Coronavirus: Couple reveals 'terrifying' reality of flying internationally

Marni Dixit
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·5-min read

A San Francisco couple who have been stuck on their honeymoon in Sri Lanka for four months due to the coronavirus pandemic have finally been able to fly home, however, their flight home is incredibly different to the flight caught in.

John and Michelle Senyard had planned to travel around Thailand and Sri Lanka after marrying on March 2. After completing the Thailand portion of the trip, they moved on to Sri Lanka but two days after their arrival they were informed their flight home had been cancelled as San Francisco began restricting incoming flights.

Couple stuck on honeymoon reveal how flying has changed since coronavirus pandemic
A San Francisco couple who have been stuck on their honeymoon in Sri Lanka for four months have finally been able to fly home, however, their flight home is incredibly different to the flight caught in. Photo: Instagram/trainsandplanes

The pair started a TikTok account showing what life is like living in Sri Lanka during the pandemic as they wait for their flight home.

In one video they reveal that they haven't been staying in luxury accomodation for the entire time, but have been "hopping around surf hostels" since their hotel was forced to shut down.

They've both also been working remotely as their holiday time is well and truly over.

"It hasn't always been easy but we have each other," they said.

Since Sri Lanka has slowly started to reopen for tourism, John and Michelle have been able to travel around and, luckily for them, most places are virtually empty.

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In one video they ride the famous train to Ella, which is known as "the most scenic train ride in the world".

In their most recent video, however, they show how the traveling experience has changed on international flights.

"Travelling internationally in 2020 looks a lot different than it did a few months ago..." they wrote, showing everyone onboard the plane wearing both face shields and face masks.

What was perhaps most shocking was the fact the cabin crew were wearing full hazmat suits.

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One follower commented, "This is honestly terrifying to see and knowing it’s our new reality."

Another added, "I just don’t like how close everybody hast to sit next to each other on the plane. You would think that there would be a seat in between everybody."

Someone else said, "Surreal... Forever changed industry."

Many also questioned whether the airline supplied the face shields and masks with another follower responding, "Qatar airlines is giving everyone face masks, face shields, gloves, disinfectant, and more! They’re amazing!!!! Really making everyone feel safe!"

TikTok users show how different flying is amid the coronavirus pandemic
Everyone onboard the plane wearing both face shields and face masks, but what was most shocking was the fact the cabin crew were wearing full hazmat suits. Photo: TikTok/@meeshandjohn

Taking to Instagram, Michelle shared a few photos from their trip and wrote, "Sri Lanka. What can we say? You have a piece of our hearts forever. Despite the initial shock of getting stuck, the ups and downs of adjusting, and the vicious bug bites hah this country became our beautiful new normal in the middle of the global pandemic.

"Ten days turning into FOUR months of marriage living in Sri Lanka — obviously not our plan. But as always, getting completely hijacked by God’s plan became the greatest adventure we never could have dreamed up ourselves.

“Surfing every day with turtles and reef sharks, playing mafia until 2am, doing laundry out of a plastic tub, eating candlelit tacos and fries on the floor during power outages, finding rice and curry in the oddest places, creating new families of stranded tourists, bartering for bootleg whiskey, scooter adventures (and debacles), 50 cent avocados, fresh baked curry bread... ALL OF IT and so much more, that could never fit in an Instagram caption, has been so rich with joy.

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"Trust me not every day was easy, but John and I feel like this has been God’s epic wedding present to us. We love you Sri Lanka and all the beautiful people we met who helped make it our home. Thank you for the longest, greatest, most stoked out super moon. SF...Senyards are comin’ in hot."

Speaking with NBC in April, the newlyweds joked that they were calling it "a supermoon".

Michelle added, "It’s definitely been a rollercoaster."

Couple stuck on their honeymoon pose on beach
Michelle called their honeymoon "the greatest adventure we never could have dreamed up ourselves". Photo: Instagram/trainsandplanes

“There have been a lot of times where John has had to hold me and say, ‘hey, we're gonna be okay.’ And I don't totally believe him, but I kind of have to because I have no other choice," she said.

“I only have one person in this entire country that I can really lean on.”

At one point, they found a way to get home, but it would involve 45 hours of travel. John said they'd have to sleep in airports and have "layovers through some of the worst coronavirus infected cities, and I think our immune systems would just be crushed after all that".

“I historically get sick every single time after traveling long hours,” said Michelle. “And so I think that's what really made our final decision, was that in terms of our health, we would definitely be more at risk,” she said.

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