Entries in Delta Air Lines (3)


Delta Needle-Stick Victim Faces Sleepless Nights

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Delta passenger James Tonges told ABC News on Tuesday that he is taking an anti-HIV drug after biting into a needle-laden turkey sandwich, but he still has a lot of worry to chew on.

Tonges will “certainly” have sleepless nights over the incident, wondering about his health, according to Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee. The risk is small, but he could have been exposed to the HIV virus or hepatitis B or C.

Half a dozen sewing needles were found on four separate flights from Amsterdam bound for Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.

“It’s quite understandable to have confusion and anger over what happened with a needle hidden in a sandwich,” said Schaffner. “Needles have nothing to do with making sandwiches in my house. Someone must have put them there.”

Doctors put Tonges on the antiretroviral drug Truvada, which was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration this week for HIV prevention. The drug has been used in the past for post-exposure to the virus and off-label for health care workers who are inadvertently exposed to the virus through needle accidents.

“It was on the second bite into the sandwich, it actually poked the top of my mouth. It was about one inch long, straight needle. It was on the second bite into the sandwich, it actually poked the top of my mouth,” Tonges told ABC’s Good Morning America. “Since it punctured the top of my mouth, I had to be put on medication, and we’re waiting to see if there’s any type of substance on the needle. They’re doing their examination right now.”

“Right now, they say I am OK,” he said. “They said if I started developing symptoms like nausea and headaches, go to the emergency room right away. It’s just a wait-and-see game now.”

A person cannot acquire HIV through ingestion, but the virus could be transmitted through a puncture wound such as the one Tonges experienced. Short-term use of the drug — usually three months — has few side effects, according to Schaffner.

HIV can survive on a surface like a needle for a period of days, depending on whether it has dried or the nature of the surface and conditions like humidity.   The risk is small, but real, and patients need “a lot of education and assurances,” he said.

The sandwiches were provided by the gourmet catering company Gate Gourmet. Authorities are treating this as a criminal act and say it represents a gaping hole in airline security.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Best Seat on the Plane? Hint: Not in Row 7

Medioimage​s/Photodis​c/Thinksto​ck(NEW YORK) -- Lucky no. 7 isn’t the best row to be seated in on a flight. And the worst isn’t row 13.

According to flight-comparison website Skyscanner, the very best seat on a flight is 6A.

The website came to this conclusion via a survey of more than 1,000 people on the subject of seat preferences. The site asked for favorite section of the plane and the preference for the window or aisle seat. It then combined responses to come up with the very best seat on a flight: 6A, a window seat up front.

And to finally settle a battle as old as the one between cat people and dog people, it turns out more people prefer the window to the aisle at the ratio of 60:40.

But when there is a winner, there must be a loser, too. The award for the very worst seat on a plane goes to 31E, a middle seat near the back of the plane.

The preference for seats towards the front of the plane won’t be news for the airlines, many of which have begun charging extra for these seats, as well as for the exit row and for seats with more legroom. Spirit and AirTran charge for any advance seat assignment, and while Southwest still has an open seating policy, it does offer, for $10, the opportunity to check into the flight early and be in the coveted first boarding group.

Most recently, Delta Airlines announced a new fare class called Basic Economy. These tickets run about $15 cheaper, but offer no opportunity for an advance seat assignment. In other words, prepare to be battling over both armrests.

A TripAdvisor survey released Wednesday found 40 percent of people would pay extra to sit in a designated “quiet” section of the plane. But don’t tell the airlines — we don’t want to give them any more ideas to pile on fees.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cancer Patient Banned from Korean Air, Flies Delta

Delta Air Lines(SEATTLE) -- The terminal breast cancer patient deemed too frail to fly by Korean Airlines earlier this week was finally granted passage back to her ancestral Korea by Delta Air Lines. Crystal Kim and her daughter, Mimi Kim, were scheduled to fly from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Seoul on Thursday, the airline confirmed.

"Breast cancer is a cause that is very near and dear to our hearts at Delta," said airline spokeswoman Susan Elliott. "We were just happy to be able to help."

Diagnosed with advanced stage 4 breast cancer, Crystal Kim's dying wish was to live out her final days in the country of her birth, Korea. But when she showed up with her daughter, Mimi Kim, who had booked the flight for last Sunday -- Mother's Day -- the airline stopped the pair at the gate, noting Kim's frailty.

Despite a doctor's note deeming Crystal Kim fit to fly, Korean Air turned the pair away, saying it needed more medical information, said Korean Air spokeswoman Penny Pfaelzer. When Mimi Kim returned the next day with additional medical documentation about her mother's condition, the airline consulted with its own medical professionals and concluded Tuesday that Crystal Kim was not up for the 11-plus hour flight, Pfaelzer said.

Doctors consulted by Korean Air did not examine Kim, Pfaelzer said, but they examined the paperwork provided by Kim's doctor. Citing privacy reasons, Pfaelzer said the airline could not disclose the reason for it denying Kim passage, or discuss details of her health.

Korean Air, which paid for Mimi and Crystal Kim's overnight lodging while it tried to determine whether Kim was fit to fly, will refund their tickets in full.

As with other international airlines, including Delta, Korean Air follows the guidelines of the International Air Transport Association, which recommends that passengers with terminal illnesses, such as advanced stage cancer, should have their fitness for flight evaluated by airline medical staff if there's a question as to whether they can make the journey. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio