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The arrival of omicron broadly halted the goal of normalization that defined much of 2021. A reluctance to return to pre-vaccine lockdowns and other Covid positive curbs may be allowing the virus to spread more widely. However, it’s also giving some people a more traditional holiday season. The ability to spend it with family and friends after a dismal 2020 before vaccines were widely available. 

Airlines have canceled more than 2,000 flights since Christmas Eve. The rapid spread of the omicron variant of Covid-19 drove up sick calls from flight crews. The staffing shortages disrupted travel for thousands of customers, many of whom skipped holiday travel last year.

Woman tests positive for COVID on flight

Marisa Fotieo, a Michigan woman who tested positive for COVID-19 in the middle of Icelandair flight 622 from Newark to Iceland a few days before Christmas, says she ended up voluntarily isolating in the plane’s cramped bathroom for the final approximately five hours of the trip to Reykjavik.

“It was a crazy experience,” she told NBC News. “I just took my rapid test, and I brought it into the bathroom, and within what felt like two seconds, there were two lines (indicating a positive test).”

Fotieo captured the scene of her journey in the plane’s tiny bathroom in a TikTok video that has been viewed more than 3 million times. She said she could last five hours with great assistance from flight attendant Ragnhildur “Rocky” Eiríksdóttir. 

“She made sure I had everything I needed for the next five hours from food to drinks and constantly checked on me assuring me I would be all right.”

Above and beyond

Once the flight was on the ground, Fotieo had to quarantine again in a Red Cross hotel. After exchanging information, Eiríksdóttir went above and beyond to ensure Fotieo found comfort at the hotel. 

“She bought me flowers and a little Christmas tree with lights so I could hang it,” Fotieo said. “It was so heartfelt, and she’s just an angel.”

With the new variant and cases breaking through across the globe, the examples these two set show the only way we move beyond the pandemic is to go above and beyond to help each other. 

Mark McKee
Mark McKee
Mark McKee is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.


by Virgin America Flight Attendant
TJ Newman