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Travelling from Greece on the plane that "brought" Omicron to Australia

H Ελένη Κανταράκια μίλησε στο πρόγραμμά της Ελληνικής Ραδιοφωνίας SBS για την περιπέτειά της Source: Facebook/Helen Kantarakia

An expatriate Australian citizen's attempt to reach the country after two years to visit her daughter and sister who live permanently in Australia occur at the same time with the "arrival" of the Omicron variant.

Eleni Kantarakia and her parents were on Qatar Airways flight QR908 from Doha, which was carrying passengers infected with the new variant of the coronavirus.

Main points

  • How she overcame bureaucratic hurdles for the return journey
  • What she says about her experience on the plane and her subsequent agony
  • Her 'thirst' to hug her loved ones after the quarantine

Speaking to SBS Greek about her flight to the Antipodes, she stresses that the safety of the passengers was mainly in the conscience of each individual.

"During the flight, each passenger sat at a distance from the other, so there were empty seats between us and that made us feel safe. We were wearing masks all the time, of course when we had to eat or drink, that's where we all took our masks off and that was an issue. The toilets again, I didn't see anyone going through and disinfecting them after every use. It was purely a matter of protecting ourselves. So everyone was responsible for themselves, in essence."

The easing of restrictions by the federal government on international arrivals has allowed the expatriate to make the return trip as she splits her time between Australia and Greece.

The bureaucratic hurdles were overcome and she and her parents found themselves on one of the repatriation flights.

Η Ελένη Κανταράκια στο πλάι των γονιών της, ενώ σε πρώτο πλάνο διακρίνεται η κόρη της
Facebook/Vanessa Boultadaki

The long journey, under unprecedented conditions, did not effect the spirits of several expatriates who had boarded the same flight, she said.

"We were all thrilled to finally make it back to Australia after two years. Some were continuing on to Canberra and others to Melbourne, we didn't all have Sydney as our destination," she said.

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