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Is Southwest really concerned about our health?

New Arrival

My wife and I flew from FLL to BWI on Tuesday March 7, flight 4447. One passenger coughed the entire trip, dry cough. I have never heard anyone cough so much for so long. I raised a concern since I am over 65, have underlying health issues, and since this person sat in row 2, she was surrounded by elderly passengers most of whom got on like I did because we had wheelchairs.  My wife and I also babysit our two grandchildren, ages 5 and 3. We would be horrified if we were exposed and then in turn gave it to them because we don’t know. The purser suggested that if I was concerned to go and get myself tested. While I am not sure why that falls onto me to do it is really impossible at this point. We do not have enough test kits to test everyone who wants to be tested. Right now, you can only get tested if you are displaying enough of the symptoms. One cannot simply go somewhere and ask to be tested.

 

While we tried to help her with cough drops etc, and tried to cover our faces with articles of clothing, she did not cover at all coughing into her hand or nothing at all the entire trip. so our concern is very real. This wasn’t a case if someone coughing a few times. Plus at the very beginning of the flight she was so covered up with a blanket or a heavy Shaw.. seemingly like someone experiencing a fever, that most of us thought she was a little old lady until toward the end of the flight when we realized she was a college student going home because she was so sick. 

i am not an unsympathetic guy. I served as a pastor for 30 years before retirement. I have been around sick people my entire career and am known for being empathic. However, I was upset that someone could board a plane being this sick without knowing with what and putting so many others at risk. Again, for many of us it could be a death sentence. 

 

first of all, I would think Southwest could (should) have facemasks available for passengers who are coughing. The medical research is clear.. facemasks won’t help prevent someone from getting COVID 19, but they are useful for someone who is experiencing the symptoms and coughing in preventing the spread of the germs. This should be a must for airlines dealing with many people in confined places. 

when we landed we were at the gate for a long time until emergency crews could prepare. They asked the ill passenger to exit the plane first. Then we were all dismissed. Herein lies most of my issues with a Southwest. I LOVE SOUTHWEST. Your people are always friendly, fun, I love having no assigned seats, free baggage, and excellent prices. We fly Southwest all the time so it is hard for me to see so much that was wrong. 

no one on the plane past row 6 or so knew what was going on at all. The only announcement finally made was that there was a passenger who had some medical issues and they were deplaning her first. Not one other mention of a problem. Once she was let off, we were all allowed to leave with the majority of passengers not knowing anything. 

the purser told me that management was available to us for any questions or concerns right inside the terminal. When my wife and I got off the plane, we saw no one. Therefore I went over to the check in desk got that gate and asked the person about management supposedly being there to answer questions. This poor guy just stared at me, there was simply quiet between us. I was confused. I asked again and this time two gentlemen standing near the desk said, we are management. How can we help you? I think we were the only ones to find them. They were pretty far from the gate, wearing golf shirts and casual business slacks, their name tags were both turned around so you saw nothing but the blank sides.. that could have been accidental but there was nothing to show they were management. 

I asked how we were supposed to know if we had been exposed. The one guy said in kind of a tone not friendly..well she is being tested now so you could sit and wait! I understand that test results take 1 to 2 days. Since we still had a 3 1/2 hour drive home, I didn’t want to wait at the airport for 2 days. So I asked if we would be notified at all. Again in the same tone, like I am bothering him, he said well I guess we would have to let you all know if she tests positive. I really kept being polite although it was getting harder.. how about if you notify us either way. Good idea he said, we will notify all passengers either way, I promise. You will hear something by tomorrow..that was yesterday. 

here we are, thursday 48 hours after we deplaned.. we HAVE HEARD NOTHING. I don’t think we ever will. And I am furious. Do I stay away from my grandchildren? Do I start preparing myself to get a sickness I probably won’t recover from? 

I tried to tell as many passengers as possible since most didn’t know. One couple talking to a state trooper when I was passing them expressed their concern, he was sitting right next to this sick person. I heard the trooper say, you have nothing to worry about. They would have never left you off the plane until she had been cleared. I stopped and said, we followed her right off the plane,

. They hadn’t even started to test her and we were free to go anywhere. That trooper looked at me and said, no way! Really? They didn’t keep you all on the plane until they knew? Nope.. oh he said, that is very different and then walked off. 

I know we are all doing something we haven’t done before. Most of us simply have no experience dealing with any of this. Passengers, flight attendants, pilots, airport personnel, state troopers... but this was almost a comedy of errors on,he with no comedy involved. 

how do I find out the results of this test? Who do I contact now? 

 

6 REPLIES 6
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Re: Is Southwest really concerned about our health?

Top Contributor

Is there a summary available or specific question you have? 

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Is Southwest really concerned about our health?

Top Contributor

How would you find out?

 

1) If tested positive, authorities would want to know everyone she had contact with,  in your case a passenger manifest and everyone would be contacted

 

2) the press would be all over it. There was a story just today about a passenger on a Jetblue

flight from NYC and Palm Beach that tested positive. All 114 passengers were being tested.

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Re: Is Southwest really concerned about our health?

Rising Star

@kweiss1213 wrote:

 

how do I find out the results of this test? Who do I contact now? 

 


The situation, as described, is troubling, and if I were trying to escalate and learn more I would personally do so using two different paths:

 

  • Southwest, via Twitter and by letter through the mail (contact information is in the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of all forum pages.
  • The Maryland Department of Health, or whatever it's called in Maryland.

I don't know if you'll get resolution but that's where I would start.


Customer | Home airport DCA

Re: Is Southwest really concerned about our health?

Employee
Employee
Solution

We are sorry to hear the details of your experience and understand your concerns, @kweiss1213. As a peer-to-peer support forum, we aren't equipped to assist you here, but we encourage you to follow the steps in the link below to reach out via official Customer Service channels. Thank you. 

 

Submitting a Suggestion and/or Complaint 

Nicole
Community Manager
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Re: Is Southwest really concerned about our health?

New Arrival

Thank you but I have reached out to Southwest with several emails and as mentioned yesterday, my wife spent 3 hours on the phone. Just dead ends everywhere. 

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Re: Is Southwest really concerned about our health?

New Arrival

added notes .. first change flight date to Tuesday March 10. I put the incorrect date down, sorry. My wife has just spent over 3 hours on the phone, mostly on hold, trying to get information. Southwest claims that due to HIPPA laws they can’t be told the results of her test. Please call the CDC. The CDC claims they can’t track the results without the name of the patient which HIPPA prevents anyone from getting. They referred her to yet another department in the CDC  who claim that we would have not been allowed off the plane until she was tested and cleared. That no matter what we are saying, we are wrong. They had to hold all passengers until patient was cleared, therefore, they did. But unless they could administer the test to this person in less than 3 minutes and get the results, I am not sure how they could have cleared her. The door was opened, the patient left the plane and was met by medical personnel in the tunnel. The flight attendant literally held her arm out holding the rest of us from deplaning for no more than 2 minutes, just time for the patient to be led away, then her arm came down and we all left the plane. So apparently we are being told that we were not exposed since the patient had to have been cleared before we left the plane. Matters not what the truth is... simple matter...done.. of course we have no idea if we have been exposed or not. The CDC said they wouldn’t notify passengers on the plane since we could not have been released until it was cleared. All I can say is OMG . If this is an example of how we handle situations like this, we are about to be a very physically sick nation!