The Journey Home…

31st July 2022

We started our journey home on a Sunday. This made it difficult because we had to have a RT-PCR COVID test within 48 hours of our flight to Hong Kong but also had to have it before we started our journey home from Chicago.

We had been in Tennessee for about a week before we headed up to the Chicago area to see some people before we headed home. My middle sister had COVID for that week while we were there. We ended up staying at the hotel attached to the airport the night before the flight. My brother ended up testing positive for COVID the day we left.

The whole situation was chaotic because our flight wasn’t until 9:30 that night. We had to check out of the hotel at noon. We had all of our bags and couldn’t check in to the flight until about 4PM. That meant we had our luggage. I was able to get the hotel to hold onto it for us for a while, but then I was silly and got it back way too soon.

Oh well.

We were able to get our RT-PCR tests done at the airport. Those little buggers are so expensive…

Finally, we were able to check in to our flight. We were flying out on Alaska Air. It was an airline we had never taken before. We were flying into Seattle. That was just the first leg of our journey. I had to laugh because when I asked if they needed to see our RT-PCR tests, they told me that wasn’t their problem. The next airline would ask for it.

Flight from Chicago to Seattle

The first flight wasn’t too bad. Airplanes are NEVER comfortable. It was a four hour flight though, and that was not counting the 13 hours we would have to fly to Taipei.

We got into Seattle right before midnight. Our flight to Taipei was around 3AM. The kids were wrecked even after that first flight.

Landed in Seattle

There was almost no one in the airport as we tried to make our way to our gate for the next flight. We were flying out with EVA for the next two flights. We had flown in on them on our way into the US. They weren’t too bad.

This was the point where I had to prove everything to them.

  1. Proof of negative RT-PCR tests for all of us. They actually looked at them twice to make sure that the timings were right with time zones and all of that.
  2. Vaccination records. To get into Hong Kong successfully, we had to have our vaccination records for COVID. The kids and I have all had 3 doses, so that was no issue.
  3. Proof of a quarantine hotel. We had to have confirmation letters for the hotels with all of our names on the listings. If they had our names wrong from our passports of HKID, then they wouldn’t be valid. I had finally gotten the name corrected on R’s reservation. That only took 3 tries. They kept spelling her middle name incorrectly.

The guy who checked our documents was actually impressed because I had them all organized and printed out. He said he had a lot of people who just didn’t have anything and then had to look for it in email. I’ve spent enough time in Hong Kong to know that printing things would be the way to go.

We were able to board our flight with no problems to Taipei. The kids and I were all sitting in middle seats on the isle so that we were able to get in and out easier. I think that did do a lot to help with comfort.

Landed in Taipei

We made it to Taipei. It was a much different experience in some aspects and similar in others.

This time, we had a long line to get through to get through security. It was sort of a token attempt at security. They made a big deal about not having any liquids and made my kids dump out their water, but I was able to get a Dunkin Donuts coffee through with no problem.

The parts that were the same is that we were color coded with stickers and asked to remain in a room and wait for our flight to be called. We weren’t allowed to leave that room for the duration of our layover.

This is what we had to do the first time when we came through, so we knew what the deal was. It seemed like the flight to Hong Kong was the last flight called for this room. We were finally taken to our flight.

When we were finally taken to our flight and allowed to board, it had started to rain. We ended up waiting at the gate to go to the runway for almost an hour.

Flight From Taipei to Hong Kong

I’m not going to lie, the kids and I were just done at this point. The flight to Taipei had been ridiculously uncomfortable. I know I was in a lot of pain from all of the sitting. The kids hadn’t gotten a ton of sleep because of how the flights were arranged. Airline food is just overall terrible, so they hadn’t really eaten that well since we left the US.

Luckily, the flight to Hong Kong from Taipei was about 2 hours. It was such a short flight compared to what we had been going through, so we were all really just hopeful it would be over soon.

Landed in Hong Kong

We made it back to Hong Kong. So begins the fun…

Of course arriving into Hong Kong couldn’t be that easy.

There is a whole process you have to go through to be able to leave the airport. There are different stations throughout.

  1. You have to have your QR code that works as your declaration of health. I made the mistake of ticking L had a cough. They tell you so many times if you lie, you could be fined $10K HKD. L had had a cold while we were in Disney World and still had a cough. I ticked he had a cough, and when they saw the red around his code, they flipped out. They took him to the nurses in the back. I will say everyone was incredibly friendly and kind. When I finally got to talk to someone, I explained to them what had happened, and they just said to change his declaration.
  2. Rat test is completed. The RAT test gets you out of the airport. If you are negative, you are allowed to leave. If positive, you are sent to Penny Bay (government quarantine facility)
  3. RT-PCR test completed. These results come back the next day. If they are negative, you don’t hear anything. If they are positive, you are sent to Penny Bay.
  4. Quarantine orders created.

After you get your quarantine order, you go through immigration and collect your bags.

Once we had everything, we are directed to another station where they tell us the results of our RAT tests. They give us the information for our bus to our quarantine hotel. We would be going into the hotel on 2nd August and wouldn’t be released until midnight on 9th August.

Finally out of the airport!!! Technically in Hong Kong.

It took us about an hour from start to finish at the airport. That’s much better than I had heard for others who had taken 4 hours to get through the airport. We had about a 45 minute bus drive to our quarantine hotel. We were the last hotel on the route. I will say, they were super quick at each stop. They got your bags off of the bus and helped you to get them into the hotel. There wasn’t much waiting around in between.

Now, we were going up to our home for the next 7 days.

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