A Jarring Notification on Flight: You Have Coronavirus

JetBlue bans passenger who found out his test came back positive
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2020 8:26 AM CDT
A Jarring Midflight Notification: You Have Coronavirus
In this March 16, 2017, file photo, a JetBlue airplane at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

A passenger who flew from New York to Florida found out he tested positive for the new coronavirus while on the plane, and now he won't be flying JetBlue anymore. CNN reports that, per the airline, the unidentified man got the notification of his test results while traveling from JFK to West Palm Beach Wednesday evening (it's unclear if he learned of this right before take-off or mid-flight). That that was the first the airline heard about anyone possibly being sick. Per the New York Times, JetBlue says the passenger was overheard talking about the positive test results as the plane approached the Florida airport, at which point the flight crew sent word to health officials on the ground. Medical workers were waiting for him when the plane landed and also assessed other passengers. Scott Rodman tells WPTV the man, wearing a mask and gloves, sat 5 feet from him.

"I'm not feeling great about it," Rodman says, adding to CNBC it's "crazy" for anyone who's been tested to fly. "We're asking customers who do not feel well or are concerned they may have coronavirus to not fly until cleared to travel by a doctor or health professional," JetBlue says in a statement, per the Times. It's not clear how the patient is doing, where he's quarantined, or if he'd been told not to travel. At any rate, JetBlue doesn't want him back, calling the whole thing an "unsettling situation that could have easily been avoided ... as such, this customer will not be permitted to fly on JetBlue in the future," per CNN. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says all areas the man went through at JFK—including security checkpoints, restrooms, gates, and elevators—have been cleaned. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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