Flying solo

Phub Dem | Paro

This does not happen often. Kinley Yangden was the lone passenger on a Druk Air cargo flight.

The grade 12 student of United World College South East Asia, Singapore was returning to her school on Wednesday.

Days before her flight to Singapore, Kinley Yangden was worried about possible crowding at the airport and the plane. But then, she was told that she was the only passenger on the plane because of the pandemic.

Airports have become risky due to Covid-19.

Kinley Yangden said that it was fun travelling alone on the whole plane. “When I was getting on the plane, I felt like I own the plane.”

And she felt safe.

She added that the crew checked on her occasionally, making her solo flight comfortable. “I was able to do my work and enjoy the scenery. I was at peace during the journey.”

The two airlines have drastically cut their schedule flights. Repatriation and cargo flights are almost always empty.

Kinley Yangden is a scholarship student funded by the Youth Development Fund. She won the Golden Youth Award in 2018.

She had to return home towards late March with the outbreak of the Covid-19 in the region. With words doing the round that it was the last flight from Singapore, she rushed to book her flight home.

“Being the youngest, my family worried about me as the Covid-19 cases were on the rise daily,” she said.

After four months, her school resumed on August 18. However, with no flight to Singapore and delay in the approval letter from the Singaporean government, she has missed her classes for almost a month.

Until summer break, she said that she was engaged in remote learning due to the lockdown in Singapore.

She said that her classmates returned to school after the vacation. With only a few students joining the classes virtually, she said that she had a hard time catching up with the syllabus. “I missed most of my practical classes for the final exam.”

Although it was a relief to be able to go back, she has to complete her two-week quarantine. “Hopefully, I will be able to catch up. I am relaxed and happy, as I am back to my school.”

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