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Sadly, five JetBlue flight attendants have now died after being infected with COVID-19 as the number of confirmed novel Coronavirus cases in the United States topped 700,000 and nearly 39,000 people have died across the United States.
The death toll in New York has already topped 17,000 – JetBlue’s self-declared home town. Boston, another major hub for JetBlue, has also confirmed over 5,000 COVID-19 cases and 143 deaths – one of whom was a JetBlue flight attendant.
Wednesday, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), the union representing 50,000+ flight attendants at 20 airlines tweeted this somber post.
On one end of the spectrum, Jared Lovos, a 27-year old flight attendant, died after contracting Coronavirus last week. He joined JetBlue in 2015 and was based at the airline’s JFK base.
A Gofundme page was set up in his memory and has already raised over $44,000.
On the other end of the spectrum was 68-year old Ralph Gismondi, also based at New York JFK, who had been working as a inflight crew member for JetBlue for more than a decade and died after being infected with COVID-19 on Monday.
JETBLUE FA REACTIONS
“The people that are flying now, they shouldn’t be flying. We are flying first-time people around the country who are cashing in on a $17 flight that should be $370. They don’t understand that they are putting everyone at risk,” said one anonymous jetBlue flight attendant.
“As I’m watching my co-workers around me die, I’m scared to death to go to work now. But I don’t have a choice, because I have to pay my bills,” the crew member continued.
JetBlue has received funding through the US administration’s CARES Act which means the airline needs to continue providing “essential” air service. And since the beginning of April, the union has been providing personal protective equipment (e.g. face masks and gloves) for flight attendants still flying for JetBlue during the pandemic.
Interestingly, a month ago, JetBlue banned a passenger for life after taking a flight with the airline from JFK to Palm Beach, Florida just hours after being tested for COVID-19. While the passenger waited for the results that would take a few days, he took his Jetblue flight.
A spokesperson said at the time that the incident “put our crew members, customers, and federal and local officials in an unsettling situation that could have easily been avoided, and as such, this customer will not be permitted to fly on JetBlue in the future.”
What are your thoughts about flying? Should people be flying? Does it scare you that so many FA’s are passing away from the virus?