If you are unwell, who decides if you can fly?

kiwitripper64

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In the pre covid days, I had a few flights were I was unwell with respiratory viruses. At least one of those flights, I later found out I had Influenza. Back then there were no masks, no questions, just board with tissues, panadol, Otrivine nasal spray and wrap up in a blanket.
Would I be able to board now? Who decides and how will they decide? Are check in staff looking for people coughing, wheezing and fevered. If they are, can they tell the difference from hayfever, a cold or covid? Can airport staff request a RAT test? Will we see a situation where cabin crew remove passengers who "should not fly". In the US, I saw crew remove a person who had 2 beers. He was not drunk and was traveling with his wife. The cabin crew could not be persuaded to let him fly. Could they do this for coughing?
What would you do if you got on a long haul flight and the person next to you was obviously flu-ey?
 

offshore171

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In many countries, you are required to walk past a thermal sensor. If you have an elevated temperature you can be pulled aside for additional checks.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Good question, and this is normally covered by the conditions of carriage… which are pretty broad.

Here is the example from Qantas… you can see that ‘being unwell’ could come under multiple sections. You can even be removed from the aircraft if you have made it that far! (so potentially reporting the matter to cabin crew could see further checks and/or removal).

Normally an airline will ask for a ‘fit to fly’ letter from a doctor if they have any doubts. But that may not get you on your immediate flight, depending on how quickly you can see a doctor.

10.1 Refusal of Carriage​

Even if you have a Ticket and a confirmed reservation, we may refuse to carry you and your Baggage if any of the following circumstances have occurred or we reasonably believe will occur:
  • if carrying you or your Baggage may put the safety of the aircraft or the safety or health of any person in the aircraft in danger or at risk
  • if you have acted in a threatening, abusive, violent, harassing, insulting or agressive manner towards Qantas Group staff, contractors or other customers
  • if carrying you or your Baggage may materially affect the comfort of any person in the aircraft
  • if carrying you will break government laws, regulations, orders or an immigration direction from a country or state to which you are travelling or are to depart from, or we reasonably believe you will not be permitted entry to the country or state to which you are travelling
  • if a government body, agency or regulatory authority directs us not to carry you
  • because you have refused to allow a security check to be carried out on you or your Baggage
  • because you do not appear to have all necessary documents, including those required to enter the country or state to which you are travelling
  • if you fail to comply with any applicable law, rule, regulation or order or these Conditions of Carriage
  • if you fail to complete the check-in process by the Check-In Deadline or fail to arrive at the boarding gate on time
  • because you have not obeyed the instructions of Qantas Group staff or contractors relating to safety or security
  • because you have not complied with our medical requirements
  • because you will not or cannot show valid travel or health documents for your entire journey (including, if requested by Qantas, valid evidence of COVID-19 vaccination status and/or negative COVID-19 test results)
  • because you require specific assistance and you have not made prior arrangements with us for this
  • if you are drunk or under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • if you are, or we reasonably believe you are, in unlawful possession of drugs
  • if your mental or physical state is a danger or risk to you, the aircraft or any person in it
  • if you have committed a criminal offence while at the airport, during the departure, the check-in or boarding processes or on board the aircraft
  • if you have deliberately interfered with a member of Qantas Group staff or contrators carrying out their duties
  • if you have put the safety of either the aircraft or any person in it in danger
  • if you have intentionally damaged our property
  • if you have made a threat
  • because you have committed misconduct at the airport or on a previous flight and we have reason to believe that such conduct may be repeated
  • because you cannot prove you are the person specified on the Ticket on which you wish to travel
  • because you are trying to use a Flight Coupon out of sequence without our agreement
  • if you destroy your travel documents during the flight
  • if you have refused to allow us to photocopy your travel documents
  • if you have refused to give or show your travel documents, or any documents required to enter a state or country, to a member of our ground staff or the crew of the aircraft when we have asked you to do so
  • if we reasonably believe you will ask the relevant government authorities for permission to enter a country through which you are Ticketed as a transit Passenger
  • because your Ticket:
    • is not paid for
    • has been reported lost or stolen
    • has been transferred
    • has been acquired unlawfully
    • has been acquired from someone other than us or an Authorised Agent
    • contains an alteration which has not been made by us or an Authorised Agent
    • is spoiled, torn or damaged or has otherwise been tampered with, or
    • is counterfeit or otherwise invalid.
In any of the situations in this 10.1, we may remove you from a flight, even after you have boarded, without any liability on our part, and cancel any subsequent flights on the Ticket.
 

justinbrett

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In the US, I saw crew remove a person who had 2 beers. He was not drunk and was traveling with his wife. The cabin crew could not be persuaded to let him fly. Could they do this for coughing?

Reminds me of a AA flight I was on with a friend, flying DFW-SJO - asked for 2x rum and cokes (flying Y), she obliged with a very sour look on her face.

When we asked for the second round, she literally said "y'all need Jesus" and went off to get them. She clearly did not approve of us drinking (we were not drunk).

Does raise the question whether FAs who hate alcohol can take a more heavy-handed approach even if no disturbance has been caused just because they don't like alcohol.
 

drron

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Though you could complain about the cougher,sneezer next to you what if they reply it is my hay fever. It is probably the deodorant on the person sitting next to me.

Of course if you did have respiratory symptoms you should wear a mask.

Anyway as we travel in J on long hauls i would already have been exposed to whatever the person sitting beside me had. ;)
 

JohnK

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Interesting topic.

Thermal sensors or temperature check may reveal flu/cold symptoms but not always.

For me now day 19 and I have no fever but can start coughing non-stop which can put people off.

I do wear a mask and have been avoiding going out. Need to go SYD next week.
 

jb747

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In most international terminals, there was always some medical advice available. Failing that, Medlink is just a phone call away. So, you'll be sent to see them, and if they say you're okay, then fine. If not, then that's the end of the discussion.
 

Xrayspice

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Interesting topic.

Thermal sensors or temperature check may reveal flu/cold symptoms but not always.

For me now day 19 and I have no fever but can start coughing non-stop which can put people off.

I do wear a mask and have been avoiding going out. Need to go SYD next week.

A couple Panadol before a flight can reduce temperature to bypass those machines. Jetstar has a passenger declaration saying you don’t have systems of covid, so I guess, the airlines are legally covered then.
 

MEL_Traveller

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A couple Panadol before a flight can reduce temperature to bypass those machines. Jetstar has a passenger declaration saying you don’t have systems of covid, so I guess, the airlines are legally covered then.
I don’t know whether that would absolve them, legally, if someone looked obviously sick.
 

Forg

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If it’s not covid, nope. People have been flying with colds for decades, without masks.
Yeah I had a cold when we went to Yewrop mid 2018 … put all my used tissues into bags or tissue-boxes so the person cleaning the ‘plane didn’t need to touch them, but felt quite bad being on the ‘plane & probably giving it to everyone in the vicinity. However, also wasn’t going to throw away an entire holiday & around $8k’s worth of airfares for just a cold, “anyone who caught it was prolly gonna catch a cold at some stage” etc …
 

Scarlett

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To the OP, the simple answer, in 99% of cases is: you do.

Unless very sick (or obviously drunk), most personnel anyone would interact with enroute to boarding the aircraft is not a medical specialist and is probably not going to speculate one way or t’other.

It will be interesting to see if medical diversion numbers change at all over the long term, or if it’s even a measurable or known statistic.
 

drron

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So you don't mind the possibility of forcing a diversion, or giving your bug to others, by faking your way on board.
Well it has happened.naturally in the USA basically before vaccines. A fellow had been ill for a week and Knew he had covid before boarding a flight from Florida to LAX. They diverted,he died. Had filled out a form saying he had no symptoms.

The other a young woman with multiple health issues. plane didn't divert. She died. I find it unlikely she had no symptoms before boarding. Only a short flight from Arizona to Texas.

I though have saved 2 medical diversions. one on QF and one on JAL. Even got a letter from JAL's President thanking me and letting me know how everything went.
Never heard a thing from QF.
 

tgh

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I recall loading in Heathrow for au with a dreadful cold but no fever .
Sitting upstairs in the front corner I apologised in advance to the occupants opposite and behind.
I was thoughtful and tried to lay as low as possible (wan't hard.. I felt like absolute s***)
Other options were to change a lot of personal and business plans and argue with my travel insurer.. so I flew….shoot me..
 

MEL_Traveller

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To the OP, the simple answer, in 99% of cases is: you do.

Unless very sick (or obviously drunk), most personnel anyone would interact with enroute to boarding the aircraft is not a medical specialist and is probably not going to speculate one way or t’other.

It will be interesting to see if medical diversion numbers change at all over the long term, or if it’s even a measurable or known statistic.
And therein lies the danger… none of the staff people interact with are likely to be medical specialists… so they speculate and err on the side of caution. The contract is on their side to deny boarding even on suspicion, pending medical advice. It’s a significant power to exercise without much training. Certainly seen US programs where gate staff have denied boarding due to intoxication, but without any of the tests or tools that police would have.
 

JohnK

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So you don't mind the possibility of forcing a diversion, or giving your bug to others, by faking your way on board.
In my case I am negative for Covid but have the remnants of flu/cold for the past 3 weeks that I picked up on 2 QF flights MEL-SYD or SYD-BNE when I returned from Thailand.

I will wear a mask on my flight on Friday.

Let's say I still have a cough on Friday. Am I still infectious? Shall I throw away 2 x $139 flights because of a niggling cough? I'll ask GP on Thursday.
 

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