With my wife, we flew from Hungary to Sao Paulo through Amsterdam in the beginning of November, 2020. Our final destination was Paraguay but due to this global pandemic it was so hard to find direct flights, so we must get used to fly with one or more stops.
Be aware, if you travel to Paraguay from Brazil, you will also need to have Yellow Fever vaccination to be done minimum 10 days before the departure. This vaccination is required to enter to certain countries. We did this vaccination back in Hungary in a local medical center. It was 22.000 HUF (60 EUR)/person. It did not give any side effect for me but my wife got enlarged lumps on her underarms and high temperature for about 2 days.
We left the country in a hurry; made the decision with a next day departure, booked tickets, accommodation and insurance, packed our luggage, all in 4 hours. It was due to the government adding more restrictions, we did not want to get stuck in the country.
We booked our accommodation to Sao Paulo on Air B&B about what I will write more in my next post. I use SafetyWing insurance regularly, for about 3 years. We have their Nomad Insurance which covers most countries in the World and even Covid, which is often a requirement for entry to a country. You can even download a Visa letter. I will write a detailed post about their services.
We flew by KLM and booking the ticket was straight forward through their website. I signed up for their Flying Blue membership to collect miles. I noticed the same program works with Air France, as KLM and Air France have merged. I could even log in to the Air France website with my KLM account – happy days!
At Budapest Airport there is a recently built Ibis hotel (finally, this was very much needed as the closest hotel was not directly at the airport). It is a nice, modern hotel and the best feature that you can walk directly to the terminal or car parks. However, I found the room rate expensive, even comparing to European prices. 35.000-40.000 HUF (95-110 EUR) for a double room is rather expensive when talking about an East European hotel.
Our flight departed early, at 6:30 am, so we got up early and walked to the terminal. To be honest, after watching the news for months, I expected the military at the airport, cleaners in “space suit”, like in the movie Outbreak. Arriving there, the first cleaner was a typical Hungarian lady in her 50s not even wearing a mask. Nobody checked our temperature, it was very relaxed, too relaxed. Appeared as if the country does not care if an ill person leaves the country and spread the virus elsewhere, the main thing, not to bring it in.
Flying with KLM was a nice experience, the Budapest-Amsterdam flight was a bit full. You can forget what the commercials say about there is a free seat next to every passenger because of Covid. There are fewer flights, often more packed planes on busy routes. We had 2 hours to change flight in Amsterdam that was more than enough. When transiting, no need to worry about PCR-tests, you are just not allowed to leave the airport and must follow the signs to your next departure gate. The flight to Sao Paulo was about half full, which was great for the passengers. Many people had slept on one row of seats. The entertainment and legroom were all fine. The only disappointment was that even when we have chosen a special meal (vegan) with our tickets, we did not get any meal saying “sorry, due to the pandemic, no special meal for you”. Luckily, we were prepared for this and had some home-made tortilla wrap with us, thanks to my wife. How can an airline afford such treatment on a long-haul flight? Eat a meat and milk-based meal because of Covid. Why is it difficult to put together even a simple salad with potato? I don`t know but I noticed, Covid is often a good excuse for many things. However, I later heard that they resumed the special meal at the end of November 2020.
We arrived to Sao Paulo after about 13 hours of the departure time, a bit tired but rather excited. After collecting our luggage, we got to an airport taxi and headed to our first accommodation.