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bleeding passenger allowed to board

Explorer C

I just left St Louis and had a guy bleeding from his leg sitting in a wheel chair. I asked the gate agent what was going on and would he be allowed to board. Her answer was shocking to say the least. "What you want me to do?" I asked for a supervisor who had the same answer for me. When I videoed him he hid his face and ran behind the counter. After a short conversation I was told I could take another flight but they would not remove or even help to cover the bleeding mans leg. Cedric in St Louis told me he was the manger and there was no else I could talk with. The man board the plane and sat in an isle seat exposing anyone who choose to pass him. My next call is to the health district in St louis.  I have a video and photos of the incidence. I cannot get in touch with anyone at Southwest since it is a weekend. 


Re: bleeding passenger allowed to board

Aviator A

Wouldn't it have been more productive to politely ask the man if he needed any assistance? If he said yes, then appropriate medical help could have been summoned. As Southwest staff are not medical professionals I would not expect them to attempt to cover anything. I also feel like shoving a camera in someone's face isn't going to help any situation.



Re: bleeding passenger allowed to board

Frequent Flyer A


The man may have been flying to a medical appointment or traveling to go live with one of his children.  I do not think blood on his leg is a health emergency for you or anyone else on the plane in most cases.  You are in far more danger of infection from the folks with airborne or droplet transmission germs (coughing, sneezing) than bloodborne germs.  Unless the double combination occurred of someone rubbing their open wound against his open wound and him having a contagious pathogen, there is very little risk of any problems.  As people age, they lose collagen under the skin’s top layer which leads to more bruises and scrapes, so it may have just been a bad maneuver getting out of the car and an unexpected confrontation with another traveler’s suitcase while traveling down the terminal hallways.


The answer given by personnel at the gate may not have been the best comforting answer but their position doesn’t always prepare them for addressing concerns regarding microbiology.  I can understand that you might feel that planes are not always the cleanest environments, but they compare to subways, buses, shared ride transportation, etc. that many people use each day.  I hope that helps put your mind at ease a little bit, and helps other travelers reading the post.  

Re: bleeding passenger allowed to board


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Re: bleeding passenger allowed to board

Adventurer B

Re. “a guy bleeding from his leg sitting in a wheelchair”


If the guy was literally bleeding from an open wound, from an infection control perspective, this is commonly and technically known as “bad” – especially if someone is boarding a crowded plane for a well-contained flight.


First of all, if the guy bleeding has an open wound, he himself is way open to bacteria and significant risk of infection, particularly in a crowded, closely contained, not very clean, commercial airplane environment.


Secondly, if this is an open wound, those who might come into contact with the guy, or his blood from a surface, are at risk of contracting anything he may be carrying. This could be any type of blood-borne illnesses like hepatitis B or C, staph, or any other virus the person may have. Blood is a fabulous transmitter for illness.


Additionally, bloodborne viruses can live outside the body and still cause infection. For example, the Hep B virus can live for as long as a week outside the body in dried blood, and Hep C for up to four days. 


One might also think there is a decent chance that a guy boarding a plane with a bleeding open wound is not in the best of health or under the best of care. To allow a passenger to have an uncovered, bleeding wound, while boarding and flying on a plane is staggering to me.


And people usually look at me funny after I sit down, pull out my Lysol wipes, and clean every surface around me that I might touch.


Southwest – Apparently you have a new protocol to implement, and/or further training to provide your employees.