Elderly man turned down flight from New York after Covid-19 rules confused – The Royal Gazette
Created: March 12, 2022 07:33
Line of rules: JetBlue planes on the tarmac (file photograph)
Bermuda’s Covid-19 travel restrictions were eased on Monday – but the new border rules were of no help to an elderly Bermudian traveler who was denied a return flight.
The 80-year-old was stunned and devastated after officials from low-cost airline JetBlue at New York’s JFK airport refused to let him board his plane.
The traveler said: ‘When I got to health clearance they were adamant I couldn’t get on the flight – and they were rude too.
“I showed them my vaccination certificate and explained that I was Bermudian.
“They weren’t interested. There was no empathy.
“I was there for two hours and then had to cancel my checked bag and rebook a new flight for the next day at an additional cost of $75.”
The man added that the trip had been “an expensive experience” after he had to pay to change his ticket and book a hotel for the night.
He swore: “I will not travel again until this Covid business is over. I flew in on Sunday and the JetBlue flight was four and a half hours late.
The man, who asked not to be named, had proof of vaccination but had not had a clear coronavirus test result in the previous 24 hours.
Vaccinated residents without a valid pre-travel test can travel under Bermuda’s latest set of rules, but are required to take a supervised antigen test upon arrival.
The government has consistently stressed that Bermudians have a constitutional right to return home – although the pandemic has prevented some people from boarding flights to the island.
The elder said: ‘My concern is that I can imagine some older people not being able to understand the process and not being able to travel.
“I was told I could take a Covid test at the airport. I went to another terminal and had to take a PCR test in a van in the parking lot.
“It took me 45 minutes to get to the site to get Covid tested because the way they had it set up, my address and zip code in Bermuda was not working.”
He said he was told his test results would be sent to his phone in 15 minutes.
But nothing had happened 45 minutes later.
Bermuda Precautions for air and sea travel were streamlined on Monday,
Visitors aged 2 and over are required to provide a clear coronavirus test result and visitors aged 12 and over must be vaccinated.
Vaccinated residents and work permit holders must take a supervised antigen test upon arrival if they have not taken a pre-travel test, but those who have a pre-travel test do not have to take a test after their arrival on the island.
A completed travel authorization form is also still required, but the fee has been reduced from $75 to $40.