An American Airlines passenger was removed from a flight last week, before takeoff after a reported COVID-19 case.
Paul Varner, of Denton, and his girlfriend, had planned to be in New York City this past week.
“This is a trip that we had planned as our Christmas present for ourselves, and so yeah, it’s very, very frustrating,” said Varner.
They had no problems at the airport until they boarded the plane, and the man seated next to him was asked to get off.
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“Been there about 10 minutes, an employee from American Airlines got on, walked up the gentlemen and asked him his name. He confirmed that was his name, and he told him to please grab his belongings and get off the plane,” said Varner.
A spokesperson for American Airlines said in a statement, “Prior to departure on Dec. 17, American was notified of a customer with a possible COVID-19 case onboard flight 618 with service from DFW to EWR. The team followed CDC guidance in asking the customer to exit the aircraft and conducting an enhanced cleaning of the area. Out of an abundance of caution, all customers deplaned the aircraft to allow for a complete cleaning of the aircraft.”
American Airlines has not said how they were alerted to the case, because of privacy reasons. The plane eventually went on to Newark International Airport. But Paul and his girlfriend were not on it.
“Honestly, if we had been sitting a couple aisles away from the individual we would not have canceled. We chose to cancel because were literally right next to him,” said Paul, adding later, “My concern was, you know yeah I’m vaccinated all that, but if I chose to go ahead and continue the trip, if we had gone we would have gotten back last night. But what would have happened if I had caught COVID, if I had actually had gotten COVID. I’m now in New York, I have COVID. I can’t travel how do I get back home.”
Varner has taken a home test, with a negative result. He also received a negative result from his PCR test, which medical experts say are the most accurate tests available.