16 Passengers In Hospital Following American Airlines Flight

Sixteen passengers have fallen ill on an American Airlines flight from Miami to Boston.

It is believed that the passengers, all part of a school group, picked up something on their recent trip to Ecuador.

American Airlines Aircraft
13 of the passengers from the American Airlines flight were taken to hospital. Photo: Wikimedia.

What are the details?

Sixteen passengers on their way home from a trip to Central America fell ill as their American Airlines flight landed at Boston Logan International Airport in the early hours of yesterday’s morning. Whilst three of the passengers recovered on the scene, the other 13 were taken to hospital to have their symptoms treated.

As part of this event, the Massachusetts Port Authority has released a short statement; “The passengers’ symptoms appeared mild. We do not have information on what may have caused the illnesses.” – Samantha Decker, spokesperson for the airport.

American Airlines has also released a statement, confirming that all 16 passengers were in the same group from the same trip, and that no other passengers or crew were affected.

We at Simple Flying are not close to the matter at hand, but it does sound like that these passengers picked up food poisoning or some type of mild tropical illness. We wish them all a speedy recovery.

16 Passengers In Hospital Following American Airlines Flight
An American Airlines E190. Photo: Wikimedia/Adam Moreira

What happens if you get sick on a flight?

For those traveling from tropical regions which have dangerous diseases, what happens if someone gets sick on the plane?

The first part of the procedure is to determine if the sickness is contagious and if others onboard are suffering too. Flight attendants are trained to recognize signs of sickness (such as sweating, coughing, vomiting, sleepiness, appetite/lack of appetite and fever) and determine if they are spreading throughout the plane. If they are unsure, they might ask if there is a doctor on board (discreetly) who can give them a professional opinion.

If it looks serious (such as the case with measles), the captain will declare a medical emergency and land the plane at the nearest airport. It will be greeted by the countries health officials, who will assess every passenger and crew.  The grey area is in regards to the powers these health officials have. If the passengers were infected with something horrible like Ebola, then they will have the authority to restrict them to the plane. If they have something like measles, then all they can do is suggest they be quarantined.

But hypochondriacs fear not, the environment of a plane is not ideal for the spread of airborne pathogens. Essentially the low (or non-existent) humidity, lower air pressure and rapid airflow (aircraft cycle the air from above vents to floors very quickly) cause most diseases to die before they even make it to a foot away from an infected human. Generally if someone is sick, only they will be sick onboard for the entire flight.

Well… that is until they started making planes with better pressurisation and better humidity (cough, cough, 787 Dreamliner).

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.