Airport Diaries – Unusual Arrival Procedures

Posted in Travel at 21:55 by Kathleen

In this H1N1-induced paranoia (the swine flu panic), international arrival procedures have been modified. Japan’s procedures were definitely interesting.
Upon landing in Kyoto, after an 11+ hours long flight (and that was just the last leg), we were required to remain seated. Then a group of medical people, in full anti-contamination gear, boarded the plane and examined every passenger and crew member, one by one. We had to submit a form declaring our recent health status, and then our temperature was taken. No, it was not the “invasive” way; it was a pen-like thermal reader that they pointed at our forehead.

Fortunately, nobody showed signs of sickness and we were all set free. We could have been put in quarantine if that had not been the case. Upon stepping out of the plane, people were waiting for us with an alcohol-based gel to wash our hands with. And finally, we were given a mask. Fortunately, we were not required to wear that mask.

All and all, it added about 40 minutes to the trip. Luckily the plane was not full; it could have easily taken an hour. I was not worrying too much as I did not have a connection to catch, but it cannot have been fun for the ones who had to.

Finally, four days after arrival, I received a letter from the Health something requesting an update on my condition.

With the recent spread of the virus in the Kansai region, it turns out that I am more likely to catch the flu here than in USA. That would be just my luck.

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