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Traveling/Flights to Canada from India during COVID 19

mage

Star Member
Jul 24, 2020
63
39
Looks like flights to Paris (CDG) are available. These require a separate booking with Air Canada or another carrier for CDG to Canada part of the route and involve an overnight stay at CDG (12+ hours transit). Before flights to Frankfurt or other options open, I think this is the best we have.
 

mage

Star Member
Jul 24, 2020
63
39
Looks like flights to Paris (CDG) are available. These require a separate booking with Air Canada or another carrier for CDG to Canada part of the route and involve an overnight stay at CDG (12+ hours transit). Before flights to Frankfurt or other options open, I think this is the best we have.
Actually, scratch this!
AI's VBM flights to Frankfurt in August are available for booking on their site as of now with only a little less time than CDG in transit (still well above 12+ hours)
 
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nt13

Hero Member
Sep 1, 2017
206
209
Actually, scratch this!
AI's VBM flights to Frankfurt in August are available for booking on their site as of now with only a little less time than CDG in transit (still well above 12+ hours)
Go ahead and book it. If you take an Air Canada / Lufthansa connection from Frankfurt, layover is 15/22 hours. But, you are allowed for anything less than 24 hours.
 
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Abdullahahmed

Full Member
Jan 24, 2019
29
9
AI keeps saying tickets sold out. Don't understand how that is possible when bookings just opened 2 hours ago? I give up!!! I will just go for an extension and wait for international flights to start.
R u checking for flights on their website or the app? Try the app.. I had found a flight for 11th aug but i dint book cuz it is from Delhi only, and for me it is not feasible to travel with 3 kids with a stop at delhi for 13 hours (from hyd), plus baggage issue..
I suggest try refreshing on the app a few times
 
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mage

Star Member
Jul 24, 2020
63
39
Folks, AI just released their pricing chart to/fro a lot of destinations: http://www.airindia.in/images/pdf/VBM-FARES-FOR-WEBSITE-29-JUL-2020.pdf

I know this alone confirms nothing, but I would consider this a very good step in bringing some clarity around this mess and a solid sign that sooner or later they are going to operate flights to these places. As more and more routes open up, this madness around tickets for select destinations disappearing as soon as they are released should cease.

For folks heading to YVR, look out for flights to Singapore & Tokyo (Narita/Haneda). I know at least a few pre-COVID routes to west coast via pacific used to pass through these places. Sadly no flights yet to Seoul or Hong Kong.
 

mage

Star Member
Jul 24, 2020
63
39
AI keeps saying tickets sold out. Don't understand how that is possible when bookings just opened 2 hours ago? I give up!!! I will just go for an extension and wait for international flights to start.
I know the situation right now seems crazy and disheartening, but if you have time till August end or beyond, it may help to keep trying for few more days. I see some positive developments overall:
  1. AI has started selling their tickets on codeshare flights. I noticed today Air Canada offering a single booking for DEL-YVR on Google flights using AI flight to CDG and then Air Canada flights for rest of the journey (CDG-YUL and YUL-YVR, though not enough time at YUL for all formalities on this route)
  2. Looking at AI's pricing chart, I feel this is their route/flight chart for at least August and maybe even beyond that, sadly not a proper time-denoted roster, but still this is a significant travel expansion
  3. Saw another interesting route for DEL-YVR. Spicejet (DELhi-Kolkata-Thailand) + JAL (BKK-NRT-YVR) some time after middle of August, IIRC. This same route with a minor change (DEL-BKK) was showing up last week also with Vistara instead of Spicejet.
I feel AI has unilaterally changed how most of us approach booking int'l flights (waiting for approvals, eligibility, etc.) while other airlines are still sticking to their pre-COVID ways of selling and marketing. New routes as well as approval-extension for existing flight agreements is happening, but not coming to light (August schedule for 'repatriation' flights is up on Lufthansa's site - no change in eligibility criteria, but it still means that they got approvals for it without it showing up in news feeds).
Net effect of this is ending up to be that we have to seek each airline or possible air traffic route out and find info across different sites to figure out whether to pin any hopes on it or not. This makes it cumbersome for us as we already have many other things to worry about in the course of immigration, but this is just how it is at the moment.
Personally this feels to me like an unfair advantage for AI, but if you have time on your side, you can ride it out. It would have helped had AI invested in improving user experience beginning right from the booking part. Anyways, things are improving, international travel is indeed opening and it may be only a matter of time, before another gov pulls up AI like US DOT did around a month ago forcing a more level playing field. Foreign carriers do need to pick up the ball though and realize the information arbitrage happening here. Good luck!
 

Abdullahahmed

Full Member
Jan 24, 2019
29
9
I know the situation right now seems crazy and disheartening, but if you have time till August end or beyond, it may help to keep trying for few more days. I see some positive developments overall:
  1. AI has started selling their tickets on codeshare flights. I noticed today Air Canada offering a single booking for DEL-YVR on Google flights using AI flight to CDG and then Air Canada flights for rest of the journey (CDG-YUL and YUL-YVR, though not enough time at YUL for all formalities on this route)
  2. Looking at AI's pricing chart, I feel this is their route/flight chart for at least August and maybe even beyond that, sadly not a proper time-denoted roster, but still this is a significant travel expansion
  3. Saw another interesting route for DEL-YVR. Spicejet (DELhi-Kolkata-Thailand) + JAL (BKK-NRT-YVR) some time after middle of August, IIRC. This same route with a minor change (DEL-BKK) was showing up last week also with Vistara instead of Spicejet.
I feel AI has unilaterally changed how most of us approach booking int'l flights (waiting for approvals, eligibility, etc.) while other airlines are still sticking to their pre-COVID ways of selling and marketing. New routes as well as approval-extension for existing flight agreements is happening, but not coming to light (August schedule for 'repatriation' flights is up on Lufthansa's site - no change in eligibility criteria, but it still means that they got approvals for it without it showing up in news feeds).
Net effect of this is ending up to be that we have to seek each airline or possible air traffic route out and find info across different sites to figure out whether to pin any hopes on it or not. This makes it cumbersome for us as we already have many other things to worry about in the course of immigration, but this is just how it is at the moment.
Personally this feels to me like an unfair advantage for AI, but if you have time on your side, you can ride it out. It would have helped had AI invested in improving user experience beginning right from the booking part. Anyways, things are improving, international travel is indeed opening and it may be only a matter of time, before another gov pulls up AI like US DOT did around a month ago forcing a more level playing field. Foreign carriers do need to pick up the ball though and realize the information arbitrage happening here. Good luck!
I agree word to word! There r a few routes still available, not convenient though. I believe there is a right time for everything. Getting thru the whole application process seemed like this is the end of the hustle, who knew about this struggle?
Just be positive and keep searching for flights, everybodys requirements r different.
 

Pushkaraj

Newbie
Jul 30, 2020
3
0
JUST AN UPDATE: Experience from a person who has traveled via Frankfurt

Landed a few hours ago and sharing our experience.

Flight details:-

Air India - 19th June - Mumbai to Frankfurt
Air Canada - 20th June - Frankfurt to Toronto

At Mumbai -

1. reach at-least 5 hours prior departure, there’s a very long queue where only gate in takes 2/3 hours depending on the number of International flights scheduled on that day (For 10 am flight, we managed to check in at the AI counter at 8:45 despite reaching airport by 5:30 )... You will be handed Healthy and Safety form , fill the details and get it stamped by on-duty Airport health officer.. .
2. Proceed to check in at the AI counter and preferably carry the IRCC travel exemption note print out or keep it ready on mobile - most AI and Immigration staff miss clarity around this or confuse it. Complete check in with baggage drop (we carried 2 * 23 kgs / per person + a cabin bag - no additional cost charged at Mumbai)
3. Now after security clearance, comes the most daunting one at Mumbai Immigration office- like stated earlier most officers miss clarification and re-confirm with seniors , so be prepared to clarify their questions and stay calm to wait it out (if lucky , you will simply walk through)
4. During boarding, you are provided with face shield, wet wipes and face mask In the aircraft , meal box is kept packed on your seats ( Namkeen , packed fruit juice, hard cold paratha , fruits and 2 small water bottle - you can carry your meal - just pack it right). Boarding completed and our flight from Mumbai took almost 1.5 hours late than scheduled bcoz of the long queue. Remember, there’s no flight entertainment so download some series or movies from Netflix or Amazon prime.

At Frankfurt:

We landed at 3:50 (scheduled time 3 pm)... cleared security (absolutely no liquid expect sanitisers allowed in hand / cabin baggage) and came to transit gate. Air India provided fairly hot Indian veg meal for all transit passengers along with a 10 Euro meal voucher which can be used for the next day meals during transit time. Voucher amount needs to be fully redeemed - remember no encashment option :)

There are lots of sleeping pod/ stretcher beds available to get some sleep (without paying anything extra)

For coffee/meals/ breakfast the only option at Frankfurt is Mc Donald’s.

Boarding for Toronto commenced on time . COPR document and Visa verified by Air Canada prior boarding. Excellent quality COVID safety kit provided by Air Canada . Flight occupied at 40 % capacity and ample of space to relax or sleep.

At Toronto:

Update details in “ArriveCAN’ app . While walking towards immigration desk , officers will help you with the token code to complete the ArriveCAN process ( Basic arrival flight details + COVID related questions) . Next, Visa immigration officer will ask you about your Quarantine plan (we showed our plan document print and then he asked for AirBnb confirmation receipt - he emphasized to confirm if it’s private place and not sharing and how will he groceries/ medical supplies be managed) . After this, we were directed to the IRCC bureau where we showed our COPR documents , they asked us about our plans like the purpose , again asked about quarantine plan etc ..The officer then asked where will be stay for next 6 months ( we said we booked AirbNb for a month and then will either move to a friends place or look for some places) - she said we don’t take friends or relatives address now, once you have an address where you will stay for 6 months at-least let us know through email or walk to service Ontario office for PR card issue - timeline upto 2 months. Took sign on the COPR documents and asked to wait. In less than 5 mins called us again, told us about how to preserve the COPR doc for future immigration purpose like citizenship or sponsorship, etc .. asked if any question and then came the golden words “ Welcome to Canada “

We then walked through customs submitting the declaration, no questions asked and finally we were outside the Airport ( landing to exit in about 45 mins)

Once stepped out, we had our moment of joy and still feels like we are dreaming .. for all your folks preparing hard to come here , wish you all the very best .. if there’s anything i can help with please let know.
Hi ,


Did you not require any Transit / Visitor VISA for Germany as you had booked two separate tickets ?
And what was the duration between you landing at Frankfurt and Flight to toronto ?
I have COPR and my landing VISA expires on coming 16 Aug
 

KABAL

Member
Jul 27, 2020
10
1
R u checking for flights on their website or the app? Try the app.. I had found a flight for 11th aug but i dint book cuz it is from Delhi only, and for me it is not feasible to travel with 3 kids with a stop at delhi for 13 hours (from hyd), plus baggage issue..
I suggest try refreshing on the app a few times
AI had sent a tweet saying there was problem to heavy traffic:)
 

Pushkaraj

Newbie
Jul 30, 2020
3
0
Yes, I have few acquaintances who have Successfully travelled through Frankfurt Using vbm till Frankfurt and then air canada from there , all they said was make sure you carry/show both your tickets And ask them personally at the airport to tag your luggage’s till Canada.
Hi,


Thanks ! Just wanted to know-
I am planning to travel to Canada via Frankfurt
however transit duration is 15 hours

Do i need Transit VISA / Visitor VISA ?
i have Copr and landing VISA
 
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pumpkin_latte

Hero Member
Oct 17, 2019
228
251
Toronto
Category........
FSW
Visa Office......
New Delhi
NOC Code......
5121
AOR Received.
26-09-2019
Med's Done....
08-10-2019
Passport Req..
06-01-2020
VISA ISSUED...
24-01-2020
LANDED..........
19-09-2020
AI keeps saying tickets sold out. Don't understand how that is possible when bookings just opened 2 hours ago? I give up!!! I will just go for an extension and wait for international flights to start.
Bhai, I understand, but your COPR expires in November. If your personal situation isn't percarious, you could wait a while longer for things to normalise.
 
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pkhare23

Hero Member
Sep 25, 2019
411
265
Hi,


Thanks ! Just wanted to know-
I am planning to travel to Canada via Frankfurt
however transit duration is 15 hours

Do i need Transit VISA / Visitor VISA ?
i have Copr and landing VISA
No you don't need any transit visa just have your baggage tagged till Canada