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Flying home in a pandemic


Emily T



Emily T
00:00 / 03:04

When we heard that my grandad had passed away, we made quick plans  to travel to his funeral in England. Because of the news of the worldwide pandemic, Mum bought face masks, but Dad was completely against the idea of trying them out. In his opinion, they wouldn’t help us in any way.

At Christchurch Airport, Mum realised she had forgotten her flight socks, so every time she saw a shop that looked like it might sell them she would pop inside. When we were through customs, Mum dashed off to look again. She didn’t find socks but she did find  a shop which sold gloves. We each bought a pair. Dad thought having gloves were a very good substitution for face masks.

We boarded the plane and before we even sat down we had to clean everything with wipes. Every time someone coughed I would sit up straight and look around for where that stray cough had come from. I kept hearing coughing near Mum which made me worry that she might catch COVID-19, and when Mum coughed once or twice I thought she had. Thankfully, I was wrong.

When we arrived in Abingdon, we had Grandad’s funeral. My brother William and I had the honour of carrying the Eucharist up to the altar. The very next day, COVID-19 took a turn for the worse. Dad phoned New Zealand Immigration to check if they were going to shut the borders. Dad's face became strained with worry as he found out that the borders were going to shut. (I must admit, I was making it worse by continually asking what was happening). My mind had clouded with worry so I dutifully trooped downstairs and played on the ipad when he told me to.

The next thing, we were rushing to get on the plane that afternoon instead of the following Saturday. It was really hard for Mum, especially, because she wanted to have happy times with Grandma after the funeral.

Flying home was crazy. First we went from Birmingham to Dubai and then to Australia. The whole plane was packed. Every single seat was filled with worried passengers. When we made the last flight home, there were about 120 people on a plane that fits over 500 travellers. We still didn’t wear masks because Dad was obstinate in his decision.

When we got to Christchurch, I did a mental sigh of relief. We were home and we were safe. Of course, we had to isolate for two weeks, so I couldn’t do much, but it didn’t feel too bad. We had loads of deliveries from friends during the first week but by the second week of our isolation, the announcement was made that New Zealand would go to Level Four Lockdown, so there were no more deliveries for us.

Throughout COVID-19, I felt really nervous that someone I love would catch the virus. I think that for a while, once we get out of Lockdown, nothing will be normal, and I am certain that my nerves won't calm down until COVID-19 is history.

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