Flight Diverted After Unruly Passengers Mistake Allergies for Coronavirus

A United Airlines flight traveling from Colorado ski country to Newark, New Jersey was diverted to Denver on Sunday afternoon after a group of passengers became disruptive because they were seated next to someone who was coughing and sneezing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

According to KCNC-TV, passengers were told that the flight from Eagle County Airport outside of Vail was landing unexpectedly due to “security reasons.”

The concerned travelers were apparently making unreasonable requests to the flight crew, according to at least one passenger.

A United spokesperson later said that the incident “was in no way a medical situation.”

The flight landed without incident and was met by law enforcement, who removed the disruptive passengers. The flight departed for Newark just 30 minutes later.

United officials told KCNC-TV that the passenger who was believed to be sick was only suffering from allergies. The airline confirmed that the individual was screened on the plane, didn’t have a fever and was allowed to continue on the flight.

Right now on a @united flight from VAIL to Newark. Got diverted to Denver for “security reasons”…. now landed. Rumor is that there was a “couging passenger” that is being de-planed. This is all rumor. Pilot has not given details. Stay tuned. #COVID #CoronaVirus pic.twitter.com/DFPkq1hE1v

The FBI is currently investigating the incident since it took place mid-flight.

Sunday’s flight diversion is just one example of the many challenges the airline industry is facing amid the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

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