After passing check-in requirements at London Heathrow airport, and, by the grace of God, two comfortable flights to Kuala Lumpur, I was then at the third and final stage of navigating Malaysia immigration during Coronavirus.
My wife has promised me that staff at the airport would there to help and assist with my immigration. And I do agree with her. The staff at every stage of the process were kind, helpful and polite. And when I messed up at the digital wristband stage, honest.
However, the immigration process through the airport was a labyrinthine journey that I never felt in full control of. Armed with my folder and phone connected to the airport WiFi stepped into the scrum.
After I stepped off the aeroplane there is a long walk to the aerotrain to take us to the main building. Thankfully there were not that many travellers. I was close to a mature couple standing by the door. The man, by his accent a born and bred Londoner – confident and loud. Well into his retirement, he was told, well built and bald. His lady friend, was Malay, short and equally happy in herself.
After attempting to speak to a quiet and polite Western couple day down opposite he then focused on a Young Malay man next him. “What’s your name then?” He asked. “Gypsum” he replied. To which the cockney man replied “what kinds of name is that? Never heard that one before. Did you invent it?” Thankfully, the young man smiled and said he didn’t understand. Cockney man said never mind and asked his Malay partner to interpret. She didn’t know what he was going on about either and instead started talking to some one else on the train in Malay. So cockney man gave up.
Disembarking the train I walked towards baggage reclaim. At the travelator was a longer sign saying check-in with a QR code. It took us to a mysejahtera web check-in page.No one was there to explain so everyone had a go. This was the first of a number of times I checked in at the airport and I will never know why I needed to do it at this point before everything else and whether I really needed to. Not a promising start.
At the end of the travelator and round a corner was a young man with a visor but no mask (so pointless) standing by the next travelator. He was assisting all the customers with their mysejahtera app. One could walk either side of the travelator and ignore him but that may bite us on the bum later so it was right and proper to ask him, like everyone else, if my app was properly set up. To be honest, I didn’t have a clue myself and the app was not complaining.
So here I was with fifty people holding our phones aloft, in a crowd, no queueing, no social distancing, just a scrum to get the poor man’s attention. Social distancing? Queueing? I had to join in to hold my phone’s with mysejhatera app and nudge my way to the front.
It took three attempts at the scrum by the travelator before I had permission to proceed to the next stage. I had to check-in again. I had nothing but admiration for his calmness and how he helped everyone to complete this obscure app. Off I went down the travelator to the next stage of my immigration journey.