Chicago It’s back on the road again, but that doesn’t mean anything is easy in the new world of pandemic travel when we have one foot in the mess, and another foot pretending it’s all over, but we’re good-to-go.
Of course, there are mask rules or something similar on everyone in the airport, although, for many, it’s a chin guard or a mouth protector, truth to tell. Flying out of New Orleans adds another degree of difficulty to the operation, because of the Hurricane Ida disruption along with various tropical storms and whatever might be the reason or rationale. Last week, my United flight to Denver was canceled and rescheduled twice before it meant a nine-hour day in the airport. My American flight to Toronto is now via Chicago, rather than Charlotte, so that makes it an eight-hour trip rather than a five-hour jaunt. I’m starting to think that they just want the few travelers to spend more time in the airport!
Crossing the border is another matter entirely.
Canada requires a special app for your mobile phone: ArriveCanada. Easy to download on GooglePlay, but it gets harder after that. You can’t upload your flight info until 72-hours before wheels up. Obviously, that makes sense to make sure you are Covid-free. No test is required in that time period, which is a good thing. Diving into the app though is a rough ride. It took me more than a half-hour of intense work to get the go-ahead. Filing out the information on the cell is difficult, because the blanks are hard to find, and the words, when entered, can hardly be seen. At one point, I was denied entry three or four times in a row and had to keep hitting save-and-close to find the empty block that I had missed.
That wasn’t what was really scary. I had given the app pictures of my two doses of Pfizer. I had read the rules on the travel website, saying that was all I needed, but when the app started asking me where I would quarantine for 14-days, I started to freak. Then when I had to give the address of exactly where I would quarantine, I was almost afraid to go any farther on the app for fear that I was somehow agreeing, save me lord, to quarantine. Oh, no! I called Judy Duncan, the head organizer of ACORN Canada. I needed to know her address for this blankety-blank app, but I warned her that my next call might be in a minute to say that I was barred and wouldn’t be at the meeting with all of our organizers.
Luckily, once that information was entered, Canada flashed me a message that I was OK to visit, just show my screen when I crossed the border. Later, they even sent me an email as well to confirm that I was in fact going to once again be able to guest in the country. The clerk at the counter of American said everything was good, and, “yes,” he had heard the ArriveCanada app was a tough climb.
Then for the second straight flight in a week, my faithful Global Entry pass didn’t work to give me the Pre-TSA to escape bag searchers and shoeless entry. Fixing that problem in the good ol’ USA may make dealing with the Canadian vax-app seem like child play.