I know that we chose to live in an ex-convict settlement, but I never expect to be Locked Inside Australia, unable to leave without Government permission. That has been the reality for 18 months. 

This is my experience of leaving Australia in November 2020…..

I had to get permission to leave Australia due to the total travel ban. My dual nationality helped me get permission on compassionate grounds. 

At the airport, the check-in clerk had to phone the government department in Canberra to confirm each passenger. I knew there would be mandatory 14 day hotel quarantine on my return.

I arrived at Heathrow and walked straight out. No one checked where I had come from. No one said anything about quarantine or self-isolation. No one checked that I had completed the UK “Passenger Locator Form”. 

Sydney had 9 international flights leaving in a 12 hour period. Flights were almost empty.

Airport was like a ghost town. Only a handful of food outlets open. A couple of shops to buy books, magazines, etc. One Duty Free shop open. All designer shops were closed and empty of all stock, abandoned spaces.

Flights were the best I’ve ever taken. I had 18 seats to myself in economy. No queues for the toilets. 

Passenger gift bag had no socks or eye mask, but face mask, hand sanitizer and anti-bac wipes. Face masks were mandatory, even when seated.