26 Apr 2020

Tourists hunker down rather than fly with baby

6:29 am on 26 April 2020

A Spanish couple say they are anxious about taking a repatriation flight with their six-month-old baby.

A passenger wearing a respiratory mask speaks on her smartphone by the departures board at Rome's Fiumicino airport.

File photo. Photo: AFP

Laia, her husband, and their baby arrived in New Zealand at the start of March for a month-long trip.

After two cancelled flights home, they changed their flights to June and found a place to stay for lockdown.

Laia said she had been in contact with her embassy since the start.

"They have been informing us about possible options to return home, but we have considered them not suitable for a baby.

"First they recommended us to buy flights with Qatar, but some of them were cancelled and without final destination Barcelona. Then they offered some places with repatriation flights from France and Germany. But the final destination was Paris or Frankfurt," she said.

"Some Spaniards returned home with this flights and then they have to be in Frankfurt airport for 48 hours or they had to drive from Paris to Barcelona. We thought that these options were not safe enough to travel with a baby. We didn't have any repatriation flight NZ-Spain."

They felt safe and lucky to be in a country where Covid-19 was more under control, she said.

"It has been a rollercoaster of emotions, we had great days but also bad days and felt anxious because of the situation here and at home - much worse than here - and scared for the uncertain future and not knowing when we will be able to return home," Laia said.

They're staying in a house in Staveley, Canterbury.

"We couldn't be in a better place in this situation. It's a nice and quiet area. We can walk every day around the house with nice views of the mountains, the neighbourhood is worrying for our situation and our hosts make us feel like family," Laia said.

They hoped to move accommodation when New Zealand reaches lower levels to give their hosts some space, she said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs