A man and woman have been arrested after boarding a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Kauai knowing they had just tested positive for COVID-19.
Couple Arrested After Flying To Hawaii Knowing They Were COVID Positive
The couple, who live in Wailua, Kauai, took a COVID-19 test at SFO airport ahead of their United Airlines flight home. Despite receiving a positive result and being advised to cancel their flight and quarantine, the two opted to board their flight to Lihue, UA1111, on Sunday, November 29, 2020. They were traveling with a young child.
Upon arrival in Hawaii, they were arrested, charged with reckless endangerment, and accused of placing other passengers and crew onboard in “danger of death.” They have since been released on bail ($1,000 each) and are awaiting an arraignment hearing.
KHON2 reports that the couple is Hawaiian.
How Did They Board In The First Place?
I am curious how the couple boarded in the first place. A negative COVID-19 is not necessary to fly to Hawaii, only to avoid a 14-day quarantine.
I suspect the couple took a COVID-19 test prior to departure, planning to avoid quarantine, but decided to fly anyway (by not presenting a test) when the results came back positive. Perhaps what they did not realize is that test results are reported to the Hawaiian authorities. That would explain why they were permitted to board but then arrested upon arrival.
A United spokesperson offered the following statement on the incident:
The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have various policies and procedures in place as part of a multi-layered approach to create a safer travel environment. Prior to traveling, all United customers are required to complete a ‘Ready to Fly’ checklist acknowledging they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. We are investigating this matter further to assess these passengers’ ability to fly on United in the future.
The Practical And Legal Consequences
Flyertalk user Weatherboy, a Hawaiian resident, noted:
“Many other passengers on UA1111 now have to quarantine at their expense and aren’t permitted to fly off Kauai for 14 days. If I was one of them, I’d probably sue the infected couple for damages for ruining my vacation.”
So would I…
Such selfish and reckless endangerment of others and lack of respect for human life must be condemned in the strongest terms possible. If you find you are COVID-19 positive and decide to board a flight anyway, you are a reprobate human being that deserves not only a fine or jail time, but social ostracization. I trust that no one else develops the virus on account of the horrific selfishness of the couple who could only think about themselves.
image: Shutterstock // This article was updated with a statement from United Airlines