British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways have told TREND this morning that a front page report in today's Times newspaper suggesting that passengers suspected of having the H1N1 virus ('swine flu') will be refused passage
unless they have a 'fit-to-fly' doctor's note is 'not the case'.
TREND called the airlines' respective press offices directly this morning and both said that they have long standing procedures for dealing with obviously ill passengers, but these have not materially changed because of H1N1.
An official spokesman for British Airways said today that it was simply 'not the case' that the airline's check-in staff will ask for a doctor's note. He said the airline has 'long standing procedures in place which apply to any passengers who appear to be ill' and it operates a 24-hour monitoring service where it seeks medical advice only where it is visibly obviously necessary.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman from Virgin Atlantic Airways provided TREND with its statement produced in response to the Times story today: ‘Virgin Atlantic assesses passengers based on our usual policy for communicable viruses or diseases. If our airport or airline staff have any concerns due to passengers not looking or feeling well, they can seek further guidance from our medical experts who will decide if a passenger is fit to fly.
‘In accordance with International Health Regulations we won't carry a passenger suspected of suffering from swine flu or any other infectious disease and will ask them to return to the airport when they are well again. If they are on a non-refundable ticket, then we will seek to place the passenger on the next available flight at no extra cost.
‘Anyone with swine flu is unlikely to be fit enough to reach the airport in the first place and is advised to rest at home and seek medical advice via official government telephone or internet sites until better.’