Stranded on Madagascar – the almost infinite story of a return action

The Federal government has, together with tour operators and Lufthansa meanwhile, around 120,000 brought in because of the Corona-crisis abroad, the stranded German back. “We have completed the return flow from the main tourist areas as much as possible and dedicate ourselves now, particularly countries in the further distance,” said foreign Minister Heiko Maas, according to a video switch, with its EU counterpart. It was to be assumed that the action of more than 200,000 Germans living abroad.

Among the Germans at a distance from Michael Luckner, the the Coronavirus-crisis-caught in Madagascar. The 37-Year-old, a risk engineer and a member of the volunteer fire Department, reported in the star-Interview of his experience in the organization of a timely return flight.

The Odyssey of a Corona return action

Mr. Luckner you were stranded with your partner as part of a ten-person tour group to Madagascar. How is this happening?

Michael Luckner: We were on eight-day round-trip to Madagascar – the Start and end of each in the capital of Antananarivo. Following yet another week in Madagascar, or Mauritius, was planned. However, on our return to Antananarivo, the tour guide told us that a trip to the seaside resorts could not be done, since they were already closed.

How is expired, the communication with the German Embassy?

We had received up to this date, no official information from the German government, and therefore independently on the way to the Embassy made. The experience was sobering: The clerk informed us clearly that the by the tour operator planned return journey on 19. March on Mauritius is not taking place, and that, if we the country not until the 19th century. March 23: 59 PM would leave for 30 days there is no flight in Madagascar and the land will start.

How reassuring.

She has advised us that the health system would be in Madagascar, the second worst in the world, and there is no ventilation equipment is available and that we had hopefully been to in the booking aware of them.

How did it go?

When she saw our reaction, she was and has taken care of us for the two – organize your opinion – the last safe flights out of the country: an Ethiopian Airways and another with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. Then we should put us in a Taxi to the Tickets in a local travel Agency to pick up and to pay costs of nearly 6000 Euro.

You have almost paid 6000 Euro for two tickets?

No. When we arrived at the travel Agency had cancelled the booking on Ethiopian Airways. We have finally decided to prefer as a Couple and with the tour group to stay together before one of us landed somewhere in the world, alone, stranded. We prefer to continue to trust in the booking by the tour operator.

They waited, therefore, more in the Hotel. How was the mood among the Affected?

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First of all, good. The local tour operators took care of quite well, but was to rely on hear say. A official written Information from the German tour operator was not already in place, and, at least in the Internet the flights as “scheduled” (scheduled, Anm. d. Red.).

Who kept you on the latest developments on the ongoing?

Only the local tour operators.

Have you believed to this time to a timely return flight?

I expected to spend at least another night in a Hotel – because it is the confirmation that the plane that would take us to Mauritius, to land in Madagascar, but empty would fly followed. So we had to wait for more.

And in the travel group is not in a bad mood still?

Late in the afternoon, the tour guide came to the Hotel and informed us that there is currently no way to leave the country for us. Therefore, he would travel the following day with us to the Embassy so that we could register there. In addition, it was stated that since last night, no other plane out of Madagascar started. At the Moment the mood in the group to beat – partly in anger, because this statement was not to understand for us. Finally, we were able to read in the Internet that apparently flights were available. We requested a phone call with the managing Director.

Out Of Despair?

We had the feeling that the care was driven by the travel Agency to gradually shut down. This impression was reinforced by the fact that the travel Agency acquired services, such as meals and more Nights of stay were not continued. It tears, because it felt just helpless. All Attempts to contact the German contact person for the tour operator, were unsuccessful. The phone lines had “a technical fault” and the E-Mails only standardized answers.

You have reached eventually, however, someone?

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We finally got an electronic Letter from the German Embassy, which confirmed the already known information and mentioned that it’s on the 23. March last able to leave the country with Air France would be. Attempts by fellow passengers, then at Elefand (crisis prevention list of the German foreign office, Anm. d. Red.) to register, failed because the page was not accessible. I had done this, fortunately, already.

The next day they were brought with other German guests of your hotel to the Embassy. What was communicated there?

We were told that an Air France machine came to Madagascar. The German Embassy wanted to give a message about German Stranded at the French Embassy next. Ultimately, the decision would be then, but in the case of Air France, who could fly.

How did the formalities?

We should specify the reasons that militated in favour of an immediate return journey – for example, serious illnesses, and responsibilities, but also of your own “value” in the Corona-crisis, whether it counts so, for example, to the medical personnel. In the Moment of a combative mood developed, not within the group, but in General: Everyone wanted to get get the Best out of it – but not in comparison to the fellow passengers, but just one of the places in the plane.

And as you are in love with the message verb?

The clerk informed us that the chances of a place on the plane would be extremely low – instead, we should explore the us but rather in the next pharmacy to generics for medications you would need and you would not, of course, for 30 days.

Then it was back to the Hotel?

On the return journey each of us has done in the supermarket shopping for the next few days. In addition, it was already clarified with the Hotel, which would cost we can expect for the next 30 days. Here I would like to thank the very nice and helpful hotel Manager.

Had you resigned yourself to the time with your situation?

Back at the Hotel, the situation has not developed suddenly and very dynamically. At once, there should be a flight the next day at 1.45 PM. I immediately looked under our old confirmation number and noted that we had already a booking and were able to check in. The tour guide confirmed that the travel agencies are in the process of us on this flight to rebook. In Parallel, I received an E-Mail message, in this flight also was mentioned.

A surprising turn for the Good.

As the questions of the costs of acquisition were settled, we headed high to the motivated Pack. There was a shared dinner, before we went to 20.30 at the airport. The purchases we have left to the hotel staff.

The relief must have been great.

In the joy, the certainty, that with our departure, the Hotel will stand for the next 30 days will be empty and the livelihood of the employees would cease to interfere in the Moment. This is the feeling we had right after the round-trip: the crisis in Germany is true, but how hard it hits first on a poor country such as Madagascar? Our guide confirmed that you would be available for the next 30 days any reservation.

Even if the Coronavirus was the trigger for the Situation, you may have all the time hardly had time to think about it.

On the ride to the airport, we learned that on the same day, three Corona-have been confirmed cases in Madagascar. Us a queasy feeling, what awaited us at the airport came over therefore. There would a lot of people try to get a last seat on the plane? We would be tested once more to fever and could not provide a stress due to increased temperature, that it is for a self, for the Partner or the whole group but home?

And in the end everything turned out quite differently?

The opposite occurred: The check in was very coordinated and easily, and we wondered already – that could not possibly be everything?! But actually the plane was not completely full. We can explain it to us just so that not every potential fellow passengers had learned of the flight.

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