Keeping Swine Flu Grounded

H1N1 and air travel

By Artie Ojeda and Jacques Spitzer
|  Monday, Nov 23, 2009  |  Updated 9:15 AM PDT
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'Swine Lines' in San Diego

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A woman in Tampa was kicked off a United Flight because she was showing H1N1 symptoms

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Local Reaction to H1N1 and Air Travel

Local reaction to the controversy over preventing passengers from flying if attendants think they show signs of the H1N1 virus.
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Passengers are voicing concern about contracting the H1N1 virus and airlines are responding.

Some have given their flight attendants the authority to remove ticketed passengers showing visible symptoms.

A woman in Tampa was recently kicked off a United Flight because a flight attendant thought she was showing H1N1 symptoms. One problem: The woman claims she didn't have the swine flu. Mitra Mostoufi said she took some medicine that made her nauseated and requested an airsickness bag. The next thing she knew she was getting kicked off her flight.

“The crew does not feel good about you flying because you might be sick," Mostofui said, “I didn't know they were all physicians or knew my background.”

United gives its flight attendants discretion as to who flies based on the best interest of all passengers. There is some controversy over whether attendants should have that kind of authority to diagnose travelers.

“It seems there ought to be a fairly well thought-out plan rather then leaving it up to a flight attendant,” traveler Dane Copeland said.

While no one wants to sit next to a sick person on a flight, a surprising number said they would still fly if they had the flu rather than pay a re-booking fee that could cost hundreds.

Different airlines have different policies. Southwest said it has procedures in place that include staying in communication with medical advisers on the ground and adds its flight attendants are not in the business of diagnosing the flu.
 

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