A Northern Irish woman has spoken of her shock after airline staff had to take dramatic action in the middle of a flight because of a suspected case of swine flu.
The woman, who has asked not to be named, was travelling on the 10am easyJet flight from Nice to London Gatwick yesterday when the drama unfolded.
“Around halfway through the flight the air hostesses started to move people from the back to the front of the plane,” she said.
“We were told that they thought one of the girls at the back of the plane might have had swine flu and that they had contacted the health authority which recommended that they move people 10 rows away from her.
“Luckily the flight was not full so they were able to move people into vacant seats. We were at the front of the plane so didn’t need to move.
“We think she was a French lady because the staff were looking for someone who spoke French to explain to her what was happening.
“After we landed, we were taken to a different part of the terminal and had to wait for the Port Authority. They came to take the woman of the plane and then the air hostesses handed out leaflets on swine flu.
“They only took down the names of the people sitting closest to the lady and her friend.”
The Ulster woman said that the drama was handled well by easyJet.
“The staff were very calm,” she said.
“Some passengers were worried about the air conditioning and there were parents of young children who were very concerned but the pilot said that the air conditioning would filter the air and was better for us.
“I figure that if they were really concerned for us they wouldn’t have let us off the plane to roam around the airport or go on to other places.
“They seem to be mainly concerned about the people sitting close to the girl as she may have coughed or sneezed over them.
“I have read the leaflet we were given but feel quite confident that we will be ok.”
No-one from easyJet was available for comment last night.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health has said that it is currently investigating one suspected swine flu case in Northern Ireland.
There have been 60 negative cases so far in the province.