Emirates A380 Quarantined Due To Up To 100 People Being Sick On Lower Deck

An Emirates A380 flying from Dubai to New York was quarantined upon its arrival.

Flight 203 landed at JFK around 09:00 local time. Upon touchdown the aircraft was quickly surrounded by health professionals. The cause of the incident was sickness onboard. the captain initially told air traffic controllers that he believed 100 people on the economy only lower deck of the A380 were sick.

In an effort to stop any potential viruses entering the US, the CDC attended the incident. Every person on board was checked over by medical staff before being allowed to disembark the plane. Following these checks, 19 people were identified as unwell, with 10 being taken to hospital.

Who & Why?

10 people were referred to further care after being checked over by medical professionals. This number was made up of 7 members of staff in addition to 3 passengers. The illness causing the incident is believed to be flu. One of the New York Mayor’s official spokesperson said: “some of the passengers had originally come from the Saudi city of Mecca, which was currently experiencing a flu outbreak, and that the passengers’ symptoms were “pointing to the flu”.

How Do I Stay Safe?

Thankfully the biggest way to stay safe is to do nothing. Many millions of people travel by air each day. A minutely tiny proportion of passengers fall sick each day. In fact the chances of becoming sick during a flight are almost negligable. What is worrying is that over 100 people on this fight complained about being unwell. It is also prudent to make sure that you protect yourself out and about like you would at home. This includes things such as washing your hands after using the loo, or freshening your hands with your hand sanitiser.

A recent study into the ecosystem of viruses showed that many different viruses can be found in and around the airport environment. The worst hit place was the bins used to transport luggage through the x-ray machine.

Celebrities Onboard

The incident quickly gained international media attention. As it happens, Vanilla Ice was on the plane as the incident unfolded. He tweeted:

The tweets clearly indicate that he was travelling in business or first, as Emirates’ A380s with a premium economy on the upper deck are still some way away.

Port Authority Statement

The Port Authority, responsible for JFK, released a statement to the press saying “At 9:12 a.m. today, Emirates Flight 203 from Dubai landed at JFK Airport with a report of multiple sick passengers. The plane was taken to a location away from the terminal so that medical personnel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could board the aircraft to evaluate the situation and provide immediate assistance before passengers deplane and are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol”

While this does seem like a fairly worrying incident, it isn’t isolated. In the past other airlines have however chosen to simply divert if many sick passengers are onboard. Research shows airports have high concentrations of viruses, maybe this is a warning of things to come.