A while ago, I wrote this….
A lot’s happened since then. I had a garden office built, went solar and invested in a Tesla Powerwall so that I could de-disk electricity supply issues.
I also adopted Cairo as a friend for Milo, had a couple of breaks and have effectively given up my day job to help steer a huge programme across a number of companies that fall under the group umbrella.
Coincidentally, the company that employs me has an issue that needs somebody from the UK to go to Sydney to untangle some issues.
I was asked.
I said that I could. But. Oh damn. I’m unvaccinated. Shame really. This wasn’t disingenuous, I’ve been twice and don’t need 48 hours on a plane or long days abroad at all.
And I don’t fancy leaving the dogs for ten days either… Cairo in particular frets when I’m gone for even a day.
Except. New South Wales entry requirements on their website says this.
So it seemed that I could go. The thing is that this trip ties in nicely with the new role and i can get a lot accomplished much more quickly than if I don’t.
Remember, I’m unvaccinated, at first I was hesitant, but that position has hardened over the past year and there’s no chance at all of me taking it now.
So I applied for a visa that allowed me to work for a while and was pleasantly surprised to find no vaccination questions and it was granted within a minute – very impressive.
Flights were booked via Etihad and I found a nice hotel near the office.
I then contacted business people and friends in country to sort out meetings and beers.
So far, so good.
Australia requires you to fill in a Digital Passenger Declaration, but you can’t do that until seven days before you fly, So I filled mine in while on holiday with the doglets in Wales, it’s a simple document and it clearly gives an outcome.
Except it doesn’t. I fully expected to be told to fuck off – as I don’t meet the current standards for the federal government according to the DPD.
Except I wasn’t. But there’s no way I’m taking a risk at check-in as to whether I can fly, but luckily, the airline has a service that can do this for you.
Only 72 hours before the flight.
So I tried to call. I got an automated service that told me nothing. So I tried live chat. Frustrating and quite sad in a way
So I tried a few other numbers and eventually talked to a human. Probably in India. They told me to check their website. The call didn’t go well.
I have a good friend in Sydney and he spent three hours on the phone with the authorities. He sent me a mail.
This basically stopped me cold, I did try to ring the consulate, but they pointed me at the same number as my friend.
So I had to wait until this morning to fill out the online form for the airline.
That was seven hours ago, I doubt I’ll get an answer today.
I genuinely don’t care if I have to cancel or not (part of me would like that). But the Australians seem even more fucked up than I ever thought possible.
I’ll wait for the outcome as to whether I can fly, but until then, I’m neither flying or cancelling.
And then. And then.
Within an hour of my self imposed deadline to cancel the flight on Monday 4th July at 14:30 – the Australians dropped all restrictions and tests. For the day of my flight.
Tomorrow 6th July.
So off I go.
You couldn’t make this shit up.
Welcome to 2022.
Deepest sympathy. But truly, this is not The End.
Fifty years of international business travel has left me knowing that the one thing you never do in this situation is ask questions. Ask, and they notice you’re there. Because you asked, they have to produce an answer. You have disturbed their equilibrum by making a demand so the chances of it being anything other than ‘No’ or any of a dozen obstructive variants approaches zero. You know this already – your enquiries have forced somebody official to say you may need an exemption visa. Just stop there, it’ll only get worse!
What you can do now is: read the rules, fill the forms in, print copies of everything – including your passport/visa details, job details, any official authorisation you already have and their account of the rules you rest your case on, and present yourself at the airport. Forget you ever asked any awkward questions, that was in Australia, the check-in staff won’t know – they only want to check you in efficiently, check your travel docs and tag your bags. Smile, relax, and all should be well. Courtesy gets you through any number of potentially difficult situations travelling internationally and can make their day as well as yours.
Wishing you all the best, and buon viaggio.
…and carry masks. Always carry a selection in case local conditions apply, as I believe they do in the air over Victoria…
I hope this is not too late…
Thank you 😊
I did realise that leaving Milo and Cairo was the real problem…
It really is. But I’ve seen them on video from Abu Dhabi and that helps
Seems like you will need someone to open the cat’s box for you and then self destruct!
Love your stories, very entertaining.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens here. Donkeyvic was obvs deported for his stance on the jabs, but what they didn’t say was that a further 20 x tennis players were also unjabbed at the time, and they were let in without issue. I’ve been told that if you’re flying on a private jet then mask reqs and jabs don’t apply, they’re only for the herd.
I think I’ll end up cancelling today. There’s no update and the flight cost £6k. If we cancel – we get our money back. If I turn up at the airport …
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