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Passenger tests positive for COVID-19 on flight
On December 20, 2021, Marisa Fotieo was traveling on an Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX flight from Newark (EWR) to Keflavik (KEF). She was traveling with her brother and father, and they were going to Switzerland for the holidays.
She had brought along several rapid COVID-19 test kits, especially as she was traveling with her father, and she wanted to protect him. About an hour into the flight she went into the lavatory and took a test, as she had a sore throat. To her surprise, she tested positive. She had taken five tests in the days leading up to the trip and tested negative with all of them, so she was surprised by the result. As she explains:
“And within about two seconds, the test came back positive. I freaked out and ran out of the bathroom and found the first person I could see. Luckily it was this amazing flight attendant named Rocky.”
Passenger quarantines in airplane bathroom for hours
With news of the positive coronavirus test result, the flight attendant asked the passenger to wait in the lavatory while the crew figured out what to do. Apparently the crew made an announcement reminding all passengers to keep their masks on, and also disclosing that a passenger had tested positive for coronavirus.
When the flight attendant returned, Fotieo was informed that it was a full flight, and there was no extra room for her to space out. So Fotieo volunteered to just stay in the bathroom for the rest of the flight. She says that the flight attendant was very sweet, and brought her water and snacks.
The passenger also filmed a TikTok during her time in the lavatory, which has since gone viral and has been viewed millions of times.
- She wasn’t just quarantining in an airplane bathroom, but she was quarantining in a Boeing 737 MAX lavatory, which is known to be especially tight
- I wonder what happened when the crew had to prepare the cabin for landing — did she stay in the lavatory (which seems unlikely), or how did they go about seating her?
What happened when the plane landed in Iceland?
When the plane landed in Iceland, Fotieo had to enter a 10-day quarantine, though at least it cost her nothing. She was put up in a Red Cross Humanitarian Hotel, which actually looks pretty decent (at least compared to some of the other facilities out there). Fotieo even had a pretty positive outlook about the whole thing:
“They have medical personnel here that check on me and bring me food three times a day, and looking back on it, I’m so happy it turned out the way it had to because I’ve been cozy in here.”
What’s especially cute is that the flight attendant who had helped Fotieo onboard dropped off a special package for her on Christmas Eve, with a little Christmas tree, a note, a warm dinner, and presents to open on Christmas day. Fotieo is grateful for both the flight attendant and Icelandair overall:
“I can confidently say that I would have probably cried for 10 day straight had it not been for Rocky, and Icelandair as a whole really made this experience joyful and memorable, and it was really so heartwarming.”
Fortunately both her brother and father tested negative for coronavirus, and were able to continue on their trip to Switzerland.
Here you can see a news interview with Fotieo while she’s in quarantine:
While testing positive for coronavirus on a flight and then having to sit in a lavatory for hours on end doesn’t sound fun, this is actually a pretty great story overall. The traveler was being as responsible as she could, she had a great attitude about the whole situation, and it sounds like Icelandair (and in particular a flight attendant) really went above and beyond to take care of her. Kudos!
What do you make of this Icelandair lavatory quarantine story?