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