The story of United Flight 591 is something that is deeply unnerving to many. On this flight, an elderly passenger passed away from respiratory issues. Many were on the flight, with a doctor on board even trying to resuscitate the man by performing CPR. After a long wait — and much worry — it was finally concluded that the elderly man had died due to respiratory failure, caused by a Coronavirus infection.
What is concerning is not that the man passed away, but that many on the plane had no idea he had died from it, and were not warned to quarantine or to get tested. This begs the question: how can airlines speedily inform and protect passengers who do come into contact with Coronavirus.
A slow ascent
One of the issues with airlines speedily informing passengers of Coronavirus infection is their own level of information. A passenger must be tested, receive a positive result, and then report it back to the airline, if they do at all. This process alone takes days in the United States, and means that passengers might have one to two weeks pass before they can be informed of the suggestion to get tested and quarantine for themselves. Overall, though, one of the main issues facing the airlines are stubborn passengers.
Many passengers in the US have already been added to the banned flight list, with many more likely to be added before the years end. Not only that, but many who feel sick insist on traveling, raising the likelihood of infecting fellow travelers on their journey. So in reality, what the airlines’ biggest battle against is not Coronavirus, but a specific mentality that passengers bring on board that can’t be left at the gate.
Heightened safety measures
Given the nature of people who are likely to ignore CDC guidelines or who will travel while actively feeling sick, airlines have been more stern in enforcing and creating new guidelines. Some airlines have begun to make mandatory temperature checks so that passengers who might be asymptomatic will not get on the flight. Those airlines have said that those turned away at the gate is “minimal.”
In addition mask mandates and social distancing are being rigorously enforced, however airlines are beginning to increase the number of people on flights. Regardless, the biggest way to stay safe is to stay home if you’re sick.