CDC to Frontier Airlines: Nurse may have had symptoms on flight

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SkyFOX shot of Frontier flight

SkyFOX shot of Frontier flight

Frontier Airlines released a letter Wednesday to its employees giving new details about the flight that Amber Vinson was aboard; the Dallas nurse was later diagnosed with Ebola.

In the note from CEO David Siegel, he tells employees two pilots and four flight attendants have been placed on paid leave “out of an abundance of caution.”

Also in the letter, Siegel says Frontier was notified by the CDC that the passenger may have been symptomatic earlier than initially suspected; including the possibility of possessing symptoms while onboard the flight.

The following is the entire letter from Frontier that includes a timeline of events:

Dear Team,

We know today has been challenging for Frontier Airlines team members so we felt it important to provide you with an update of the facts and our proactive response to the developments throughout the day.

We take today’s events seriously as your safety and that of our customers is always at the forefront of everything we do.

Since we were notified by the CDC, we’ve proactively placed six crew members (two pilots; four flight attendants) on paid leave for 21 days out of an abundance of caution as the safety and security of our employees is our number one priority. This was over and above CDC guidance that stated that our flight crews were safe to fly.

We have also been working in close cooperation with our unions and appreciate their support on this issue.

Frontier Airlines Chronology – Ebola virus

Oct. 10

  • Passenger first travels on Frontier Airlines flight 1142 Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland
  • Aircraft terminates its operation for the evening and is sanitized in accordance with Frontier’s standard operating procedures (consistent with CDC guidelines). Aircraft remains in service

Oct. 13

  • Passenger returns to Dallas/Fort Worth on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth (departs 6:16 p.m. EDT, arrives 8:16 p.m. CDT)
  • Aircraft to operate flight 1142 Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland. Flight boarded at 8:30 p.m. CDT and canceled at 8:56 p.m. CDT due to crew legality
  • Aircraft terminates its operation for the evening and is sanitized in accordance with Frontier’s standard operating procedures (consistent with CDC guidelines). Aircraft remains in service

Oct. 14

  • The aircraft is routed as follows:

2042 DFW-CLE (departs 7:50 a.m. CDT, arrives 11:27 a.m. EDT)

1104 CLE-FLL (departs 12:13 p.m. EDT, arrives 3:01 p.m. EDT)

1105 FLL-CLE (departs 3:43 p.m. EDT, arrives 6:25 p.m. EDT)

1101 CLE-ATL (departs 7:14 p.m. EDT, arrives 9:07 p.m. EDT)

1100 ATL-CLE (departs 9:57 p.m. EDT, arrives 11:00 p.m. EDT)

  • Aircraft terminates its operation for the evening and is sanitized in accordance with Frontier’s standard operating procedures (consistent with CDC guidelines). Aircraft remains in service.

Oct. 15

  • At approximately 1:00 a.m. MDT, Frontier is notified by the CDC that a passenger traveling on Frontier flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on October 13 tested positive for the Ebola virus.
  • Immediately upon notification from the CDC, Frontier removes the aircraft from service.
  • At the request of the CDC, Frontier supplies customer contact information. CDC instructs Frontier that they would contact our customers.
  • Separately Frontier reaches out to impacted customers with CDC contact information.
  • The aircraft does not perform any scheduled flying and remains out of service in Cleveland until later in the day when it was operated with crew only as a ferry flight to Denver.

NEW INFORMATION:

  • At 1:55 p.m. MDT Frontier was notified by the CDC that the passenger may have been symptomatic earlier than initially suspected; including the possibility of possessing symptoms while onboard the flight.

SUBSEQUENT ACTIONS:

  • In light of the new information, Frontier determines that the aircraft will remain out of service and ferries it back to Denver from Cleveland without customers. The flight departs at 6:20 p.m. EDT and arrives in Denver at 7:20 p.m. MDT. In an abundance of caution, it is determined that the aircraft will receive a fourth cleaning since the infected customer was onboard. Though not required, this cleaning will consist of the removal of seat covers and carpets in the immediate vicinity of the passenger seat. The airline will also change the environmental filters onboard.
  • NOTE: These extraordinary actions went beyond CDC recommendations. These steps were taken out of concern for the safety of our customers and employees. Steps such as removing the aircraft from service, removing aircraft seat covers and carpet and replacing environmental filters as well as placing the crew on paid leave were not requested nor mandated by the CDC. Frontier expects that the aircraft will return to service in a few days.

Thank you for continuing to represent Frontier proudly on the front lines. Please reach out to your departmental leadership should you have any additional concerns or questions.  I’m proud to stand with Team Frontier and appreciate all you do for our customers each and every day.

CDC is asking all 132 passengers on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on October 13 (the flight route was Cleveland to Dallas Fort Worth and landed at 8:16 p.m. CT) to call 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636). After 1 p.m. ET, public health professionals will begin interviewing passengers about the flight, answering their questions, and arranging follow up. Individuals who are determined to be at any potential risk will be actively monitored.

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