COVID-19 "Free To Fly" procedures and tests for Americans

Proneshooter

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Rookhawk,
I have to agree with everything you said and also to "Thank You" for the information. I am finding everything you posted is true. I cannot find a clinic/hospital, or even travel clinic, here in Michigan that I can count on to deliver test results in a time frame that makes me comfortable. Also there is a lot of conflicting information out right now as to when the test must be performed. Trying to get to Zimbabwe in early November and so far the only company I can find to get me results back quickly is the company you linked to. Many places will not even test you if you show no symptoms, or work in a high risk environment, so you will be forced to lie to get the test. Right now it seems Zim. wants the test performed 48 hours PRIOR to your arrival in country which is a nearly impossible timeline for an American traveller, and they require a test upon departure. I have verified you can get the departure test right in the Harare airport with results returned in an hour. It's hard for me to imagine how Zim. can have this together, but not the U.S.
As my trip is scheduled now I have no choice but to leave for Dulles the day before getting on Ethiopian and that adds another twist to this entire trip. We shall see how this shakes out but getting into Zambia is a much more simple process.
 

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Weather, mechanical issues, software issues, pilot and crew issues can throw a monkey wrench in to the best laid plans. Last time I flew, December 2019, it was from OKC to PHL, flight time around three hours. Wheels up supposed to be around 10:00 a.m., delayed due to weather, rerouted through St. Louis, that changed to Chicago. Landed in PHL at 3:00 a.m. the next day.
Old saying pilots still use "Time to spare, take to the air".
 

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Rookhawk,
I have to agree with everything you said and also to "Thank You" for the information. I am finding everything you posted is true. I cannot find a clinic/hospital, or even travel clinic, here in Michigan that I can count on to deliver test results in a time frame that makes me comfortable. Also there is a lot of conflicting information out right now as to when the test must be performed. Trying to get to Zimbabwe in early November and so far the only company I can find to get me results back quickly is the company you linked to. Many places will not even test you if you show no symptoms, or work in a high risk environment, so you will be forced to lie to get the test. Right now it seems Zim. wants the test performed 48 hours PRIOR to your arrival in country which is a nearly impossible timeline for an American traveller, and they require a test upon departure. I have verified you can get the departure test right in the Harare airport with results returned in an hour. It's hard for me to imagine how Zim. can have this together, but not the U.S.
As my trip is scheduled now I have no choice but to leave for Dulles the day before getting on Ethiopian and that adds another twist to this entire trip. We shall see how this shakes out but getting into Zambia is a much more simple process.
I just read your post and that is EXACTLY what I am doing...headed to Zimbabwe from the USA with Ethiopian Airlines. New York to Dulles-Addis Abbas-Lusaka-to Harare.

How is it possible to get a 48 hour test prior to our arrival in Harare? I will speak with Debbie Gracy about it but I have a feeling that nobody knows the answer
 

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I just read your post and that is EXACTLY what I am doing...headed to Zimbabwe from the USA with Ethiopian Airlines. New York to Dulles-Addis Abbas-Lusaka-to Harare.

How is it possible to get a 48 hour test prior to our arrival in Harare? I will speak with Debbie Gracy about it but I have a feeling that nobody knows the answer
Shakka,
I am also using Gracy and there seems to be some conflicting info out there. I just spoke today (Whats App) to a friend that landed in Harare today. His Covid test expired before landing but had no troubles from the Govt. Officials.

Here is how he described the entire flight:

"Rechecking the gun in Addis was not bad, 5 people on the plane had guns and the entire process took 1 ½ hours from deplane to sitting at the next gate waiting to board.Plane had more people on it than I had expected. From Zambia to Harare a lot of people got on. Ethiopian told me Zim would probably retest me because it was over 48 hours since testing but that was not the case. Zim. has a couple of health screening forms to fill out as soon as you get off the plane. A guy goes down the line and takes your temp. and tells you what to write down. It takes some time if your at the back of the line".

I hope this helps a bit.
 

rookhawk

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@rookhawk, Safe travels and good luck to you sir. Looking forward to the hunt report.

in the current climate of cancel culture, doxxing, and the antis threatening I don’t do hunt reports. Heck, I’m not even sure I hunt?

However, happy to give travel info.

The airports are quite quiet. Emirates UAE is packed at the airport lounge and the airport hotel is sold out. Why? 8 of 9 airport lounges are shuttered and the remaining one is social distancing at 1/4 capacity. The hotel is sold out because no one wants to cross the sanitary side of the terminal as it would invoke new screening and a new Covid test. Hence, supply of lounges and hotels is low, even with tiny demand there is congested interest.

At the airport and in route, no temp screening our inquiries about health was conducted. Just a questionnaire about if you’ve done things that could expose you to Covid. At the ticket counter (barren) they ask for your Covid certificate and that’s it.

overall, pretty darned smooth, especially because of so few travelers contending for service.

incidentally, Emirates requires 30 days advance notice for “restricted item” approval. A nice email to them and it was approved with 4 days notice. (Approved in 48 hours)

they also appear to be desperate for customers. They pushed pretty hard for me to upgrade to first class for $1200 a segment but I declined. (About half of normal)

One last thing to be aware of: Emirates has a new class of service option to consider. It’s a stripped down business class ticket missing a few neat things. 1.) no free hotel for the layover in Dubai. 2.) no free limo to and from home airport. 3.) no free Emirates lounge access. 4.) no pre-assigned seat.

it saves $1500 making biz class a heck of a bargain, particularly since my carry on is 50lbs which they never give me trouble over and both checked bags were 70lbs. The over weight / oversized fees on a coach ticket would make it the same as this discount biz ticket option.

That’s what I know about Covid travel this week.
 

rookhawk

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Friends.

a few opinions of mine and rumors from on the ground in Africa.

I don’t know anything about Ethiopian airlines but they have a good reputation. I would still recommend Emirates for a few reasons.

1.) cost. I don’t think it’s more.
2.) the reason you’re looking at Ethiopian or your agent picked it is because it goes into Vic Falls. Emirates goes into Harare. That’s a 6 hour ground transport issue potentially. I’d still do Emirates.
3.) you’ll have one connection in Dubai and then you’ll just sit on the Lusaka tarmac for 20 mins without off boarding for Harare. It’s quicker.
4.) no check-recheck of guns means no delays and less chance guns go missing as they love to do.
5.) you can do your own rifle permit direct on Emirates website...just what your travel agent would do. It’s easy and requires no special skills. Far from the case with multiple carriers or a pass-through RSA.
6.) see my comments in a prior post about the discount new business class on Emirates. It’s a bargain. You’ll pay nearly as much for coach + overweight baggage fees.

Regarding Covid test interpretations in Zimbabwe. I’m hearing that they are interpreting it as within 48 hours of departure, not what the law/rule in writing says which is less than 48 hours from arrival. You can see by this Zimbabwe notice they are blurring the lines between 48 from departure and 48 from arrival.



In other news, Zim is getting rain which is messing with plans for many. Elephants are scurrying into Botswana as the rains came earlier than past years. A perfect time to come for a leisurely “let’s see what kind of luck we have” but a terrible time for a first-safari with the pressure of “I have this list of animals I must hunt or else”.



94F003F6-5623-4407-9090-7185D87ED345.jpeg
 

rookhawk

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Quick update:

Harare was easy to navigate during Covid. A few forms, a long queue, and then temp check and present Covid papers. They had no issues with my 2-3 day old papers.

there were 4-5 hunters with guns on that plane alone. I made small talk with them (Americans) and they were all heading to the Save Conservancy for different things.

None had any issues.

Please take special note: these guys were heading to areas that are not convenient from Harare. Nonetheless, flying Emirates to Harare is the best way or perhaps the only way right now. Bulawayo is shut, connecting in Jo’burg won’t work, and Vic Falls only does Ethiopian and not regularly enough. (Return from Vic was four flights on 2-3 airlines)

bottom line: everything is working well from Harare and pick-ups and over road trips from their are to be expected.

On the ground, lots of game is moving as there has been a bit of rain. Seeing a lot of Tsessebe, a leopard kill site, klippspringer, impala, duiker, steenbok, and plenty of elephants.
 

Shakka

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Shakka,
I am also using Gracy and there seems to be some conflicting info out there. I just spoke today (Whats App) to a friend that landed in Harare today. His Covid test expired before landing but had no troubles from the Govt. Officials.

Here is how he described the entire flight:

"Rechecking the gun in Addis was not bad, 5 people on the plane had guns and the entire process took 1 ½ hours from deplane to sitting at the next gate waiting to board.Plane had more people on it than I had expected. From Zambia to Harare a lot of people got on. Ethiopian told me Zim would probably retest me because it was over 48 hours since testing but that was not the case. Zim. has a couple of health screening forms to fill out as soon as you get off the plane. A guy goes down the line and takes your temp. and tells you what to write down. It takes some time if your at the back of the line".

I hope this helps a bit.

Thanjs again for the information!

I am going to check again with Debbie because I do remember her saying that Ethiopian Airlines would check my rifle all the way through to Harare without having to recheck it

Glad you told me that you had to recheck in Ethiopia
 

Proneshooter

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Thanjs again for the information!

I am going to check again with Debbie because I do remember her saying that Ethiopian Airlines would check my rifle all the way through to Harare without having to recheck it

Glad you told me that you had to recheck in Ethiopia
Shaka,
Just to be clear, it was not me that I was posting about, it was a friend whom just headed over to Zimbabwe. I was just relaying what he told me about the trip on Ethiopian. My trip is not until Nov.
 

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Just a quick note, I needed a PCR test to get into Alaska a few weeks ago for a fishing trip. I was able to call a local clinic that was doing the 15 min Abbot Labs test. Drove up, they took sample, did test and gave me results in 30-45 min. About $200. The Nurse was even kind enough to to write an additional note, summarized the test / Date / negative results on a prescription pad. So I ended up with 2 documents that looked good an official.

So, if your needed a test to travel, I would call around to testing sites and see if any are doing travel / 15 min tests. If your anywhere near Lubbock TX, Covenant clinics are.
 

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That link shows most of the places you can get a Covid test. Then just call and see if it’s rapid or not. This site will tell you if you need doctor approval (or symptoms) or not to get the test.
 

rookhawk

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I couldn’t figure out how a lot of people were getting this done using alternatives not mentioned until I read this hilarious article. Basically, people are using photoshop to illegally beat the rules.

 

Hogpatrol

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@rookhawk, That's old news. Same with taking tylenol for fever reduction. For some, rules are made to be broken.
 

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