Due to the restriction to travel from India to Canada on direct flights, I had to find alternative routes to either via Serbia, Maldives, or Mexico to reach Canada. I had initially booked flight tickets via Serbia- Belgrade on Aug 6th but due to the quarantine rules that Serbia added, i had to change my plans a week before i was scheduled to travel. I had 2 options of either through Mexico, Doha or Maldives. Unfortunately, both the options were really expensive. I decided to take the Maldives route because Mexico has a lot of growing covid cases and in these uncertain times I didn’t want to risk it. The tickets also were costing north of 2.2 lakhs each just for the economy. Crazy prices even for last week’s bookings. Qatar had also introduced a 10 day quarantine rule a day before so we had to strike out that option as well.
So I decided to take the following route.
1. Bom -> Maldives (Stay for 2 days) via Go First 25k economy Aug 6
2. Maldives -> Toronto via Abu Dhabi-Emirates. 98k economy Aug 8
I had booked this itinerary for me and my wife and the total cost was around 1.27 lakhs.
The check-in at Mumbai was smooth because we had a lot of luggage we had to pay around 550rs per kg extra.
The immigration officer asked my final destination and checked my Canadian PR card and flight tickets to Canada. That’s about it. The immigration at Male was smooth as well, the officer checked the hotel booking, flight tickets to Canada, IMUGA form and the RTPCR test. The Imuga form was straightforward. I had filled in Transit as purpose to visit the Maldives.
The most expensive part about the Maldives route is the stay. I had booked a resort which is 10 mins speed boat ride from the Airport. The place was called Kurumba. I spent close to 1 lakhs for 2 days stay including food, RTPCR tests, and transfers.
Since we are fully vaccinated we could have stayed on the main island but since we were spending so much already we decided to spend a bit more and take a mini-vacation in the Maldives. The resort was incredibly beautiful and very well managed.
We choose a beachfront room so there are cheaper options available as well.
Video of the place – https://photos.app.goo.gl/26YwUrLT1wUKzZYy5
We had a nervous last day because someone posted that they were denied boarding from the Male airport to travel via Dubai. What didn’t help was reaching out to Etihad via phone, Twitter and email yielded no response. We had no option but to take the risk and go to the airport and figure stuff out. All tickets via other routes such as Qatar were booked.
Fortunately for us and the rest of the folks, we were allowed to board. This was a huge sign of relief. Please make sure you have all documents such as RTPCR, ArriveCAN receipt etc. The immigration here took a lot of time and the flight was delayed at least by an hour
Video – https://photos.app.goo.gl/BH2n6YrVrCUVs6mP9
The layover at Abudhabi was long, around 9 hours. I would suggest if you have parents, book an airport hotel for them to rest or you can alternatively get a lounge pass as well. We stayed in the lounge for 9 hours to get some sleep, eat and shower. Usually, most Indian credit cards have lounge access or you can buy a pass as well.
The flight from Abu-Dhabi to Toronto was long. around 14 hours but at this point was just happy to reach Canada.
The immigration at Toronto, fortunately, did not take long, they just checked the RTPCR reports, our PR card, and ArriveCAN.
We were not asked to take any Covid tests on arrival or at home. The process took not more than 20 mins. Collected our baggage and headed home. I hope this experience helped. If you have any questions please dont hesistate to reach out to me