With the world seemingly going into meltdown we were faced with a dilemma last week as to whether to go ahead with our travel plans or not. We had booked a week away in sunny Tenerife as a reward for months of wet and rainy housesitting in the UK. Being sensible travellers we checked with the UK Foreign Office website and with the airline before our flight and were more than happy to see that there were no reasons to cancel our trip.
So we’ve been here in the lovely hotel Puerto de la Cruz for three days enjoying long walks, a few drinks, and a whole lot of relaxing. This morning was no different as we headed east along the coast and then back into town before grabbing a couple of ice cold beers at a fabulous little German bar in La Paz. Perfect. Then back to the hotel and the pool. What could go wrong with that?
I’ll tell you what could go wrong, the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic that’s what. As we lay on by the pool we checked the online news and saw the headlines that Jet2 had cancelled all flights to Spain. That included the Balearic Islands and the Canaries, where we were currently staying. All flights cancelled with immediate effect. You can imagine how that hit us? Immediately we felt isolated and completely cut off. Ridiculous really as the hotel is full of holidaymakers although we may be the only ones from England, lots of Spanish and even more from Germany.
There we were, sitting by the pool suddenly wondering what to do. Should we get to the airport as fast as we could just to see if there was a way to get home? Or maybe sit tight and wait to be contacted? Checking the Jet2 website threw up some standard Coronavirus warnings but we felt we just had to speak to someone in the know. After 8 or 9 attempts I finally got through to the Jet2 support line and then proceeded to wait in a queue listening to dreadful tinny 80s europop for another 35 minutes. Whilst I waited Jo called our travel insurance company and found herself in a similar situation, stuck on hold.
Once connected and verified as a ‘real‘ traveller, the seriously helpful Jet2 guy informed me that all flights returning to the UK were scheduled as normal and that the company had only cancelled flights to Spain and were flying empty aircraft out to bring travellers back. I asked for confirmation and he actually said ‘you can come home tomorrow if you really want to‘ but I obviously said No as our Wednesday 18th return was still on. I have to admit I did ask him to repeat the information three times just to ‘make sure‘ but officially all return flights until the 21st March were still happening. Stressful situation over!
Sunday Morning and the Situation Worsens
We thought it was over but woke this morning to read that Spain is in complete lockdown with transport and businesses told you shut down immediately. Our hotel seems to be immune from this as there is no sign of any issues and the guests all seem to be going about their holidays as usual. This is so surreal with the news flooding in from all over the world.
Our biggest worry is actually getting to the airport as we are at the north of the island and an 85 minute local bus trip from the airport. So if local buses were cancelled it would make it virtually impossible to get there. The staff in the hotel obviously don;t know anymore than us and with us arranging the trip ourselves rather than booking a ‘holiday‘ we don’t have a rep to speak to. More research today on the local buses is needed but it’s so tough to find out what’s really happening here.
We actually don;t have any worries about getting a flight back from the airport as Jet 2 did contact us via email and text yesterday afternoon conforming that our original flight would be going as planned. So we know that they ‘know about us’ and are confident in them getting in touch if their situation changes. It’s just getting to the airport that worries us.
So what next?
Well it’s breakfast as planned and then a bit of research on the bus situation but we are in two minds as to what to do now. Especially as once back in the UK we don’t have a home to self-isolate in. After speaking with one of the reception staff it now appears that the local buses will continue to run but won’t accept cash after Tuesday. So need to pickup a travel card today. Not a problem.
The situation is deteriorating fast everywhere but we’ve decided to sit tight and rely on the information that we have been told rather than panic and run for the airport. As long as we are together we will be able to handle whatever life throws at us.
Wish us luck ……….