For personal reasons, we have decided to fly internationally to Thailand. With the world currently closed, traveling to Asia can be a daunting feat, so this special post will focus on what it is like to reach a destination that requires quarantine from an American (a.k.a. the weakest passport in the world) perspective.
Ever heard the sound of silence at Tom Bradley International Terminal? It’s eerie… no more hustle and bustle noise of passengers. The whole terminal felt like it remained open just for our flight. The feeling felt almost apocalyptic.
Paperwork and visas to Thailand stacked like the Himalayas, but to summarize it simply, all international visitors (as of Sept 2020) need:
- Proof of family connection to a Thai national
- Marriage certificate (if the national is a spouse)
- Certificate of Entry
- 14-night hotel confirmation at an approved quarantine hotel
- A neg-covid PCR test no more than 72 hrs before the flight
- $100,000 USD international covid insurance coverage
- Flight needs to be on an approved one-way flight that the Thai gov endorses (you cannot book the flight directly from the airline)
Most international airlines charge a hefty premium when you don’t book a round-trip fare. Thus, the one-way ticket was $1526.54/passenger. Thankfully, the Thai gov endorses around $600 USD per ticket so our out-of-pocket cost for the one way fare was $921 USD per passenger.
Upon checking the stack of documents, the check-in lady rejected Paul’s boarding pass and said,
“Paul’s medical insurance letter from Anthem Blue Cross is not detailed enough… if he’s denied boarding, can Miki & Chloe fly to Thailand first? “
(panic mode engage)
Even though our Anthem employer insurance has no maximum limit, the airline wanted the Anthem letter to state that it has up to at least $100,000 USD in covid coverage.
For readers in the states, you all know that getting anything done last minute with U.S. healthcare is an impossible feat – not to mention, it was a Sunday night. Thus, we went online and purchased a last minute separate covid insurance through Seven Corners, Inc.
The glitz and glamour travel days are long gone. Instead of being escorted with VIP security, we felt lucky to even walk into Tom Bradley! The irony in hindsight was amusing.
Who needs a private First Class valet terminal, when you get a whole Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX to yourself!
And who needs an airplane view from a private suite when we can just look at planes all night long at a random gate…
To no surprise, the airplane was fairly empty. On average, each passenger had 3 seats to themselves. Lying down almost felt like Business Class 😛
The flight itself was uneventful. We got lucky and all of us slept like a baby for most of the flight. We didn’t even have time to eat.
Upon landing in Taiwan, we were directed to our quarantine gate area and followed by the sanitation crew, who cleaned every step we took at Taoyuan International Airport. It was a fascinating sight to see.
We were not allowed to leave the gate.
Want to do some duty free shopping? Nope.
Want to visit the EVA lounge? Nope again.
Want to stop by Plaza Premium to take advantage of your Priority Pass? (Guess the answer)
But it’s ok… Taiwanese breakfast and beverages were available gate side, which brought so much nostalgia and joy to us.
3 hours later, we got escorted from our quarantine gate to boarding.
Thankfully, our second leg was even more empty. We felt like we had the entire economy cabin!
Overall, this was probably as good as it gets for Economy Class due to planes operating only at 10-25% capacity. Also, the whole time we felt like EVA Air and Taiwan went above our expectations in taking precautionary measures for our journey to Thailand in 2020 era.
So surreal… stay tuned for many more updates to come.