Flying me crazy

Well it took me 5 months to finish off the last post and I’ve just noticed it opens with HNY dear readers, ha! I’ve just been really busy with work stuff and our personal lives have been all over the place after Becksy returned home in December after regressing quite badly during lockdown. She’s had multiple issues including having a nasty accident which has left her unable to walk and weight bear. It’s been 4 months now and she’s only just taking taking baby steps again. Mostly she uses a walking frame or a wheelchair for longer journies. And we’ve moved home to accommodate her living with us. It’s a lovely old hall just outside Stratford UA. But moving in was complicated by Becksy being hospitalised. Our super eldest grandson has also had to endure some quite serious covid-related health issues. Oh and resolving my late sister’s estate has been challenging (especially for my brother). So it’s all been rather stressful and blogging’s had to take a back step.

But we’re making progress on several fronts and we feel confident enough to leave Becksy with some respite carers for a week whilst we head over to New York to see our daughter Sarah, husband E, and two youngest grandsons E and N.  You do what you do for your kids but we are in real need of a break to be honest. So tomorrow we head off to the Big Apple. We imagined the processes might be a little easier than they were in November but you know what, it’s still a f*cking pain getting through all the processes.

First up you have to fill in a bunch of details via your airline’s check in procedure 3 days before you leave. They want to know everything; DoB, addresses, NI numbers, dating history, how frequently you launder your sheets, what time you take the morning dump etc. Then it’s down to presenting evidence of your vaccination history. That means going back into your NHS details and downloading/uploading files across to the Delta airlines site. Of course they don’t work so you have to print off the NHS records, take photos of them, upload to your computer and try again. Carol had to do it 6 times before it worked.

Next up the covid test. You have to do this 24 hours before your flight and it has to be done via an approved test centre. Our nearest one recommended by the bloody Gov’t was in Oxford, 1.5 hours away. Carol made the appointment and had to pay for the tests upfront. We headed there this morning. We found the place right in the centre of Oxford which meant we had to park up (street parking fee cost just the £12!!) over half a mile away – then walk in trundling Becksy in her wheelchair often along cobbled sections. You don’t notice this stuff ordinarily.

The building was not quite where the address advised but in the middle of a shopping precinct next door. Odd. Anyway we were 5 minutes early and checked in. The young lady on reception took our names and said, sorry you’re not on the appointments list. Eh? I showed her my appointment confirmation letter. Oh this isn’t from us – it’s a scam. We’ve had more of these already today and all the rest have had to re-book and re-pay.  What? Yep you’ll have to re-book via our website and come back. But we leave tomorrow and can’t come back. I’m just an employee sir please don’t be rude. I was nowhere near being rude but could have resorted to Anglo-Saxon v easily.

Happily Carol stepped in and explained that money had already left our account and showed the lady the receipt details. Oh let me call our customer service team she said. Yep, that’s alright she said, I’ll just book you in again. Can you make 12.30? It was 12.29. Er yes. Please proceed. There’ll be no extra charge because it is legitimate. Yes, because we went via the Gov’t’s approved list. It all felt like a bloody con and not what you want to be presented with hours before your scheduled flight. Results should be with you soon she said. And they were, inside half an hour. I bet they are just lateral flow tests (which we have plenty of at home) but what do you do?

We had lunch in Wagamama before heading home. Then we took the e-mailed test results and uploaded them to the Delta website. More issues. Carol’s again couldn’t be validated even though we were updating pdf’s. So we took more pics and uploaded to her laptop and eventually they got accepted. Sigh.

Then you have to do a contact trace statement – ie where you’re staying and when plus contact details etc. You get asked things like nationality, place of residence, country you’re flying from, country you’re returning to, where your mother was born, who you’d support at the Commonwealth Games, greatest place for comedy and music etc. And the answer to every question is United Kingdom and it’s always the last but one entry on a list of 140 countries alphabetically. So it takes 5 minutes to scroll down to it each time. Surprisingly USA features top of the the list instead of after our dear homeland.

Then it’s an attestation form to complete where you say that yes the forms you attached earlier about vaccinations and negative testing are for real. And that you never have been a communist nor a member of Al-Quaida and do you think Donald Trump is a hero who’s re-election was thwarted by liberal Clintonistas? I answered no to all; he’s just a dangerous deluded f*ckwit. And we have enough of those in the world already.

You then get a lot of messages saying they are verifying your data plus several requests to re-submit files…gggrrr. But after a long day (a 5 hour return journey to Oxford and 2.5 further hours online) you get the ok – yes you can now check in ahead of tomorrow’s flight. Hallef*ckinglulia.

It’s all so bloody unnecessary and stressful. Why can’t we just get a note from  our GP saying all’s good? It mystifies me and clearly there are sharks taking advantage of people too. Obviously it’s a system devised by Matt Hancock or his sister’s company. Or his mistress’s. Or Boris’s brother’s best mate. It’s just so frigging annoying.

But hey we fly tomorrow so I’ll try and chill. I’ll let you know if we make it or whether Homeland Security will pull me to one side and send me to Guantamano Bay for re-Trumping. We shall see…


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About Paul

Having decided on a change of life by moving home from the UK to Italy, this is the story and thoughts of a man on a personal journey from the Blackpool Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in search of la dolce vita. After several olive harvests he's now back in London but en route he shares his very personal perspectives on life.

2 thoughts on “Flying me crazy

  1. OMG Paul…Life certainly has handed you some curves lately. I hope you and Carol can regain some equilibrium while visiting your family in NY. Fair winds my friend.🌈

    • Hi James. Hope all’s well with you guys. We’re getting through it all OK. Just arrived in NYC last night it feels great to see the family. Great battery re-charger. Stay well old friend and love to ML

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