Traveling by air – from Switzerland to Denmark and from Denmark to Iceland

Why is this guy traveling to Iceland for the third time since  COVID-19? Is he trying to prove that it’s possible? How do you get there? What’s the difference between an antibody test, antigen test, and a PCR test? Will he even get to Iceland or will the whole trip be an epic fail. Before we raise any more questions let’s hear what he has to say. 

Hi! My name is Daniel and yes I am traveling to Iceland yet again. Last time I made a documentary that can be found here:

Part one

Part two

Part three

Since my last journey, I have spent most of my time at home. I probably experienced similar things like you if you are also in a COVID-19 unfriendly job such as me (travel business). The short version sounds something like this. First, it’s great “Yes, I get to spend some time at home doing things I have wanted to do but never found the time”. Then, once you realize that there is literally nothing left to watch on Netflix (boring). Then you think about the last 20 years and wonder where the time went. After you have coped to the new world and learned how to live with the situation you want to get out there and experience something. It was then when I thought to myself: “I am sick and tired of these COVID-19 stories”. Everybody is talking about it, there is nothing else on the news. COVID here and COVID there, maybe some Donald Trump, and oh, look at all this snow. Where did that come from, is it because the airplanes are grounded and not heating up the atmosphere that it snows this much. It reaches the maximum level where you simply can’t hear it anymore. The result is that you delete your Facebook account and get back to life as it was before. But one thing is missing, what is it? YES, I WANT TO TRAVEL! I love traveling and being on the move. The local newspaper has an interesting article about traveling in 2021. Some travel agents tell you to wait and others tell you to prebook to get better rates. Some say stay at home and others say go out there and travel. For me as a travel specialist, these three til four worldwide changes are inevitable: People will travel longer, they will want more privacy, they will want to avoid crowded places and perhaps the trip should be somewhere close by. At the moment no one is booking a trip because the government most likely told you to stay at home. At the same time, you think that if you book a trip the money will be gone and you will not be able to go anyway. Will the airplane even take off, will the hotel be bankrupt or will the government come up with another brilliant idea to ruin your trip? Common! These guys are just trying to do something to stop the spread.

Next thing I know I find myself on the SAS homepage booking a flight and decide to go to Iceland. Booking the flight is no problem and the situation in Iceland has not changed since my last trip there. I will have to undergo a PCR test at the airport (this time for free), stay in quarantine for 5 days, and undergo a second test. No worries! I gladly do that and you know why? It gives me confidence that I will be somewhere that is not crowded, with just a few cases of covid and away from it all. 

In 14 days the adventure should start and I keep monitoring if the world is changing again. Looks like all is good until 7 days before my journey I receive an email from SAS. Since I will be flying from Zürich to Kastrup (Denmark) and from Denmark to Keflavík (Iceland) the danish law applies.  The Danes have decided that no one can fly there without a PCR test prior to boarding the airplane. That only applies to transit travelers because if you want to go to Denmark you need to be danish or have a good excuse (there is a list on the governmental homepage). The PCR test must not be older than 24h! How is that even possible and why is the news so complicated and misleading? Let’s clear this up:

The Danish government states that you may enter the country if you are in transit. You do not need a PCR test at the border.  I thought GREAT! However, if you are traveling there by air you need the test. What! How else would I go there and why do you even send me this e-mail! Hold on, breathe normally, don’t panic, and stay calm. Let’s do some research and here is the result. Quick test (antibody) is not permitted, PCR test is permitted if within 24h before boarding the plane, and antigen tests are also permitted. A quick test (also called antibody) is the one where you know immediately if the body is fighting against covid. PCR Test is the one where someone sticks a long q-tip up your nose and down your throat. The antigen is the one where the doctor takes blood and measures how much antigen you have if any. Basically, the antigen would tell you if you already had covid-19. 

Antigen has become quite popular in Iceland and it seems elsewhere too. In Iceland, there is a new rule that if you can provide a positive COVID-19 test that is older than 14 days or an antigen test you can enter the country without undergoing more tests or quarantine. So all of a sudden it’s great and cool if you already had COVID-19. You basically have a free pass and if someone asked you about COVID-19 you say: “Been there, done it, seen it and I am immune to it… here is my proof!” Oh, I have never wished that I had an illness until now! Come here COVID-19 but don’t kill me. Sorry for the sarcasm, I can’t help it. 

I rush to the conclusion that it will not be possible to get a PCR test within 24h before take off. It takes 2 days to get the result! I start calling the Swiss hospitals and no one offers the antigen test. I call a doctor that I know and finally, he tells me that he can do the antigen test. So I rush to the doctor and have a container of blood removed from my body before rushing home to do more research. The thing is that my doctor is closed the day before my flight and so where can I do the PCR test if it must not be older than 24h? Not that you get me wrong, if the antigen test is positive I would not need the PCR but if not I will need it. So I call the largest hospital in the area and get the answer: “Well if you come here the day before your flight and at the earliest time (0900 AM, registration needed) you will have the result the same day or between 0800 and 0930 on Tuesday. Holy moly, what else can I do but to take the chance? Well, I am supposed to board the airplane at 0920 AM! I picture myself at the check-in as the guy last in line constantly looking at his phone and finally telling the airline person: “Just wait a few minutes because any second now an email will arrive with my test result… or not… or it’s positive and I can go back home… or… let’s wait!” No idea how that’s going to work out… Isn’t that fun? I mean a trip somewhere is never perfect. You presume it is until you realize that the travel agent sold you an abandoned hotel room that will be torn down the same year. It smells like an old shoe and the receptionist only speaks Spanish. Now you at least know that it will be a challenge.

Another week has past and tomorrow I am flying to Iceland unless another COVID-19 drama or changes happens. I did the blood test (antigen) and it turned out I never had the virus. On one side I am glad because of all the rumors that you will suffer from dizziness, hair loss and god knows what if you previously had it. On the other hand, it made me sad because if I had had the virus I would not need to go to quarantine in Iceland. Well, I drove to the hospital this morning and at 10:20 AM my test was taken (PCR). The hospital personnel told me: “You will have the result tomorrow or the day after that.” I thought great that will be too late.

In my next part of the story, I will tell you if I get the result. I will tell you if I managed to board the plane and get to Denmark. What happens there and will I make it to Iceland?

Stay tuned and thanks for reading my story.