Delta Air Lines
Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Joking About Being Positive For Coronavirus Aboard an Airplane: Should It Be Reported?

What would you have done — if anything?

For two years, the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic — and its many variants — has had much of the population of the world on edge, with whole countries shutting down, people required to wear masks and distance themselves from others, isolations and quarantines in effect as attempts to keep the virus in check, the decimation and fluid flux of the travel industry, mass vaccinations of millions of people, and countless tests of whether one is positive with the virus or negative…

Joking About Being Positive For Coronavirus Aboard an Airplane: Should It Be Reported?

…so after overhearing a fellow passenger aboard an airplane joke that he or she tested positive for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, FlyerTalk member Gertjaars wondered if that person should have been reported to a member of the flight crew:

Early morning domestic DL flight on Comfort+. 30 minutes after take off, Passenger in 13A begins coughing and sneezing repeatedly for 2 minutes. Their seatmate immediately unbuckles and stands up to sprint to the galley in disgust so he can notify FA to change his seat to Economy. The rest of the folks in C+ are giving this passenger stares in shock. This passenger begins to chuckle and shrugs their shoulders while murmuring “who knows, maybe I tested positive” as if its a joke.

Would you have reported this to the FA?

The ensuing debate among FlyerTalk members became contentious enough that a moderator of the forum had permanently closed the discussion to further input.

Final Boarding Call

I personally would not have reported what happened — at least, based on the perceived context to which it was related — to a member of the flight crew. Although I believe that the passenger exercised poor judgment in joking about testing positive and that it was in poor taste in general, I do not believe it was at the level of joking about having a bomb at a security checkpoint at an airport or about transporting illegal drugs at customs when entering a country.

Media reports of a female passenger who earlier this month was caught sending a text on her mobile telephone about having tested positive for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus might be considered more serious, as she was allegedly not joking about it.

What are your thoughts? Would you have reported this incident? How should it have been handled?

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

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