A passenger who flew aboard a JetBlue flight while infected with coronavirus has been banned by the airline, according to reports.
The unnamed male passenger reportedly boarded a plane traveling from New York City to West Palm Beach after taking a test for COVID-19, and learned mid-flight that he had tested positive for the virus.
“The news comes after JetBlue Flight 253, which arrived at Palm Beach International Airport (PBIA) on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m, was held on the tarmac for three hours while medical personnel helped to remove two elderly passengers,” Fox News reports. “The rest of the flight’s 112 passengers were eventually allowed to leave the aircraft at 11:30 p.m.”
Upon being notified of the passenger’s condition, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey immediately cleaned all points of contact potentially encountered by the infected traveler at JFK airport.
While it is unclear how JetBlue personnel were notified of the ailing passenger’s condition, another man on the same flight told CNBC that flyers had been told the man received his diagnosis via text message during the air trip.
JetBlue announced the passenger has been banned from future travel with the airline.
“The health and safety of our customers and crewmembers is our first priority,” JetBlue said in a statement. “In reviewing last night’s event, we determined the customer boarded our flight knowing he was awaiting results for a coronavirus test without disclosing it to anyone at JetBlue.”
“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.”
JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes recently characterized the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on air travel as being “as bad as 9/11, if not worse.”
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