Swine flu has no place on planes

It is truly mystifying to me that people can’t use good common sense when they are ill. Children’s parents frequently send them to class sick at my daughter’s school, and all weekend while out with my daughter at the movies and at a restaurant I noticed people coughing and sneezing everywhere. I was tempted to dip us both in a vat of Purell when we got home.

More shocking than attending a movie while ill is getting on an airplane with the swine flu. According to CNN.com, in a recent poll, more than 2,000 people surveyed responded they would fly while sick with the flu rather than cancel or rebook their tickets. This is an extreme discourtesy to the other people on board because on an airplane there is nowhere to escape if the person next to you is sick. You are stuck in a tiny, relatively airless space for hours on end with germs just hanging in the air. I shudder to imagine all the children and at-risk people who are flying well and end up getting sick after reaching their destination.

What’s perhaps even more shocking than people flying with the flu is the fact that some airlines will charge you a fee if you rebook your flight because of an illness, even if you provide a doctor’s note, though there are several airlines that might waive a fee if they decide it is applicable per your situation. I think all airlines should encourage passengers to not travel while ill and not penalize them for trying to keep other people from catching the flu!

We are about to embark on the busiest flying season of the year, and many travelers will be hitting the skies for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The airlines should be working with people who are sick and helping them keep other passengers, not to mention crew members and pilots, from getting sick.

With H1N1 looming over our heads this flu season, we are all doing what we can to stay well and keep our families well. It’s appalling to me that I could end up sitting next to someone with swine flu who either neglected to stay home or couldn’t get his ticket refunded. All the hand sanitizer in the world wouldn’t keep you from risking your health in that situation.

If you have the flu and your ticket can’t be refunded, I think you should just suck it up and pay the extra fee to rebook your flight. Or, before you book your holiday fare, find out which airlines might work with you should you become ill and have to reschedule.

Airlines should be more considerate to passengers considering how expensive it is to travel, but people should also be considerate of other people during this time when illness is rampant and we are all just trying to stay healthy.

If you are sick, don’t fly, don’t go to the movies, don’t go anywhere. Stay home until you feel better, because it is not worth infecting someone else.

Christi Aldridge is a senior strategic communication major from Hillsboro.