As the world tries to figure out how to go about our daily lives and take common-sense precautions against coronavirus, folks are telling stories about their experiences traveling, emphasizing the panic that this pandemic is causing. In particular, a London woman says she caused chaos on her flight to Heathrow Airport by asking for painkillers for her hangover.
“I asked a steward if they had any [acetaminophen] and maybe somewhere to lie down, thinking they might put me in business class, and they asked me if I felt unwell,” said Julia Walentin, a 26-year-old student who had been vacationing in Cambodia with friend Dina Oetterli.
Before she boarded the flight, Walentin said she threw up because she had too much to drink the night before.
“We had to be at the airport at 6 a.m., so we both had hardly any sleep, and I felt so hungover.”
When the two asked for medication and hinted at a seat upgrade by saying Walentin wasn’t feeling well, the flight crew snapped to action, worrying they were dealing with a potential coronavirus patient.
“I tried to explain that I was just tired and hungover, but they moved everyone on my row away and made me lie down,” Walentin said. “They also asked me to put a mask on and started taking my temperature [every 30 minutes], but the readings were really up and down. It was horrendous on a 14-hour flight. It felt more like 40,” said Walentin, adding that the duo was interrogated about their previous travels and activities.
“They told me that they were in touch with doctors on the ground at Heathrow [in London] and that they would be waiting for me. It was such a panic. They made everyone, including us, fill out forms stating where we had traveled from, our addresses and if we had symptoms. I just wanted to go home, but they told me they had to follow protocol and they were taking it very seriously,” Walentin said. “I was so embarrassed. Everyone was annoyed that they had been held up on the plane. They knew it was because of me.”
Once they landed, the pair were escorted off by doctors and firefighters in hazmat suits. They were sent to “a place near the airport that looked like it was under construction, with scaffolding on the outside.”
“We were told not to open our blinds and not to tell our family and friends too much. Just to say that we were fine and would be home soon. It was like a ghost town in there, and all the medics were wearing spacesuits,” she said of the quarantine facility.
Luckily Walentin convinced her roommates to move out of their flat so she could self-isolate at home for the 14-days necessary.
The two are now waiting on their test results—and drinking Coronas in the meantime.
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