Banned for life: JetBlue cracks down on man who traveled with coronavirus

Mar 13, 2020

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JetBlue has banned a man from flying with the airline for life after he traveled with coronavirus. The passenger boarded a flight from New York-JFK to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) on Wednesday March 11, 2020.

At some point during the flight, it became clear to crew and customers that he was ill. He apparently talked about it openly after getting a text.

Officials later confirmed he tested positive for coronavirus.

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More news: Coronavirus flight waivers and changes for u.s. airlines

JetBlue Flight 253 arrived at PBI at 8:30 p.m. and was held on the tarmac for three hours while medical personnel removed two elderly passengers. The rest of the passengers weren’t allowed off the plane until 11:30 p.m. and were told to self-monitor.

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)


In a statement, JetBlue said:

“The health and safety of our customers and crewmembers is our first priority….We determined the customer boarded our flight knowing he was awaiting results for a coronavirus test without disclosing it to anyone at JetBlue. Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, we ask all customers who are not feeling well, who believe they may have coronavirus, or who are awaiting test results to avoid travel until they are cleared by a medical professional….(The) event put our crewmembers, customers, and federal and local officials in an unsettling situation that could have easily been avoided, and as such, this customer will not be permitted to fly on JetBlue in the future.”

In a separate statement, the Florida Department of Health said it was undertaking a full investigation of the incident.

Related: The most up-to-date information about airlines’ coronavirus waivers and schedule changes. 

In a separate statement, the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said, “Passengers in the vicinity of the positive patient were advised of monitoring procedures. The rest of the passengers were released to go home.”

Those passengers were reportedly given directions to call the state health department with any medical concerns.

Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control says the risk of infection spreading on airplanes is low. HEPA filters help with that.

The passenger reportedly learned he was sick with coronavirus via text message during the flight, according to the New York Times.

This is another good reminder that passengers who are sick should not travel.

Additional resources for traveling during the coronavirus outbreak:

Featured photo of JetBlue planes at JFK in 2020 photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

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