A woman decided to self-isolate in an airplane bathroom for hours after she tested positive for COVID-19 during her flight to visit her family for Christmas.
The woman filmed a TikTok of herself in the bathroom as she waited for the plane to land, which has now gone viral and garnered more than four million views on the TikTok app.
Marisa Fotieo found out she had COVID-19 midflight. She spent hours isolated in the plane’s bathroom and recorded the experience on TikTok. pic.twitter.com/PPKsEEOAAR
— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 31, 2021
Marisa Fotieo, a schoolteacher in Chicago, was about an hour into her flight from Chicago to Switzerland to visit her family for Christmas when she said she suddenly developed a “severe sore throat” that made her suspicious she might have COVID.
She had a rapid COVID test with her, so decided to go ahead and take it.
“I thought, okay, I’m just going to take a test. It’s going to make me feel better,” Fotieo said in a CNN interview she did from quarantine.
However, the test was positive, even though Fotieo is vaccinated and boosted.
Fotieo was concerned for the other passengers, including her 70-year-old father who was flying with her, so she decided to voluntarily self-isolate in the plane’s bathroom.
She told a flight attendant, who initially tried to see if she could move passengers around on the flight so Fotieo could social distance from them, but the flight was too full. The flight attendant then asked Fotieo if she would be willing to isolate in the bathroom for the rest of the flight, and Fotieo agreed to do so.
“I’m sure if I had said no, can I please go back to my seat, she would have said yes, but I was too nervous. There were so many people on the flight,” Fotieo said.
She remained isolated in the bathroom for about three more hours until the plane landed.
While isolated, Fotieo filmed a TikTok of herself in the aircraft’s bathroom with the words, “you test positive for COVID while over the Atlantic ocean.”
“Shout out to Icelandair for my VIP quarantine quarters,” she captioned the TikTok video.
The IcelandAir flight had a layover in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Fotieo booked a hotel room in the capital city to quarantine for 10 days, spending Christmas alone.
She finished her quarantine period on Thursday and told CNN that she hopes to spend the remaining few days of her holiday with her family.
The flight attendant who helped her on the plane, Ragnhildur “Rocky” Eiríksdóttir, sent some Christmas gifts to Fotieo’s hotel while she was quarantined.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance stating that people who test positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms should quarantine for only five days rather than the previous longer period of 10 days.
The viral TikTok video came as U.S. flight cancellations rocked airlines over the Christmas season. Major airlines including Delta, United, and JetBlue said crew members had contracted the omicron variant of COVID-19 and were out sick. Some airlines including United, Spirit, and Alaska even offered crew members more pay to work flights that were understaffed.
From Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day, airlines cancelled about 13,000 flights in the U.S., according to FlightAware.
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