Trouble with airline app…Goofy Covid-19 testing in Nevada…Inconsistencies…One day and counting…

Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, close to the strip, serves as the home stadium for the Las Vegas Raiders of the National Football League and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels college football team.

The process of checking in for tomorrow’s international flight from Las Vegas (LAS) to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger (MQP) is not as easy as going online and checking in on United’s website. They insist on their site that for “our convenience,” we must use their app, which we did, carefully following all the instructions.

We successfully uploaded photos of our passports, copies of our negative Covid-19 test results from yesterday’s testing. Doing so should have produced two boarding passes for the hotel concierge to print or use on our phones. No such luck! We cannot avoid checking in at a kiosk or the United Airlines desk, resulting in an hour in a queue.

OK, so that’s the way it is. We can do nothing because United’s app isn’t working as efficiently as it should. That fact was even addressed on the app, mentioning they are working to improve it. Go figure. Why require that we use it? That’s enough about that. Let’s get to yesterday’s peculiar Covid-19 testing experience in Henderson, Nevada.

View of only a tiny portion of the Las Vegas strip as seen from the highway.

It was tricky to find a Covid-19 testing site with results provided in 24-hours. We booked both appointments at a nearby CVS Pharmacy location, ten minutes apart. Yesterday morning, the text confirmations came in for two different locations, one for Tom and me at a CVS location a few miles away. That made no sense to us. Why couldn’t they be at the exact location which we’d specifically requested?

With the two appointments 10 minutes apart, we didn’t see how we’d arrive in time with traffic so bad in the area at noon. Instead, we decided to show up for Tom’s  11:50 appointment 30 minutes earlier to see if they’d do both of us. There were no other customers in line at the Covid-19 testing window (for a touchless test).

They would not allow both of us to have a test at that first location. However, the testing permitted Tom to have his difficulty immediately, leaving us ample time to make it for my noon appointment at the second location. Tom performed his test while in the car, carefully following the instructions as the testing person spoke through a microphone, comparable to a drive-thru window at a McDonald’s.

As soon as his test was completed, we asked the testing person if we’d have the results in 24 hours. He said most likely we would. We left, hopeful the results would arrive on time before our flight on Saturday. After all, it was only Thursday. We took off and arrived on time for my noon appointment.

Partial view of some of the grounds at Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa.

I also did my test from the car, expecting the same, if not identical touchless manner.  Oh no, that was not the case. The instructions the testing person spewed from the McDonald’s-type window were entirely different from those Tom received only minutes ago. The steps in which I was to swab my nostrils were utterly other from Tom’s instructions.  Again, go figure. I won’t get into the details, but it seemed different enough to potentially end in a different result (or maybe not), especially if the results were positive, which were not in our case.

Before we drove away, again, we asked the testing person when we’d get the result. He said, “Three to five days.” I immediately responded, explaining how the previous CVS Pharmacy testing person sounded confident we’d have the results in 24 hours. I explained we had a flight to catch in 48 hours. Good grief, if the tiny lab in Komatpoort could get results in 24 hours, surely Henderson’s modern, upscale town could do the same.

He put a little slip of paper in my “envelope” that said “priority” but stated there was no guarantee.  We drove away, frustrated and uncertain if we’d have the results on time. We’d considered arranging another test, perhaps a “rapid test,” somewhere else when we went back to the hotel.

Back in our hotel room, I began a mad search for other options. There were none. If we were to try for a rapid test, we’d have to pay upwards US $150 per person. We decided we had no choice but to “wing it.” Maybe we’d get lucky, and the results would come in today.

The pool at the resort.

Much to our relief, both of our negative test results arrived by text in the middle of the night, which I noticed as soon as I awoke this morning. Whew! Safari luck continues in Las Vegas!!! We asked the concierge desk staff to print the necessary copies for the flight.

We’re still wondering why the process, supposedly fairly universal, would be different at two locations and why the results couldn’t be assured within 24 hours, especially when there were no people in the queue. We’ll never know. Fortunately, the tests here were free, whereas Komatipoort was priced at ZAR 850, US $57.26 per person.

In any case, tomorrow, we leave Las Vegas to begin the long journey back to Marloth Park. We’ll be thrilled if we make the 46-minute connection tomorrow at 8:45 pm in Newark, New Jersey, to board the 15-hour flight to Johannesburg. If not, it will be 24-hours later until the next flight. In case we have to spend the night in Newark, we’re bringing clean underwear and a few toiletries.

This morning we sat at a table outdoors, enjoying the views. It hasn’t been unbearably hot while here, averaging around 100F, 38C each day.

We won’t have time to post in Newark, so you may not hear from us until we arrive in Johannesburg, where we may have to spend the night. If we make the flight, I’ll post a notice that we made it while waiting for the plane to take off. If we don’t make the connection, we’ll have plenty of time for a new post while we wait for the 24 hours to pass.

We will not, under any circumstances, drive on the N4 Highway in the dark, which may require another overnight in Nelspruit if we can’t get on an early enough flight to allow ample time for the 90-minute drive Marloth Park.

This particular flight is rife with uncertainties, all hinging on our ability to make the flight in Newark on time.

Ah, the life of wildly determined world travelers! It’s always filled with change and challenges. But, we continue with happiness in our hearts and hope for the future for all of us.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 23, 2020:

From the post on today’s date on day #122 in lockdown in Mumbai, India, we added instructions to make our low-carb, bread-free subway sandwich. It’s essential to wash the dirt off of lettuce. If it is organic, thorough rinsing removes dirt and tiny green worms, which we’ve found on the organic produce in Italy, where we were at the time of these photos. If it’s not organic, be careful, repeatedly rinsing in cold water, which may remove some pesticides. Usually, we dry it with a clean white kitchen towel or paper towels, wrap the leftover lettuce in the white towel, and place it in the fridge in the towel, which will keep it fresh for days. For the recipe below, wash and dry eight large romaine lettuce leaves; usually, the largest leaves are closest to the bunch’s outside. For the balance of the instructions, please click here.

Comments and responses Trouble with airline app…Goofy Covid-19 testing in Nevada…Inconsistencies…One day and counting…

  1. Jeffrey D Berlat Reply

    We tested in the Budapest airport and it took about 20 minutes to get our results. Our flight from Newark to Munich was cancelled due to weather and runway issues at Newark. How is the flight from EWR to JNB? This will be my longest flight ever. Will have lots of stuff downloaded to watch. How is the lockdown in South Africa? I won’t have an issue being in the game lodges since there won’t be many people. More concerned about what is and isn’t open in CapeTown.

    • worldwide-admin Post authorReply

      Jeffrey, the flight from EWR to JNB was long but fine. We would have upgraded to business class to lay down and sleep, but they wanted over US $4200 for both of us. I got a three-seater with no other people and was able to lay down and sleep for a while. Tom was across the aisle from me, but there was one other person, so he barely dosed. They have video monitors and lots of movies on both Lufthansa and United for the long flight. The food was awful in economy and surely not much better in business class. There were plug-ins for your equipment. Long flight. Get up and wall around. We wore compression stockings. It was our longest flight ever. The lockdown in South Africa is minimal…no crowds, no large gatherings, liquor only sold Mon-Thurs, outdoor mask mandate and in all public places, and restaurants must close early. It’s manageable, but I suspect it could tighten again. Travel safely and let us know if you come to our area so we can get-together. Travel safe!
      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

    • worldwide-admin Post authorReply

      Jeffrey, I thought I had answered you already but I don’t see the reply. Sorry about that. The flight from EWR to JNB was fine, relatively uneventful but long. We wore compression stockings and got up and walked around every few hours. They had plenty of good movies to watch on the screens. The lockdown in South Africa is considerably less with alcohol purchases available in shops from Monday-Thursday. There are curfews at night but none that will impact you if you’re staying in a lodge. Many restaurants and bars are open which should be the case in Cape Town. We are very far from there so I don’t know for sure. Have a safe trip!

      Warmest regards,
      Jes & Tom

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