Airlines say that flying is safe despite the coronavirus. Passengers must complete a health declaration and they must wear a face mask onboard. The airline industry’s mantra as to the coronavirus is that “the risk of transmission from passenger to passenger on board is very low.” But this picture may be Trumpian, that is, way too rosy.
Flights with infected passengers
In 6 weeks at least 45 flights arrived in the Netherlands with passengers who appeared infected with the coronavirus. Passengers who have been seated within 2 seats of the infected traveler are strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. On the flights to Amsterdam up to 17 passengers appear to have been seated that close to an infected traveler.
2 seats apart
Dutch health authorities will not contact passengers who have been sitting more than 2 seats apart from an infected traveler. Nor will they publish flight numbers. This differs from the Australian approach. There, the states publish on their websites the flight numbers of flights that carried infected passengers including the rows where they were seated.
No flight data publicized
However, the Dutch health authorities consider it unnecessary to publish the data of flights with infected passengers. The reason is that they have a legal right to retrieve passengers’ data in order to conduct source and contact search. Therefore, they claim they are able to retrieve those who have been sitting close to an infected passenger in the plane.
KLM doesn’t inform passengers
In addition, they claim that the risk of infection is low as a result of the measures that have been taken by airports and airlines. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines does not inform fellow passengers itself. The carrier has a protocol that stipulates that all contacts must go through the health authorities.
The protocol is different if a passenger has tested positive in another country. In that case the health authorities in that country should contact the Dutch health authorities. They, in turn, will contact KLM to get the passenger list with the passengers’ contact details. This would enable the Dutch health authorities to start a source and contact search. Who believes that all those protocols will bring the intended results?
Tags: coronavirus, transmission from passenger to passenger, flights to Amsterdam