Flying with the Flu? What to expect when flying sick

SickI’ve been very fortunate over the years of traveling to never get really sick on the road.  Certainly we’ve all had the sniffles or a terrible cough.  I’ve had soar throats, bad colds, and even broke out in poison ivy once.  But never, have I been so sick I could not get out of bed.  To be honest, the first several days I just slept and was not thinking about my flight home…but the day finally arrived where I had to make some decisions.

Prior to making a decision, some serious questions needed to be answered.  My first concern was, will they even let me fly being this sick?  Secondly, can a pull myself together enough to get on the flight?  Then the “what if’s” started popping in my head….what if – I have a coughing attack, have to get sick and someone is in the bathroom, run out of tissues, my fever returns??  It was enough to make me just want to go back to bed.

Fortunately for me, this was a red eye flight and everyone was sleeping during my various “what if” episodes.  Sure my coughing certainly annoyed those passengers around me.  Hello, buy some headsets people!  Sure, I had to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes, thankfully I was in the first row and isle seat.  And the pile of tissues in the magazine pouch was swarming with germs (I’m sure those are cleaned thoroughly between flights.  LOL).  But other then that, I got home without incident.

Can the airline stop you from boarding a flight if sick?  According to my research on various websites, if you are within the first 48 hours of having the flu you are not supposed to fly.  If there is potential that your ailment may cause harm to other passengers, you are not supposed to fly.  There is a list of diseases and symptoms listed as well, but really…it comes down to the discretion of the flight staff to decide if you can fly.  I just held my breath for the 20 minutes passengers were boarding, so I wouldn’t draw attention to myself.

Whether I should fly or not because I may infect others was quickly alleviated when I read you are not infectious after 48 hours.  The fever had already dissipated and really I just had cold like symptoms.  I would have never made it through security if it had been earlier in the week.

Although I don’t want to share the horror stories of my 3 1/2 days locked in my hotel room, I will tell you how wonderfully accommodating my hotel was.  Total kudos to the hotel staff at The Hilton Garden for bringing me a gift basket of soups, Tylenol, Nyquil, and waters…as well as allowing me to have a 10pm check out the night of my flight.  I guess I should thank jetBlue for letting me sneak home too.

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