US based travel agencies are offering special packages complete with Indian meals and airport transfers.
Late last month, a special charter flight carrying 130 passengers from India flew from Mumbai to Cairo. The passengers, all of whom held temporary US visas spent 14 days of quarantine in Cairo before heading to their final destination — New York.
The Mumbai-Cairo-New York flight was a part of a growing trend among US visa holders stuck in Covid hit India because of the US imposed travel ban.
Since travelers who have spent previous 14 days in India are barred from entering the United States, Leena Bhatt who runs Parsippany, New Jersey based travel agency, Shivam Travel, has organized three such charter flights.
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Bhatt shared with the American Bazaar that there were about 130 passengers in each flight and they all arrived safely and had no issue at the immigration check.
To meet the growing demand from Indian visa holders wishing to return to the US, Bhatt says they have been specially curating travel packages from India with quarantine in an exotic location complete with airport transfers and Indian meals and a flight to the final destination in the US.
About the travelers in the charter plane from Mumbai via Cairo, Bhatt says, “We had a mixed group, from young professionals to dependent visa holders to elderly parents traveling to visit their children.”
Ever since the successful travel stories of a few Indians flying back to the US after spending two weeks of quarantine in a third country not affected by the US travel ban came into circulation, more and more Indians began considering this alternate route.
The travel agencies were quick to lap up the demand and have now included some slick additions to this desperate travel. Promoted as US quarantine packages another popular travel route is Mumbai – Cancun – New York.
The flight will take off from Mumbai on June 15 and land in New York on June 29, says Bhatt. The package includes 14 days accommodation in Cancun including breakfast, lunch and dinner and airport to hotel transfers.
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Specially prepared Indian meals are also available during the quarantine period. The average cost of such packages from India to the US is around $3,000 to $3,500 based on single or double occupancy.
For hundreds of Indians who hold work based US visas and are finding it difficult to travel back to the US because of the presidential proclamation, such packages have come as a welcome relief.
Seattle based Anu Ramy who has been thinking of getting her parents to the US says, “We have been hearing about some people traveling via Mexico, but it seems like a daunting task to get elderly parents travel to a non-English speaking country and manage things like food and RT-PCR tests on their own.”
“But packages like these give us confidence and we can safely ask our parents. Since the travelers will move in a group under the guidance of a tour operator it will be reassuring. The mention of Indian meals of course is a big draw for parents who are accustomed to certain food choices.”