I'm a Canadian stuck in Honduras and I just want to get back home
Last week Justin Trudeau encouraged the return of all Canadian citizens abroad. I was able to get the last ferry to mainland Honduras before it stopped running indefinitely, stranding those left on the island.
When I arrived I was informed that Honduras had closed its borders and would not be allowing anyone to enter or exit the country. There was a complete shutdown of all air, sea, and land transport in the country.
I realized I would be stuck in La Ceiba.
Delta and few other airlines were irresponsibly still offering flights so many people, including myself, purchased a flight from the mainland to have it cancelled. They are not offering refunds, only credit.
It became apparent that if I am able to get a flight, I have no way out of Honduras, and will be stuck here indefinitely.
The city is under lockdown. There are no people on the street and a curfew is in place. Grocery stores are only open on select days. Due to the language barrier we are often unsure which days.
Yesterday we returned with only rice and canned vegetables, misunderstanding it for a shopping day. When grocery stores are open, it seems the whole city lines up. It defeats the purpose of the lockdown.
Airlines have sent several flights to the island, Roatan. Nothing has been done to help those on the mainland. The government announced this week it would send two repatriate flights - one to the mainland and one to Roatan.
Yesterday I received an email from the government encouraging everyone to buy commercial flights from United Airlines or American Airlines that were just scheduled. Prices range from $700-1,000.
Airlines are exploiting those in need of help. Most take a full day with several layovers in the US or involve spending 17 hours in an airport.
People fear they are more likely to come in contact with the virus on these journeys. They are also nervous of flight cancellations or sudden airport shutdowns.
Today the government sent another email encouraging people to book directly with airlines. I conceded and tried to book a flight. The flight was $1,076 and does not include baggage.
For perspective, my flight to Central America was $200 and included baggage. I received an error message. I attempted twice and then asked my father in Canada to book the flight for me.
He received the same error message. Flights seemed to have doubled as I am on hold with the airline. I finally got through to an agent and was able to secure my seat.
Not everyone has the financial means for these flights. Families of four would be spending over $4,000 to return home.
Many people are sceptical of these commercial flights since all prior flights out of Honduras have been cancelled at the last minute. There’s no guarantee with these flights.
There are people opting to wait, optimistic the government will intervene and send a repatriation flight. I worry this may be the last opportunity to leave before all airlines suspend flights indefinitely.
I have a perforated eardrum that needs to be reassessed in a few weeks. Myself and other Canadians in mainland Honduras were relying on the governments intervention to get us home.
We now feel abandoned.
I know there are others like me in similar situations. We all just want to get home safely.
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