Mum nervous after virus flight with kids
A mother who was on a crowded Qantas flight with a coronavirus-infected passenger says the airline should be doing more to protect its customers.
Melissa Dorries and her children Emmy, three, and Brayden, seven months, boarded QF520 in Sydney, the second flight in their essential relocation trip from Melbourne to Brisbane.
That was on Monday. By early on Thursday Queensland Health was on the phone advising a passenger who was infectious with coronavirus was seated in close proximity to them.
The young family is now serving two weeks in full isolation, as they wait to see if they develop symptoms.
Mrs Dorries says she can't understand how people were being forced to social distance inside the terminal but were then seated shoulder-to-shoulder on the plane.
She says the airline needs to be doing more to reduce the risk of mid-air transmissions, such as temperature checks on all passengers.
"It was basically a packed flight," she told AAP on Friday.
"It makes no sense - the inconsistency of it.
"I didn't expect it to be so full, but maybe if we knew, we might have had a discussion about delaying our flight or even driving up."
Mrs Dorries says she had no choice to travel, with her husband already in Brisbane having been caught up in the coronavirus crisis in the middle of a complicated interstate move.
"It was essential travel. We wouldn't have done it otherwise."
Mrs Dorries says she has no idea which of her fellow passengers was ill but some were wearing face masks, and others were loudly chatting about having recently returned from overseas locations, including the United States.
The day after Mrs Dorries boarded the crowded flight to Brisbane Qantas said it was introducing formal social distancing on its planes.
On larger aircraft middle seats will be left vacant and on smaller planes every second seat will be empty.
"All passengers will have a seat free next to them," a Qantas spokesman told AAP.
"It's important to note that there has been no known case of people contracting coronavirus on board an aircraft, anywhere in the world.
"This includes instances where a passenger has later turned out to have travelled while infected. Likely reasons for this include air flow in the cabin, on-board filtration systems and the structure of the cabin itself."