FAQs on how to book tickets and travel from Europe to India via the Air Bubble
1) At the time of writing this post there are no scheduled commercial flights in operation between Europe and India. All flights operating currently are under the Air Bubble agreement that India has signed with some European countries. Therefore the flight options are very limited. Currently India has air bubble arrangements only with the following airlines operating in Europe (Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, Emirates). In addition our very own Maharaja Air India also flies between Europe and India. This means that if you want to fly from any corner of Europe to India, you have to first find a route from your corner to the boarding airport of your flight of AF, LF, BA, EK, AI.
2) You need to book tickets with any of the air bubble airlines only. After that you need to register with the Indian embassy.
If your flying with Air France (or KLM via AF Paris) you need to register with the Indian embassy in Paris (https://www.eoiparis.gov.in/news_detail/?newsid=143).
If your flying via Lufthansa you need to register with the Indian embassy in Germany (https://repat.videshapps.gov.in/user_registration).
If your flying via Air India then you have to register at the Indian embassy of the country of origin of your flight.
After registration you will get a confirmation email with an attachment of the Indemnity bond. Take a print out of the indemnity bond and fill it as it needs to be submitted at the airport of boarding.
Specific rules for those flying via Air France are listed here (https://www.airfrance.in/…/meill…/travelrestrictions.htm)
Specific rules for those flying via Lufthansa are listed here (https://www.lufthansa.com/xx/en/entryprocesses)
Rules and FAQs for those flying with Air India are listed here (http://www.airindia.in/…/Revised-FAQs-for-Eva-flt-bkg.pdf)
Please ensure you read and understand the details in these links. They are not the regular “Yada Yada” stuff so take time out to read them.
Why do we have to do these embassy registrations or follow these rules? These are not rules framed by the airlines. They are rules framed by the Government of India.
At the time of writing this post the embassy registration is not required for BA or for Emirates. However please re-confirm the same with the Indian embassy.
For those travelling via BA there are a separate set of forms to be filled which the airlines will email you once your tickets are confirmed
3) To avoid institutional quarantine in India GOI has formulated some rules. Details about that are listed here (https://www.newdelhiairport.in/covid19). You can take the RT-PCR test 96 hours before travel. Once you get the test results which are negative do the following 72 hours before travel
Register on the Air Suvidha portal https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/covid-19-exemption-international-passenger
As soon as you fill this form, you will get an email with the reference number.
Go to the same link again, put this reference number and upload your test results for self exemption. Within 24 hours you will get the response. You need to take a print out of the response with you.
Note – At the time of writing this post as per the state rules of Karnataka, Kerala, and Odisha, all asymptomatic passengers will undergo home quarantine. All asymptomatic passengers having the first airport of entry located in these states, have to undergo 14 days mandatory home quarantine. Hence, the exemption is not required for such passengers.
If you are flying via Emirates then COVID test is mandatory before boarding. Check the airlines FAQs for the same.
Read the entire guideline on the MCA website (https://www.civilaviation.gov.in/…/Updation_of…)
4) Before you board your flight download the Aarogya Setu App with your Indian phone number. You dont need to activate the app as it can be done only with your Indian number. Just download it and keep it ready in your phone. On reaching in India you will be required to activate the app using your Indian number.
5) After landing in India if you have an onward flight/train journey to any other state capital or small town in India then it is always advisable to do the COVID test and seek prior exemption before boarding from Europe. For some states in India an EPass is also mandatory so check and get the same sorted. There might also be specific requirements for your onward domestic flight in India based on state regulations. You can get more information about those here (https://www.goindigo.in/…/international-travel…)
6) Do I need to undergo home quarantine on arrival in India or at my last port of exit? The rules for quarantine keep changing as and when the COVID situation in India improves/degrades. Also quarantine rules differ from state to state. Please refer to the same out here
7) I have done my COVID test, applied for quarantine exemption and uploaded the test results but havent recieved the exemption certificate from the Air Suvidha portal – Generally if you have done the test and uploaded the results 72 hours before travel then you should recieve the exemption well in time. However in case you dont then please carry a hard copy of your test report and also the registration details on the AIr Suvidha Portal. They will come in handy at the port of entry in India.
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