Would you still fly if you had the swine flu?
Ask anyone the above question, and the response you’ll get is a vehement, explicit, fervent “NO!”
And of course it is. What kind of monster, knowing the societal health risks, would willingly board a plane and turn it into a giant, vapour-sealed Petri dish at 40,000 feet?
But after you read this, toss the idea around once more for fun. It’s likely people might start thinking twice.
According to a new story from CNN, some U.S. airlines aren’t allowing passengers with the swine flu to switch flight dates without hefty cash penalties.
The news network cites a Dallas Morning News report of a family who recently had to butt heads with American Airlines over the issue.
When his 6-year-old daughter came down with the swine flu two days before their flight, the family’s father called the airline about rebooking the ticket.
American Airlines said he’d have to pay a $150 cancellation fee per ticket to do so. How much did they originally cost? $189 each.
“I suggested with this policy that they are almost forcing people to fly when they have the swine flu, therefore subjecting others to (it),” the dad complained.
Indeed, while some airlines like Delta and United will reschedule your flight at no cost, US Airways and American likely won’t budge (not even with a doctor’s note, like the above father tried).
North of the border, Air Canada – for example – also appears to stand pat on the issue. While the Health Tips section of its website clearly suggests passengers “delay your trip if you are not well,” you can’t do so without getting dinged. That is, unless you’ve bought cancellation insurance ahead of time, which can be pricy.
So, does knowing this change your mind on the issue?
If you’re one of the seemingly increased H1N1 victims these days, do you simply have to suck it up and go ahead with your flight? It may not be pleasant – or admirable – but in this every-dollar-counts economy, how are we supposed to say no?
“It is clear people should not fly when they’re infected, but they should also not be penalized for being responsible citizens,” Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, a U.S. physician, told CNN.
“The current policies force people to choose their pocketbook versus their health.”
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: Alex Hepburn | Nov 25, 2021 11:30:18 AM
That is why we have the option to buy cancellation insurnace. It is not the Airline's responsibility for each individual's health problems. Go ahead and protect yourself from unforeseen circumstances - BUY trip cancellation insurance, I know I do! Not that complicated and it is about time everyone took responsibility for themselves instead of always looking for handouts.
Posted by: KimsMom | Nov 25, 2021 12:20:44 PM
I always buy cancellation insurance. We travel frequently, and while we've only ever had occasion to use it once, it meant the difference between losing $3,500 & getting it back! All for $149 worth of insurance.
Having said that, perhaps we need to hold the airlines accountable for medical bills if they are (for all intents & purposes) encouraging sick people to fly. To penalize people for something they have no control over is outrageous. When you're sick, you don't need the added stress of having an uncooperative or unsympathetic airline. This is not a case of the common cold - it's a pandemic. To allow - and even force! - people to interact in a "petrie dish" while a H1N1 carrier is unconscionable, and the airlines should be accountable for basically ensuring the illness continues to spread.
Posted by: SDM | Nov 25, 2021 12:54:51 PM
It is not just a matter of cancelling the tickets you have paid for. Try to rebook your flight and the price of the the ticket soars (cancellation insurance doesn't help with this). Air Canada did this to a woman who became ill while away from home, she had cancellation insurance but could not afford the price of rebooking to get home, so she flew even though she had been diagnosed with H1N1.
Posted by: KH | Nov 25, 2021 2:43:45 PM
The root of this issue, is not whether or not you decided to purchase cancellation insurance, but rather, why the airline industry is allowed to sell the same seat to different people for varying dollar amounts.
How much does it cost to fly from New York to L.A.?? Who knows...Today it could be $169, tomorrow $459, and next week over a thousand. It's about time that the airlines sold a standard product at a standard cost.
If you need to rebook, pay a small fee, but know that the cost of the flight will be roughly the same.
Is this too much to ask for?
Posted by: sharon | Nov 25, 2021 2:50:42 PM
In Canada the better option is clearly Westjet who will change your flight for a trivial fee (about 35 dollars) anytime, with or without an excuse medical or otherwise. It is a mystery to me why people continue to fly Air Canada and some of the airlines with the most restrictive switching rules.
Airlines should be held accountable if people are flying with H1N1 because of their obstructionist policies.
Posted by: Harry | Nov 25, 2021 3:43:12 PM
The airlines should keep in mind that fighting the further spread of H1N1 is everbody's responsibility. If we don't it could come around and bite us from behind. What if H1N1 raged out of control forcing the governement to inpose travel restrictions and eventually close airports . No airport, no flights, no passengers, no revenue, NO AIRLINE. It's that simple.
Posted by: Tom McAnulty | Nov 25, 2021 5:27:50 PM
And we could all just stop flying for a week and then they would get the message.
Posted by: Sophie | Nov 25, 2021 5:50:20 PM
I'm so sick of hearing all this crap about swine flu. Come on people, it's the flu. Get over it already. If I had a bout of swine flu, I WOULD fly in an airplane if I had no other choice or not. This swine flu thing is such a load of BS....it's just like any other flu, except that the media is making it seem like it's the bubonic plague or something. Go get vaccinated like the sheep that you are.
Posted by: SP | Nov 25, 2021 10:02:47 PM
Air Canada has been all about nickel and diming their customers for a long time now...they do not realize that by taking the higher road on changes etc- consumers would be much more inclined to use them and spend more money - instead - they are driving customers away and causing them to go in the opposite direction more and more.
Posted by: Kelly | Nov 25, 2021 10:45:56 PM
Sophie, you are an idiot! There IS a serious flu epidemic at hand. I used to think it was overblown by the media too until I got sick a few weeks ago. I am usually super-healthy and only get sick once every 10 years or so. But this flu was very serious. I literally threw up every hour (4 or 5 times an hour) for 12 hours straight!! So in a day I had thrown up more than 25 times! I felt like I was going to die. I became so dehydrated my mouth was dry as cotton and I could barely move. Plus, it was coming out of both ends at the same time. I was half-dead for a week. Then, after the flu subsided I felt a lingering virus move into my lungs and almost got pneumonia. So Sophie, it is NOT "just the flu". Until you've had it, you stupid bitch, you have no idea how bad it is and have no right to make your ignorant comments. Furthermore, if somebody knowingly went onto an airline with this and I caught it from them, I would FILE A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT against both them and the airline!!!
Posted by: Bill Greene | Nov 26, 2021 9:28:48 AM
First of all, well said Sophie and you Kelly are the one who is an idiot. Big deal it was coming out of both ends at tha same time, I've had that from a few nights of drinking you damn baby. My 10 year old had the swine flu, and he managed to suck it up and not wine and cry like you're doing. And yes it was also coming out of both ends at the same time for him to. And nobody else in the household caught it, and no we didn't waste a whole day in line like the rest of the sheep for a vaccine that hasn't even really been tested yet. And how healthy are you if you caught this flu that only a fraction of the population caught and most (not all) that are getting it are already chronically ill or disabled people. And the media's not blowing this thing up??? If you don't yet know that its the media's job to take a simple story and to make it seem hundred times worst than it really is, then I'm wasting my time even talking to a sheep like you. Oh did I say sheep sorry I meant human. Or did I?
Posted by: AW | Nov 26, 2021 2:46:27 PM
I dont think the Air Lines will do anything, even if they were responsible for spreading H1N1 to an un-infected community; thus making the Flu more widespread. Its all about the money and not taking responsibility for their actions (because it'll cost them money and make them look bad in the media).
Posted by: Lindon | Nov 27, 2021 12:13:31 PM
I haven't been sick in over 35 years (not even a sniffle), so I don't care about H1N1. BUT, if I did have it, I would still fly. I travel internationally on a weekly basis and have been exposed to God knows what. No big deal.
Posted by: Tony | Nov 29, 2021 10:15:04 PM
It is very simple,before you board the plane you tell everybody that you have swine flu then maybe they will do something about it.
Posted by: Jk | Dec 3, 2021 12:45:35 AM
"It is very simple,before you board the plane you tell everybody that you have swine flu then maybe they will do something about it."
You hit the nail on the head!!!..................Exactly!!