Actions

United Airlines bans couple who flew to Hawaii despite testing positive for COVID-19

Couple knew they had COVID-19 and boarded a plane to Hawaii anyway, police say
Posted at 9:42 AM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 18:06:48-05

HONOLULU (AP) — A couple who authorities say knowingly had COVID-19 but boarded a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Lihue, Hawaii, anyway, have been banned from the airline.

In an email to E.W. Scripps, a spokesman for United told the newspaper that they banned the couple while "they investigate the matter."

"The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have various policies and procedures in place as part of a multi-layered approach to create a safer travel environment, including mandating that everyone onboard wears a mask," the statement read. "Prior to traveling, all United customers are required to complete a ‘Ready to Fly’ checklist acknowledging they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. We have banned these customers while we investigate this matter."

The Kauai Police Department says Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson were arrested after they boarded a United flight home to Lihue with a 4-year-old child after San Francisco International Airport officials told them to isolate themselves and avoid the flight Sunday.

Officials say Moribe and Peterson took COVID-19 detection tests and both knew they tested positive for the virus.

“They knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive covid-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death,” the Kauai police spokesperson, Coco Zickos, told the Washington Post.

The Kauai residents were arrested on suspicion of second-degree reckless endangering. The child was released to the care of family members. The child's relationship to Moribe and Peterson was not disclosed.

"We continue to request visitors and residents alike to follow the Governor's Emergency Rules and take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19," Kaua'i Police Chief Todd Raybuck said in the news release.

Peterson did not immediately return voicemail messages from the Associated Press seeking comment. A phone number associated with Moribe had been disconnected.

If found guilty, Moribe and Peterson could face up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.