There’s erring on the side of caution, then there is erroring on the side of the caution. Air Transat may be guilty of the latter….
Air Transat Removes Family For Coughing
Emmanuel Faug, Clementine Ferraton, and their there children were traveling on Air Transat from Quebec City to Paris on February 23.
21-month-old Lila was coughing. It’s the cold and flu season, after all. This made passengers around her uncomfortable and they demanded the crew to remove the little girl.
The crew approached the family and asked them to produce a medical document stating that their daughter was not contagious.
The family was unable to produce the document, but told the flight crew they had taken Lila to the doctor earlier that day and were told she only had a common cold.
A doctor was onboard and a flight attendant asked the passenger to “examine” the baby and offer an assessment. After looking over Lila, the doctor said she was fit to fly.
But the captain did not want to take any chances and contacted Medlink, a Helpdesk for aviation-related medical questions.
Medlink recommended that the captain remove the family since they could not furnish the medical clearance document.
And so they were removed.
The decision greatly upset the family. Ferraton said:
“At no time did I think I was putting people in danger by taking my child on a plane. I think this is overkill.
“Why don’t they trust the two doctors who saw my daughter in person and judged her condition to be good?
“Why are they questioning our ability as parents to assess the state of our child?”
The family reported that a flight attendant framed the removal in the context of COVID-19, stating that tensions were running high.
Commenting on the situation, Air Transat said:
“After analysing the situation, MedLink determined that the passenger’s medical condition posed a significant potential risk to passengers and crew during the flight.
“They follow the recommendations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding contagious diseases.”
But it denied that the family was removed because of COVID-19:
“The only case where a passenger, showing obvious signs of a contagious disease, could be accepted on board, would be when the latter provides the appropriate documentation, completed by a qualified doctor.”
Air Transat will refund the tickets fo the family.
Is a cough now a contagious disease?
I get the heightened concern over coronavirus. It’s a difficult time to travel. But are we going to start throwing people off an airplane because they have a cough or sniffle?
Also, I’m not sure how a doctor onboard an aircraft can diagnose COVID-19. Is that even possible? And with an extended incubation period, who’s to say the man sitting across from them actually had the virus and not them?
Emotions aside, let this be an instructive situation. We may need to start carrying documentation when we travel actually “proving” that we are not sick…
image: abdallahh / Wikimedia Commons
Unbelievable. I hope this goes viral in Canada and Transat get’s it’s butt handed to them for this. My god, this was a little girl that they humiliated and put through this.
My allergies have already started in DC because of the warm winter. Looking forward to being thrown off planes now for sneezing.
Okay, so where does anyone or any airline draw the line at telling someone they shouldn’t fly because they’re very likely contagious? 2 years of age? 10? 15? 35? As someone mentioned below, common colds are quite contagious and, while rarely fatal, they’re a huge inconvenience and adversely affect people’s lives and businesses, if only for a few days. Anyone traveling while knowingly able to transmit any virus is a jerk. In this case, the parents should’ve thought twice about traveling if it were feasible. Neither you nor I were on the plane, but there’s rarely a delicate method for deplaning someone without someone’s feathers being ruffled.
Yeah. It’s not like the airline will let the parents change the v tickets because the kid has a cold. And in any case you can’t change plans because someone has a cold.
But everyone should be made to wear masks on planes because it’s a confined space. Now there might be some republicans that might talk about trampling their personal rights, but we can just beat them up till they agree and beat a few other republicans at the airport for good measure and then everyone can continue on.
You are so full of shite, AR. Your espousing the idea that anyone with a cold should never fly and are contaminants to the innocent flying public is probably the most absurd comment I have ever read here.
Life happens. People get colds. Sometimes we are just trying to get from point A to point B. Get over yourself and go make a bubble to live in.
What are you talking about, are you in a right state of mind or you are ready for the loony bean?
Would you like to be sitting next to a contagious disease carrier if your health was fragile or at risk?
The baby was examined on the spot by the proper authorities MedLink and they made a professional decision to not allow the baby to travel. Why on earth is a god given right to transmit disease, particularly in confined spaces?
You fail to consider other passengers with sensitive health issues that would have been endangered. The family should NEVER have attempted to board the plane, it’s on them, rude and reckless that they did not give a dime about other passengers.
Decency and common sense are lacking here.
Do you have any idea how many people each day are on planes with colds? This is pure hysteria because of Coronavirus. Sounds more like you are “ready for the “loony bean.”
Common cold is a contagious disease. It may not be fatal.
People with kids and pets think their brood is the cutest and everyone should love them like they do.
We don’t care. Don’t inconvenience others. I think everyone should have to wear masks routinely in flu season in closed spaces like planes.
Agreed. It is not possible for doctors to accurately judge, on the spot, whether or not someone has covid-19. Wearing a mask while sick is a considerate way to prevent transmission of illness, especially in the current heightened state of disease awareness.
Perhaps it’s not PC or great parenting, but couldn’t they have just drugged the child with some low dose soporific medication ? It’s only 6 hours.
But I was on a flight the other night. Someone sneezed and all eyes turned. People are scared.
I guess just take a cough suppressant before your flight. I occasionally have a cough from GERD. I guess I better be prepared to be thrown off my next flight !
I assume this means Air Transat will be allowing ill passengers to proactively cancel their reservations for a full refund, you know, out of an abundance of caution? Yeah, probably not…
Bravo Bob. Good point.
A very good point, Bob. In December I was flying on BA from LHR to IAD. I came down with a monster gastro bug two days before. The morning of my flight I was still a mess and called BA to try and reschedule for the next day. They insisted I should pay $3,400 for the new fare. This after I even volunteered to have my doctor in the U.S confirm that I had been communicating with him. My exact words after were, “I feel bad for your crew being subjected to my bug.”
I gathered my energy and made the flight. It was not fun. But they forced me to do it.
Interestingly, BA let me change my flight for free under similar circumstances (it was a paid J ticket).
It seems that whenever anything is done “out of an abundance of caution,” it’s generally also done “without consideration of logic.”
What a stupid article once again written by someone who claims to be an aviation expert. As an airline pilot myself, I know what the regulation is and I can tell you without doubt that the right decision was taken. There is one basic rule regarding medical status of a passenger: What StatMD or Medlink tells you to do, you gotta follow the directives, regardless if it seems logical or not to you. Traveling with a young child that has cold is a stupid decision by the way.
You think a passenger with a cold shouldn’t fly? What if it was to a funeral? Or Christmas?
Thats not what I am saying. I said whatever if it seems logical or not to you, its Medlink’s decision. Its a service that cost millions to airlines each year, so they gotta use it and its mandatory. Lets just imagine the situation where Medlink tells the Captain to remove the passenger from the flight and the Captain decides otherwise, and she blows her eardrum during the Ocean crossing..who is gonna pay first for the bill and second, and, of course, for the suing. And its not just Air Transat, it would have been the same with any other airline.
Air Transat used Medlink service that decided to remove the passenger. A LOT of companies use this service and can not decide to go with the said passengers if Medlink decided not to. I am a flight crew in a companie that uses Medlink services. It would be nice to read something else than free bashing on airlines.
Oh, FFS. How many times have we seen FAs on flights trying to disguise the fact that they have a cold? Probably they don’t call in sick because they don’t want to miss shopping in London or Paris. And these same people, also handling our food, blow the whistle on a 3 year old with the sniffles? Madness.
Perhaps I’m being unkind…it might also be the fault of the airlines for not giving better sick leave benefits to staff with the symptoms of a cold.
Be sure of your facts. I know an Air Transat Pilot and apparently the child had mucous running out of her nose down her face, her face was red as a beat, and her temperature was reported to be 39 degrees. They were on a flight from Quebec to Paris, The child was definitely contagious and if your child was that sick would you take her on a long flight like that?
It was definitely a good call. The parents should’ve been more responsible and cancelled their flight.
As a nurse, I would not have taken my child on a flight if she was that sick. Never mind the corona virus. The poor kid would’ve been very ill and She could’ve passed on whatever she had to some poor immuno-compromised person or persons.