A Korean Air flight attendant has tested positive for coronavirus, prompting a scrambling to disinfect aircraft and trace back routes flown.
First reported by Reuters, the unnamed flight attendant was diagnosed earlier this week. That prompted an immediate closure of several Korean Air offices at its hub in Seoul Incheon International Airport, including the crew briefing room.
Korean Air told Business Insider it “is creating a structure to work very closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Korea (CDCK) to prevent the spreading of the virus.”
In furtherance of that goal, Korean Air is:
- disinfecting aircraft
- asking flight attendants to self-quarantine if they show any flu-like symptoms
- installing thermal cameras at Korean Air’s operations locations
South Korea has become an epicenter for the coronavirus, with new 60 news cases and another death reported this morning. Overall, eight deaths and nearly 900 cases have been reported, most being reported in the last week. The U.S. has issued a Level 3 travel warning for South Korea, which discourages all non-essential travel.
Meanwhile, Korean Air has aggravated customers by not offering refunds on non-refundable tickets to or via Korea. While tickets to/from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan purchased before January 28th can be refunded, Korean Air has not loosened its policy for those traveling to South Korea, despite the spread of the virus.
I am surprised we have not heard more cases of flight attendants contracting the virus. With flight attendants, in some senses, on the “front line”, I expect more reports of flight attendants contraction of COVID-19.
image: Korean Air