Coronavirus Passenger Gets Lifetime Ban From JetBlue

JetBlue announced earlier today that it has banned a passenger from flying with the airline after they boarded a flight whilst awaiting the results of a coronavirus test. The male passenger flew from New York to Florida, prompting a thorough disinfection response upon his arrival.

JetBlue Airbus A320
A JetBlue passenger has been handed a permanent ban from the airline for flying whilst awaiting coronavirus test results. Photo: Getty

JetBlue has banned a passenger from flying with the airline after they caused a coronavirus infection scare. According to reports by CNN, the JetBlue passenger flew from New York’s John F. Kennedy International to Palm Beach International on Wednesday evening.

What happened?

The passenger had recently taken a test to determine whether or not they were carrying the coronavirus. However, they failed to inform the crew or any staff at John F. Kennedy International before they boarded the flight.

The passenger was unaware of their test results upon boarding JetBlue flight 253, only receiving the news after he had taken his seat. According to reports by the New York Post, a fellow passenger aboard the flight told WPTV that the man’s wife said that he had received a phone call just before the flight took off.

Upon landing in Florida, the passenger told the crew that they had tested positive for coronavirus. The man and his wife were removed from the aircraft, and all other passengers were given guidance on disinfection procedures.

JetBlue Airbus A320
The passenger revealed that they had tested positive for coronavirus upon arrival in Florida. Photo: JBabinski380 via Wikimedia Commons

Measures were then implemented to clean the area that the passenger had passed through and the entirety of Palm Beach International’s Concourse A was temporarily closed for disinfection. The aircraft was also disinfected so that it could return to normal service.

The response

Although the man did not break the law by boarding his flight while awaiting coronavirus test results, he did go against the CDC’s official guidelines for traveling in the event of a suspected coronavirus infection.

Today, JetBlue spokesperson Derek Dombrowski told Simple Flying that the passenger will not be permitted to fly on any JetBlue services in the future.

JetBlue Embraer E190
Airlines are getting increasingly tough on potentially infected passengers. Photo: PierreSelim via Wikimedia Commons

The airline released a statement, saying:

“The health and safety of our customers and crewmembers is our first priority. In reviewing last night’s event, we determined the customer boarded our flight knowing he was awaiting results for a coronavirus test without disclosing it to anyone at JetBlue.”

Following news of the passenger’s journey aboard the JetBlue flight from New York to Palm Beach, the Florida Health Department says it is conducting an “extensive epidemiological investigation” to determine whether or not the man passed the virus to any other passengers.

Increasingly tight travel restrictions around the world

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread like wildfire, travel restrictions are becoming increasingly tight. From the initial restriction of flights into and out of China in early February, limitations on air travel have become much more severe over the past week.

On Wednesday, President Trump announced a travel ban for flights traveling between the EU Schengen Area and the US, which will come into effect at midnight tonight. The travel ban will have a severe impact on international travel between the EU and US, although US citizens will still be able to travel back home.