‘It was no joke’ - Norwich friends’ dramatic journey home after week in New Delhi airport
- Credit: Claire Gebbett
Two women who lived in New Delhi airport after India went into lockdown are safely back home in Norwich.
Sue Smith, 73 and her friend Diane Want, 63, went to India at the beginning of March for what was intended to be a month-long trip.
Now, after a week-long ordeal, which included an internal flight, a tense taxi ride, several nights sleeping in an airport lounge, the kindness of multiple strangers and a flight to Tokyo, the pair are home.
The duo managed to leave India on Friday, March 27, after boarding a flight to Tokyo. Mrs Smith said: “It just so happened that this young Finnish man said that Japanese Airlines were talking to an American woman, [to get her out].
“I spoke to Diane, [we were able to buy a ticket] and they held the plane for us, it was quite hairy because it was getting dark and we couldn’t see where we were going.
“Right up until we got on the plane we weren’t sure it was real.”
You may also want to watch:
However, while the pair were in the air, Japan shut its borders. Mrs Smith said when they landed the Japanese authorities were surprised to see them.
“They were quite horrified that we were there, they were very nice about it but they were quite shocked [to see us],” she said.
- 1 Norfolk wakes up to empty pumps – despite assurances of ‘ample fuel stocks’
- 2 Huge seaside home with indoor pool for sale for £600,000
- 3 Man dies in hospital after fight near Norfolk pub
- 4 The Bill star reveals he has moved to Norfolk and why he loves it
- 5 Why has a golden dome appeared in this Norfolk town?
- 6 Delays on roads as petrol queues continue
- 7 Queues form at Norfolk petrol stations - despite reassurances over stock
- 8 Dramatic pictures as huge barn fire breaks out near coast
- 9 Q&A: All you need to know about fuel shortages
- 10 A11 to undergo 18 months of roadworks
The pair were permitted to change their onward ticket, which had originally been for Moscow, and board a flight to Heathrow, arriving home on Sunday, March 29.
Mrs Smith said the enormity of the past week didn’t hit her until Monday: “When I thought about it I had to pinch myself. I was quite emotional about what had happened.
“A week in an airport lounge like [Delhi] is no joke.”
Back home, Mrs Smith said she was self-isolating for at least two weeks, and was incredibly grateful to all those who had helped her and Ms Want and empathised with those still abroad.
“We’re very grateful to people who gave us food, most people were sympathetic to our situation and we’re grateful to our families,” she said.