When Are You Too Sick To Fly?

Southwest Airlines will let you know if you’re too fat to fly, but what about too sick to fly? Well, it’s your call. As the recent H1N1 epidemic taught us — your sense of altruism better be awesome because you’re probably going to be paying a fee to stay home.

Travel guru Chris Elliott writes:

A recent poll by TripAdvisor suggests 51 percent of air travelers say they’d rather fly while infected with the flu than pay a $150 airline change fee. A similar survey by msnbc.com found nearly 60 percent of travelers would fly infected instead of taking the hit to their pocketbook.

That’s something worth considering as we approach the peak of the flu season. For every one Margolis, there’s at least one other passenger who refuses to cancel. Like Amanda, who asked me not to reveal her last name. She flew with the flu, even though she didn’t want to.

“I called Southwest to bump my flight by a day, and while the rep was kind, she couldn’t do anything but offer me the opportunity to pay the $300 change in fare,” she says. “Since this was not a possibility for me, I reluctantly dosed myself with cold medicine and endured the unending stares of everyone on the shuttle, in the security line and boarding around me on my flight and endured the most miserable six hours of my life flying.”

In case you’re wondering why Amanda wouldn’t let me publish her last name, have a look at the comments other travelers left for her when she confessed to being an infected passenger.

Of course, it’s not just other passengers you should worry about. You shouldn’t be trying to fly somewhere if you’re really sick — you could just make it worse.

Too sick to travel? [MSNBC]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.