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Delta Air Lines flight held just before takeoff as a passenger was told they were exposed to coronavirus

A Delta Air Lines flight was held before takeoff in New York after a passenger said they were exposed to someone who had tested positive for coronavirus, a person involved with airport operations told CNN.

Posted: Mar 17, 2020 3:01 PM
Updated: Mar 17, 2020 3:01 PM

A Delta Air Lines flight was held before takeoff Monday in New York after a passenger said they were exposed to someone who had tested positive for coronavirus, a person involved with airport operations told CNN.

Flight 2503 was scheduled to fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Seattle Monday night. Just before takeoff, the individual was informed that they were exposed to someone with coronavirus, the source said.

The passenger did not show any symptoms but deplaned out of an abundance of caution, the source said.

"The passenger is being questioned, the information is being supplied to the CDC. They will make a decision what becomes of this flight and the rest of us," the pilot announced to passengers on the flight. "So at this point, all I can say is just please be patient as we work through this and figure it out. We'll give you as much information as we know, as soon as we know it."

Delta confirmed the incident and said that the plane was being cleaned.

"We continue to follow all guidelines from the CDC and local health officials," Delta spokeswoman Kate Modolo told CNN. "The safety and health of our customers and crew remain our top priority."

Thomas Chung was on the flight and told CNN that the Delta crew were professional as they kept passengers informed and got the plane cleaned. Passengers were allowed to board again and continue to their destination, he said.

Although the passengers were annoyed at the delay, he said everyone seemed to understand.

"I really feel bad for that person. They most likely didn't know at all. They might also be scared. Best wishes to that person," Chung tweeted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked people feeling unwell, those who believe they may have coronavirus or those who are awaiting test results to avoid travel until they are cleared by a medical professional.

On Wednesday, JetBlue banned a passenger after he flew without notifying the crew that he was awaiting results of a coronavirus test, the airline said.

The passenger flying from JFK to West Palm Beach told the crew on arrival that he had been notified that the test was positive. Cleaning began immediately for areas he went through, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.

"Last night's event put our crewmembers, customers, and federal and local officials in an unsettling situation that could have easily been avoided, and as such, this customer will not be permitted to fly on JetBlue in the future," the airline said in a statement Thursday.

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