcomed my girls back to the USA. In going to our rental car area we learned the shuttle driver cannot help with your bags at all. (It was similar to getting on and off the train in Europe lol. You bring it-you carry it mentality.) It was ok just a bit of huffing & puffing lol. I have never been one to travel light no matter how hard I try. Thankfully my husband is used to it.
As far as social distancing the airlines and airports do recommend it, but travellers definitely still love to get on and off a plane 1st. Thankfully, I am totally ok boarding and getting off the plane LAST unless I have an immediate connection. Security is not crazy in enforcing social distancing, but I know it is crazy hard to manage and they probably feel passengers should do it out of respect for other passengers? Just my thoughts.
Upon arrival in Dubai, we began by clearing customs. We usually use our e-gate or E-ID upon arrival, neither are available at this time. The wait in Dubai is longer than usual and the girls were really done (I cannot blame them long haul flights are hard.) Nearly two hours in line waiting to get the passports cleared and stamped. I must admit I appreciate that they are being diligent. (As a side note in Europe during a strike the wait was much longer at times.) Once through, we presented our negative Covid tests to security again after customs.
Arrival into Abu Dhabi
Since this was our first vacation this year we planned a nice long weekend in Dubai upon our return. The day prior to traveling home to Abu Dhabi we did PCR test done at Emirates Specialty Hospital. Test cost was 220 AED each and our negative results were sent within 10 hours. Our family took a taxi from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. At the checkpoint, they asked for our negative COVID tests. Once at home we quarantined the remaining 10 days. My husband and I had another PCR test 6 days after crossing the border and on day 12 after entering the country.
Rules & Regulations
The rules and regulations changed for Abu Dhabi residents & visitors after our trip. According to the AD Media Office Twitter page “Residents and visitors who enter Abu Dhabi from 8 Nov and stay for 4 or more consecutive days must take a PCR test on the 4th day of entry. If they stay for 8 or more consecutive days, they must take another PCR test on the 8th day. Day 1 is counted from the day of entry.” Be diligent in reading the regulations to and from where you are traveling. The capital city is being very diligent in keeping COVID-19 cases under control and I am completely ok with this. PLEASE, be diligent and respectful in following up with the rules and regulations of the city you live in before you make any travel plans.
If you have any questions about our travel or are planning travel and would like any tips or tricks, do not hesitate to reach out to us! Do you have any tips you think will be beneficial or helpful to our readers? Share them with us! We would love to hear from you!