I’ll cop to using my twitter account to vent frustrations during travel. Sometimes it’s the best way to stay say, because travel really can drive you to the edge.
I took a set of connecting flights, and on flight number one was seated next to someone that was sick.
Then I took my next flight. It was a completely sold out flight. I was initially thrilled with my upgrade at the gate. But once I settled into seat 5A I discovered that the passenger sitting behind me in 6A was sick as well.
Much coughing ensued. There was no opportunity to change seats. I guess I could have (should have) gotten off the plane. And I realize that this is a challenging question, what to do — for sick passengers, for those not wanting to get sick, and for the airline?
- What do you do when you’re sick, balancing your need to be somewhere with an obligation not to spread your germs?
- What do you do when you’re traveling and near others who are sick, to protect yourself?
- What should airlines do, transporting people and spreading illness — not just from person to person in an enclosed space, but geographically — bringing sickness from one population center to another?
I try not to fly when I’m sick. I’ll reschedule trips. That means eating change fees. It’s a cost I have to bear myself, and I don’t expect the airline to bear.
Reader @joelfreak suggests,
allow free changes if someone is too sick to fly…
But that seems pretty cumbersome and unworkable. If there’s no proof required, every gets out of change fees. Sounds nice, but it undermines the entire airline fare structure. And while I have no doubt airfares are ripe for disruption in some manner, it doesn’t seem proportional to the issue — especially since people would still continue to fly. It’s naive to think the other reason people keep to their trip schedule is because of the cost of making changes. They go because of their obligations, or the opportunities they have when they get there.
On the other hand, requiring proof — a doctor’s note? While easy to concoct one of those (please see: medical marijuana prescriptions in California, emotional support animals inflight), it also means driving up health care costs through incremental doctor visits, stretching the health care system by increasing the demand for doctor attention for minor (or even barely-existent) issues.
Nonetheless I’d certainly be open to hearing workable solutions. Although I do like this hopefulness from @real_jetsetr,
wouldn’t worry about it. Germs you caught from pax on flt #1 will offset & eradicate germs from pax on flt #2
He should have gone to medical school! #brilliant
I do think there’s something to face masks, though would have to lean on the doctors amongst my readers to know just how helpful they would be… for the person coughing, as well as for the person not wanting to get sick. They’re very common among airline passengers in Asia, less so elsewhere in the world. My Pacific crossings pre-SARS were mostly limited to Australia trips, so I don’t have the historical experience for comparison but always guessed that the prevalence of masks in Asia dated to SARs. Perhaps one of y’all know?
I do wash my hands frequently, and carry hand sanitizer as well.
What do y’all do to stay healthy — besides getting sleep, exercise, and eating well?