Over the past several days multiple airline flight crews have refused to work their flights because they were carrying passengers off of Holland America’s Zaandam cruise ship. The Zaandam was turned away from Chile on March 21, finally made its way to Fort Lauderdale. Several passengers were confirmed positive with COVID-19 and four had died.
Passengers who had not shown symptoms were cleared to travel home. An American Airlines crew wouldn’t fly them to Dallas. A United Airlines crew wouldn’t fly 135 Australian citizens from San Francisco home to Sydney. United set up a charter flight for the passengers the next day.
There are several cruise ships still at sea. Carnival still has 5 ships at sea with passengers on board, reportedly with no sick passengers.. MSC Cruises has one ship at sea.
And the U.S. government will no longer allow returning cruise passengers to take commercial flights.
Cruise passengers and employees arriving back into the U.S. will have to take chartered flights. American Airlines says they will not provide such charters, as they explained today to employees:
It seems to me that the CDC’s recommended 14 day self-quarantine should occur on arrival, prior to travel on even chartered transport if at all possible – or charters ought to be taking extensive precautions.