JetBlue Bans Passenger Who Tested Positive For Coronavirus

Filed Under: JetBlue

A JetBlue flight on Wednesday made headlines, as a passenger onboard tested positive for coronavirus.

The situation took place on JetBlue flight 253 from New York JFK to West Palm Beach, which landed around 8:30PM.

The passenger wasn’t feeling well and took a coronavirus test before getting on the JetBlue flight. During the flight the passenger learned the results — he tested positive. He informed the crew upon landing in West Palm Beach, so it’s not entirely clear how much time lapsed between when he found out and when he told the crew.

Prior to and during the flight he didn’t inform anyone at the airline that he was awaiting results from the test.

Once this was disclosed, authorities in both West Palm Beach and New York sprung into action:

  • The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey started cleaning immediately based on security footage, including of the check-in counters and kiosks, security checkpoints, gates, restrooms, etc.
  • Palm Beach Fire and Rescue responded to the scene, and passengers were assessed; those in the vicinity of the passenger were advised of monitoring procedures, while other passengers were released to go home and given directions for calling the health department with medical concerns

Given the passenger’s decision to fly while awaiting test results, JetBlue has made the decision to ban the passenger from future JetBlue flights. Per a statement from the airline:

“Last night’s 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.”

  1. Clickbait headline (again…)

    He wasn’t banned because he tested positive, he was banned for irresponsibly flying when had sufficient cause to think he had had it that he got tested

  2. Would this teach someone a lesson? If yes, would the lesson be “tell sooner” or “not tell at all”?

  3. Playing devil’s advocate here – is it against JetBlue’s rules to fly when sick in general (cant be as people do this all the time)? There are no mandatory restrictions for people that have Covid (self-quarantining is recommended, not required). What if someone has a life or death family situation that forces them to fly – if they have Covid-19, are they banned from flying? Given the evolving situation, more people are going to knowingly fly with Covid in the future

  4. how does one get tested for Coronavirus in NY? I thought there were barely any testing capacity right now…

  5. I assume he is not the first. Nor the last. There are probably dozens who knew but few anyway to get home to their doctors and family.. This is why traveling by air now is irresponsible. There will always be selfish idiots who will risk anyone else for their own benefit.

  6. @RB, you need to meet certain criteria and be referred to by a physician, and it will take days. It sure isn’t as easy as in China, RoK, Italy or UK.

  7. At the end of the day as I always felt, you cannot trust individuals to self- police. You have to self distance and don’t take unnecessary risks

  8. Anyone caught willfully getting on commercial a plane while presumed positive or infected should be banned for life for flying, have to pay any incurred medical costs of anyone infected, and considered for a 1 month prison sentence.

    Maybe that will be enough to stop selfish assholes.

  9. @Alex: There is absolutely nothing incorrect about the headline.

    Just curious, if you’re so convinced that many of Ben’s blog posts are just clickbait (as your “again” implies)… why do you keep clicking?

  10. These PAX should be banned from flying for lifetime on ANY Carrier worldwide! Thumbs up for JetBlue!

  11. Bernie (the only candidate with radical enough policy) will get my vote if his socialist movements include draconian Communist punishment.

    For everyone who breaks self quarantine. The penalty should be large fine, jail time, forced labor, and deport to AK Gulag? For the whole family?

    Maybe a reason to vote Bernie Tsar-ders.

  12. Good on JetBlue. Sure if you have next to no symptoms and later find out you have it, that’s one thing. But to be concerned enough to get a test, and to travel with the prospect of being infectious, that’s irresponsible and careless. This virus can kill people in at risk categories and age groups. The is no immunity unlike the seasonal flu. So again, good on JetBlue – I hope the message gets out. At times like these, it seems that we need a version of the Seinfeld Good Samaritan law!

  13. @eskimo.
    It isn’t a communist idea to make it illegal to willfully spread disease.

    I don’t know what guidance this person was given when he was tested but I doubt if he was told he could resume his normal activities.

    And the lawyer in New Rochelle who returned from Italy and infected dozens of people supposedly is now critical. It is unlikely he had no symptoms by the time he infected the last person he infected.

    This would be a real good time for the CDC and all other officials to push for immediate laws specifically excluding travel or being in public until test results are confirmed.

  14. Most people are dumb as a rock.

    Even those who should know better — eg, here’s an Australian doctor who got flu-like symptoms, but kept on treating/ potentially-infecting patients:

    Increasing penalties won’t work — criminals never think they’ll get caught, so harsh sentences have zero effect.

    Education and prevention will work: see what Taiwan has done. China has even had Taiwan excluded from the WHO, but I know which of those two countries has handled Covid-19 better.

  15. You better believe that JetBlue just created a powerful incentive for those who fly sick on their aircraft in the future (and there will be more) not to disclose anything

  16. @Alex.

    Tell me what would have happened if the passenger found out during the flight that he tested negative. NOTHING.

    The reason why he is banned is BECAUSE he tested positive.

    Him getting on the plane while awaiting results were irresponsible and ill-advised, but would have been a non-issue had he tested negative.

  17. Too many people put their needs above the needs of society, in other words excessively selfish. Fortunately there are many that do put the needs of others at the top. One poster said “what if you were sick with the virus but there was a life or death need to get home?” Sorry, in that case, you don’t make it home. It is sad but you are putting other lives at risk for your selfish needs.

    A cold is one thing, but a virus like this is another. Even if you pass it to someone who only gets slightly sick, what about the people he/she spread it to?

    Geez, what a number of narcissistic entitled idiots in this world. Too much pampering by the parents.

  18. If this happens in China, this person will be sent to custody for about 14 days once being treated (for free)…. now I’m wondering is this indeed US should adopt..

  19. @thenicepaul
    That’s very disingenuous to say that about the Aussie doctor
    You don’t know anything
    Maybe give the full story
    Such as his cold had basically gone away by the time he went back to work on the Monday & the fact that at the time he didn’t meet the requirements for getting tested
    The Australian Medical Association & thousands of doctors have come out in support of the doctor involved

  20. @Blake
    The Victoria Health Minister:
    “I understand our medical and healthcare workers are dedicated to the work they do. It is incredibly important work and they are absolutely committed to their patients and I understand, particularly at this time of, I guess, an international health emergency, that all healthcare workers would be wanting to assist their patients. But it is irresponsible for people to be going to work if they are unwell, and that is not just healthcare workers, it is everybody in the community who needs to take this very seriously.

    “It is very important that what may present as a mild case is still taken seriously, because we know this is a disease, a virus that is easily transmitting in the community…”

    Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer:
    “We are now at the stage with this illness that we have a particular obligation, and we have a particular obligation as healthcare workers, to exclude ourselves until we can assure a patient that we are not a risk to them.

    “We can turn tests around within 24 hours, so you should not feel shy about getting tested so you can reassure yourself about returning to work.”

  21. Frankly this passenger should be put in jail as well. Nothing overly punitive but perhaps 30 days which would serve as a warning to others not to do this.

  22. @ Reginald
    I am with you but there should be a law. I am not sure he did anything against the law as it stands now. Based on the above I also assume that he could fight the JetBlue policy years from now when the hysteria dies down. Airlines use Government operated facilities and have to be fair to people.

  23. Why? How could B5 do this without prior notice?

    this is a democratic society unlike China, people should have freedom

  24. Clear message to general public from jetblue and many commenters in this forum – If you are travelling with an infectious disease; stay silent and do not inform anyone.

  25. @Sam Yankee, yep, good point, just like you have freedom to kill people here as well. You of course have freedom to infect coronavirus to anyone you like.

  26. His behavior went beyond reckless—his decision to travel whilst awaiting coronavirus test results was egregious and criminal (and I believe his wife is equally culpable). I think his identity should be disclosed: I would personally like to ask him how he’d feel if I boarded a plane unwell and sat next to his child/grandchild… better yet, since it appears we’re dealing w a man with zero regard for humanity & likely possesses sociopathic characteristics… how would he feel if I were to sit next to him (once he’s recovered). Given the nature of today’s world, getting on a plane in an unwell state is one thing—but we’re talking about a man who was ill enough to qualify for testing. It’s reprehensible. Thank you JetBlue for banning him for life—I hope other carriers will follow. This man clearly lacks even the slightest moral compass & is therefore as dangerous as a loaded weapon. And to those who ask”what if he needed to get to Florida urgently…” I say, rent a car!” This is not rocket science… it’s called common sense.

  27. @jim
    Murdering is against the law, while there is no such law about coronavirus infection.

    This is how a democratic society works, dude. Only dictating country like China can ban people from traveling free.

    Traitor like you would stand the same side with China

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