I’m paranoid about getting sick. With as much travel as I do there’s no good time for it. So I absolutely hate when I’m stuck next to a passenger that’s coughing or sniffling or I encounter a lounge staff member with the flu handling food.
I want people to change their flights when they are sick. I want people who are sick not to come to work and make colleagues and customers sick (and employer policies need to encourage this). So I’m sympathetic to airlines refusing to transport people who are sick — they don’t want to have to divert midflight, of course. But they can also make mistakes about who to kick off especially when they’re delegating the decision to flight attendants operating on incomplete information.
There’s even a certain sympathy to an airline kicking off passengers who smell.
But how to make this decision? Air Canada made a doozy of a choice announcing to the whole plane that a woman with a rash was contagious — when she wasn’t.
A woman developed a rash during her travels, sought medical attention, and received medication. She was told she had shingles and was not contagious. But Air Canada disgreed on Sunday.
On Sunday evening, an Air Canada flight between Halifax and Toronto was delayed from 6:25 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday, which the airline says was because “a passenger was believed to have a transmissible skin disease.”
Copyright: ronniechua / 123RF Stock Photo
The woman asked a flight attendant if it was possible to change to a window seat, which seemed more private, because she was self conscious about the rash — though she said she was not contagious. But she said the word contagious.
‘You are contagious. You said you are contagious, so I cannot leave you in the plane. Just follow me.
A few moments later the flight attendant “came back dressed in a mask and gloves, and asked Lehman to bring her belongings and follow her off the plane.”
The airline made announcements “about a passenger with a contagious disease,” and they disinfected the area where the passenger had been. Everyone was deplaned, and the aircraft was taken out of service. A different plane was used.
Meanwhile the woman was sent to the hospital where she was given the all clear to fly. The airline put her on a flight the next day, gave her a hotel room, and food vouchers.
Air Canada naturally says this was all done “out of an abundance of caution.”
(HT: Jennifer Billock)