Had a very positive experience at the New Delhi airport on arrival on 13th Dec night around 00:00-01:00!
Flew from Paris to New Delhi with Air India on 12th Dec.
Prep before flying to India:
- Registered for the RT PCR test at Healthcheck Centre Netherlands for 65 Euros (Group price is 50 Euros). Gave my sample within 48 hours before departure incase of any cancellations or last minute change in Covid rules (even though you can give sample within 72 hours before departure to India).
- Got RT PCR negative report within 21 hours in the morning of 11th Dec before my flight departure from Paris on 12th Dec morning.
- Then immediately registered for the Air Suvidha form and pre-booked the Rapid PCR test (for Rs. 3500) which will be necessary on arrival in Delhi. Booked the 23:00 - 00:00 slot for 12th Dec. It isn’t important but gives an indication of the crowd to the authorities at the airport.
Prep during and after flying to India:
- Flew with Air France from Amsterdam to Paris and then took the Air India from Paris to Delhi. Flight departed around an hour late and arrived in Delhi around an hour late around 23:55 on 12th Dec. I booked these tickets separately (with a total of around 1200-1300 Eur for round trip) because tickets with same PNR were around 3000 Eur for round trip.
- Only Air Suvidha form and RT PCR was checked in Paris airport before boarding pass was given. Vaccine certificate wasn’t checked even though I had it!
- Arrived in Delhi and then immediately on getting down we were escorted to the counters for registration or printing our barcode if already prepaid for the Covid test. Then using this barcode, we gave the sample in few seconds. Surprisingly they took sample from only both sides of the nose. No throat samples but the report says both oral and nasal samples taken. For the first time in India it was a painless process and I even doubt till date if the samples were properly taken.
- The staff was extremely helpful and there was no rush, everything well managed, quickly done because of the timing of arrival of Air India. During that time till 1:30 - 2 hours no other international flights arrive. So, if you take Air India then you will be lucky because of the early arrival times in India!
- In Delhi airport you can get a coupon code (just near the sample collection counter) to get free wifi without Indian SIM. The internet was great with good speed + I was using it for almost 4-5 hours, so I don’t think there is a limit! You also get coffee and snacks near that sample collection places in an open waiting area. Better to stay there instead of going to the far off closed waiting area. The reason is in the next point!
- You should receive results of Rapid PCR in max 1 hour after the sample is taken if you are pro-active and keep asking them every 30 minutes about the availability of the results in the counter where sample is taken. They say that Rapid PCR results come in 90 minutes but if you just wait for the Email then you will receive it in 90-120 minutes. So, that is the catch, if you want to leave early then better ask in the counter and collect the printout and leave by max an hour.
- While walking towards immigration after results collection, a police person checks if the report is negative then someone else stamps your boarding pass or letter which has barcode of your Rapid PCR registration for 7 days home quarantine.
- In the immigration it was almost empty with 6 immigration officers waiting for less than 10 people to stamp. Then the luggage was nicely kept behind our belt. We asked someone and they said on this side of the belt you have Air India luggage. We took it and then left for the domestic departure terminal in same T3 but with different PNR.
- I had to head home from Delhi to Raipur again with Air India. Flight was at 05:15 but I reached the gate by 02:30 after collecting boarding pass, doing security checks. It was much faster because of the smooth experience of the international arrival and testing in Delhi airport :)
- Arrived in Raipur on 13th morning around 06:50 and then reached home at around 08:00. A guy from Nagar Nigam came to check whether I am home around 12:00 the same day because they have all our details forwarded from the Air Suvidha and said Chattisgarh has 14 days quarantine, so I have to stay in home quarantine till 26th Dec. He also asked when did I arrive at home agin to my mother.
- Then he pasted a notice infront of our house saying I will be in home quarantine till 26th and said that he will be coming to collect my sample for Covid testing on 8th day i.e., 20th Dec and I don’t need to go out from home to give sample. Then I have to wait for 2-3 days to receive the results because it is tested at a Govt. lab. If found positive then my sample is also sent for Genome testing to check for Omicron variant.
- All in all, good experience, surprised with 14 days quarantine and happy that everywhere Covid appropriate behaviour is strictly monitored for everyone’s safety. Till now I am feeling much better than I can ever feel and healthy. So, again hoping for a negative result on 8th day Covid test. We also have some plans of domestic travel in last week of Dec in India! Fingers crossed :)
Hope this helps everyone planning to come to India in the near future! Would also like to thank members of this group whose experiences helped a lot during my travel.
The video of this experience on YouTube: