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Traveler arrested after flying SFO-LIH after positive result

Traveler arrested after flying SFO-LIH after positive result

Old Dec 2, 20, 11:02 pm
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[Redacted by moderator]

https://www.khon2.com/coronavirus/ka...-test-results/

This is very interested for many reasons. Primarily, for me as a Hawaii resident, as these were Hawaii residents returning home. No doubt this issue will come up more and more, but Hawaii has a unique stance to it as we cannot simply drive home. Well, we could take a canoe.. but... :-)

FYI: Original discussion by WeatherBoy: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unit...ted-covid.html - Hopefully we can continue it here outside of the scope of UA.

Without taking over the initial post, here are my thoughts on this:

There is a moral side to this, a practical side, and a legal side

On a moral front:
- Should travelers with positive COVID-19 tests travel. What if they are "going home", and are stuck in another State like in this scenario
.. Note, that for Hawaii, people can travel *without* a test. It is not required to have a -ve test prior to travel. You need to Q on arrival


Unique to this story:
- It seems CDC were somehow involved, and tipped off police in LIH.
... I'm curious to see how this plays out.. can LIH on any grounds arrest someone who elected to fly home via federal airspace, and whom, on arrival, was going to go home to quarantine anyway
- Why Are CDC involved? Are they still doing testing after CBP in SFO? (I strongly suspect this wasn't a domestic connection)
- What if they got a positive result mid-flight; would LIH still arrest them on arrival.
- What happens to the plane full of pax? What if one gets sick and has serious medical bills? No real evidence it was "them"?

And in general..
- What happens if you are in SFO, and get a rapid test that comes back +ve. You can't necessarily drive home - maybe you live in FL, or are connecting to HI where it is physically impossible. Rental companies won't rent to you.. Are you stuck with a $200/night airport hotel for up to 1 month until you get a negative test? On a layover? What if the hotel's require a negative test - as they do in Hawaii, and will not rent to you?

What interesting times we live in. I'm very curious if there are lawyers here who may have input too, as no doubt stuff will soon start hitting the fan with cases like this.
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Last edited by NewbieRunner; Dec 2, 20 at 11:54 pm Reason: Comment on moderation is against FT rules; consecutive posts merged
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Old Dec 2, 20, 11:21 pm
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We don’t know the truth yet....

I would encourage everyone to suspend judgment until we know the facts - as far as I can tell reading everything on the Hawaii covid site the travelers violated no actual laws - in fact this would never had even been a story if they declined to take the test and just came home and quarantined! Truth is - maybe the test was wrong - maybe UA messed up - once we know the facts it will be a great debate lol!
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Old Dec 2, 20, 11:26 pm
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I too don't believe they violated any laws of the land - other than moral ones. I see Hawaii's charge as not even being in their jurisdiction.

But this is going to get very interesting, as tensions across the nation wise. We in Hawaii are in a unique place as I added - in that we're effectively "stuck". Real life Terminal movie eh
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Old Dec 2, 20, 11:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Textile View Post
I would encourage everyone to suspend judgment until we know the facts - as far as I can tell reading everything on the Hawaii covid site the travelers violated no actual laws - in fact this would never had even been a story if they declined to take the test and just came home and quarantined! Truth is - maybe the test was wrong - maybe UA messed up - once we know the facts it will be a great debate lol!
Yes, if they never took the test, they could go home, live out their quarantine there, and break no laws. But they took the test, was told they couldn't fly, lied to United, and then lied to Hawaii authorities. Their lying got them in trouble, not the disease.

Officially they have been charged with "second-degree reckless endangering" by risking others with death; more charges could also be made against them.
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Old Dec 2, 20, 11:29 pm
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I'm actually not sure if they did lie to Hawaii authorities - that is unclear. You can fill out the Safe Travels stuff 72h before, and you're good. You can get a positive test in the mean time. I'm also not sure they lied to UA - I doubt there's even an opportunity to do so. Do they ask at Check-In... Online? What if you get your positive at T-20 and you've checked in at T-24.

The other interesting issue is the Hawaii charge of "reckless endangering" - I don't see what that has to do with the State of Hawaii. The incident occurred in federal airspace, not within the jurisdiction of Hawaii, at all. In fact, their only actions within the jurisdiction of Hawaii was to walk from a plane to the checker folk, and drive home.

I'm not giving sympathy, but I feel they were effectively "trapped". Go home; where they have resources, and healthcare etc - or be stuck sleeping in an airport in San Francisco for a month.
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Old Dec 2, 20, 11:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Weatherboy View Post
Yes, if they never took the test, they could go home, live out their quarantine there, and break no laws. But they took the test, was told they couldn't fly, lied to United, and then lied to Hawaii authorities. Their lying got them in trouble, not the disease.

Officially they have been charged with "second-degree reckless endangering" by risking others with death; more charges could also be made against them.
Most of what you state as fact is not known - and tell me why someone flying knowingly with an awful case of the flu should be treated differently? Ot some other awful, infectious disease like measles? Maybe their parents are dying and they doubted the rapid test and they had no symptoms? Bottom line is how can you be so sure and convict them on a media portrayal? Just trying to be balanced - if they knew they had it and flew just because they wanted to then I agree it’s morally wrong - but I haven’t seen anyone prove anywhere - this forum or another - it’s illegal....

And PLEASE remember - being arrested is NOT the same as being illegal....
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Old Dec 2, 20, 11:36 pm
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I don't think OP is convicting; that's what Kauai is trying to do.

But this is going to get very interesting.. I'll be following this one closely.
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Old Dec 2, 20, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Textile View Post
if they declined to take the test and just came home and quarantined!
I guess now before committing to a test one should call a lawyer...
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Old Dec 2, 20, 11:44 pm
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No kidding.

But I do wonder what they could have done, if you're stuck in a foreign state like this:
- Camp out in SFO for 1 month, until you test positive. Likely infecting all airport pax around you
- Attempt to get a hotel reservation, which is unlikely. If you do, potentially infecting the entire hotel by way of HVAC (if you watch one side of the media at least!). Likely this would cost more than they can afford.
- Flying home, and quarantining. Perhaps, it was the lesser of the evils after all...
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Old Dec 2, 20, 11:47 pm
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I remember generic advice - ‘don’t talk to police’ .

I think it can be expanded into ‘don’t volunteer any information without consulting to a lawyer’.

And ‘information’ definitely includes your health status and what you write on social media.

Last edited by invisible; Dec 3, 20 at 8:53 pm
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Old Dec 3, 20, 10:30 am
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As a person who have flown twice since March, my biggest worry is having a Covid + person near me on flight or running around in the airports. It is incredible the number of passengers refused to covered their noses. So many use eating/drinking as an excuse to not wear masks. During the check in process, UA does ask many questions to discern the the possibility that you might have Covid. Travelling during a pandemic creates a difficult dilemma. What to do when you catch this highly contagious disease. Really, the best solution is don't travel unless you don't mind being stuck in a foreign state or city recovering from a deadly illness in a hotel room without the love ones near you.

Prior to both trips my husband and I have decided that if one of us came down with Covid, the other person would find a new accommodation to quarantine for 14 days. Fly home after the 14 day quarantine. The sick person will remain in the same hotel/airbnb until recovered or hospitalization. Yes, it is very expensive. However, we believe it is the responsible thing to do. It is important to understand that it has always been very expensive to get serious sick while traveling. The difference is now the probability of getting seriously ill is much higher. Everyone should have insurance for that. By definition, you are self insured if you don't buy one. Like many, we depend on credit card travel insurance but it is not clear if covid is covered by this free insurance.
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Old Dec 3, 20, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by Ilove2fly View Post
As a person who have flown twice since March, my biggest worry is having a Covid + person near me on flight or running around in the airports. It is incredible the number of passengers refused to covered their noses. So many use eating/drinking as an excuse to not wear masks. During the check in process, UA does ask many questions to discern the the possibility that you might have Covid. Travelling during a pandemic creates a difficult dilemma. What to do when you catch this highly contagious disease. Really, the best solution is don't travel unless you don't mind being stuck in a foreign state or city recovering from a deadly illness in a hotel room without the love ones near you.

Prior to both trips my husband and I have decided that if one of us came down with Covid, the other person would find a new accommodation to quarantine for 14 days. Fly home after the 14 day quarantine. The sick person will remain in the same hotel/airbnb until recovered or hospitalization. Yes, it is very expensive. However, we believe it is the responsible thing to do. It is important to understand that it has always been very expensive to get serious sick while traveling. The difference is now the probability of getting seriously ill is much higher. Everyone should have insurance for that. By definition, you are self insured if you don't buy one. Like many, we depend on credit card travel insurance but it is not clear if covid is covered by this free insurance.
Good thoughts but what if, like these guys, you cannot get home. I’d imagine hotels won’t let you check in while Covid positive (here in HI they don’t)? Or simply cannot afford a 1-month hotel stay? Note that it’s likely you test positive for a month+ later, so if a test is needed to get on a plane, like this case, that is quite an unexpected expense.
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Old Dec 3, 20, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by MDTyKe View Post
............ If you do, potentially infecting the entire hotel by way of HVAC (if you watch one side of the media at least!)..............
HVAC systems don't work that way since the 80s. Newer HVAC systems use chilled/heated water with only air handlers in units. Those air handlers only circulate air within the same room or suite, a few with intake/exhaust to outside. There is no cross circulation between floors or between units. Another popular newer system is WSHP (water sourced heat pump) system where each unit is independent with heat rejected or absorbed via circulating water. Again, there is no cross circulation of air between units. Of course, many mid to lower end properties use in wall units which are independent within each unit.

Last edited by TerryK; Dec 3, 20 at 11:16 am
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Old Dec 3, 20, 12:00 pm
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Unfortunately media found a story and the couple are made scapegoats. They were stuck away from home with a kid and most parents would try to do exactly the same whether others see it as wrong or not... i recall early in the pandemic there was chinese-american family (with ties to early outbreak at Biogen) who went back to beijing with strong symptoms - they were also driven by the same fear - ending up in hospital with noone to care for young kids.

The real issue is that countless people are flying with symptoms - some intentionally some unintentionally. Unless there is mandatory preboarding test that airlines have to check this will continue. All this story does is telling travellers not to test - the less you know the less liability you have and that's a very misguided direction. In a somewhat similar situation many parents in Utah refuse to covid-test their sick kids to prevent school closures - the result of course is countless outbreaks across the state.

And of course as noted above if there is solid data that suggests that flying infected does not endanger others as long as we enforce masks etc other protocols (as airlines claim) then the couple should not be detained. Airlines actively promote leisure flying and increase flights to for example mexico where unlike Hawaii there are no checks - what message does that send?
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Last edited by azepine00; Dec 3, 20 at 12:05 pm
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Old Dec 3, 20, 12:51 pm
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Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
Unfortunately media found a story and the couple are made scapegoats. They were stuck away from home with a kid and most parents would try to do exactly the same whether others see it as wrong or not... i recall early in the pandemic there was chinese-american family (with ties to early outbreak at Biogen) who went back to beijing with strong symptoms - they were also driven by the same fear - ending up in hospital with noone to care for young kids.

The real issue is that countless people are flying with symptoms - some intentionally some unintentionally. Unless there is mandatory preboarding test that airlines have to check this will continue. All this story does is telling travellers not to test - the less you know the less liability you have and that's a very misguided direction. In a somewhat similar situation many parents in Utah refuse to covid-test their sick kids to prevent school closures - the result of course is countless outbreaks across the state.

And of course as noted above if there is solid data that suggests that flying infected does not endanger others as long as we enforce masks etc other protocols (as airlines claim) then the couple should not be detained. Airlines actively promote leisure flying and increase flights to for example mexico where unlike Hawaii there are no checks - what message does that send?
Testing is pointless unless it corresponds in a change in behavior for individuals who test positive. If people aren't either electing to change their behavior with a positive test or are otherwise not compelled to change, then there is no point to testing at all. Clinical decisions, with limited exceptions, aren't being made with positive outpatient COVID test.

I guess if people can't be trusted to change their behavior, and the mandates have no force, what's the point of any of this?
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