Icelandair flight: A woman tested positive for Covid while flying to Iceland

(CNN) – After one woman tested positive for Covid-19 mid-flight, the bathroom became her seat for the next few hours.

Marisa Fotieo was on an Icelandair flight from Chicago to Reykjavik, Iceland, on December 19, on his way to his final destination in Switzerland with his brother and father.

Before the flight, Fotieo told CNN she took two PCR tests and about 5 quick tests, all of which came back negative. But about an hour and a half into the flight, Fotieo began to feel a sore throat.

“The wheels started turning in my brain and I thought, ‘OK, I’m just taking a test.’ It would make me feel better, ‘Fotieo told CNN.’

When she got her results in the plane’s bathroom, across the Atlantic, she said she was starting to panic.

“The first flight attendant I ran into was Rocky. I was hysterical, I cried,” Fotieo said. “I was nervous about my family that I just had dinner with. I was nervous about the other people on the plane. I was nervous about myself.”

Ragnhildur Eiríksdóttir, or Rocky, the stewardess Fotieo ran into, helped calm her down.

“Of course it’s a stress factor when something like this comes up, but it’s part of our job,” Eiríksdóttir told CNN.

The stewardess said she did what she could to try to rearrange seats so Fotieo could sit in one place alone, but the plane was full.

"I was nervous about my family, with whom I had just had dinner.  I was nervous about the other people on the plane.  I was nervous about myself," Marisa Fotieo told CNN.

“I was nervous about my family that I just had dinner with. I was nervous about the other people on the plane. I was nervous about myself,” Marisa Fotieo told CNN.

Courtesy Marisa Fotieo

“When she came back and told me she could not find enough seating, I chose to stay in the bathroom because I did not want to be with others on the plane,” Fotieo said.

A note was then put on the bathroom door stating that it was out of order and it was Fotieo’s new seat for the rest of the flight.

CNN contacted Icelandair on Thursday for a comment, but has not yet heard back.

Policies vary among airlines as to how to handle a Covid-positive passenger. This comes just weeks after the United States and other countries imposed travel restrictions amid the proliferation of the Omicron variant.

She was in the bathroom for about three hours. Eiríksdóttir checked her regularly and gave her lots of food and drinks.

“I was in shock that I missed a family trip. I was in shock that I should be in Iceland alone. I was in shock that I had 20 families at home who just had me in their classroom, “Fotieo said.

While inside the bathroom, she said she bought internet access and called to tell her school. She also made a TikTok video, which has been viewed more than 4.3 million times Thursday afternoon.

Fotieo said she did not feel stuffed inside the bathroom and was just happy not to be in the main cabin with the rest of the passengers, one of whom was her 70-year-old father.

In quarantine in Iceland

When the plane landed in Iceland, Fotieo and her family were the last of the plane.

Since her brother and father had no symptoms, they were free to take their connecting flight to Switzerland. Fotieo got both a quick and PCR test at the airport, both of which were positive, she said.

She was then driven to a Red Cross hotel, where she began her 10-day quarantine.

Doctors checked her in three times a day, she was given meals and medication was readily available. “Honestly, it’s been an easy experience,” Fotieo said. “It’s partly due to Rocky and the breed of Icelandic people. Everyone here is so sweet.”

Marisa Fotieo received gifts, a tree and a card from the stewardesses while she was in quarantine in Iceland.

Marisa Fotieo received gifts, a tree and a card from the stewardesses while she was in quarantine in Iceland.

Courtesy Marisa Fotieo

Throughout her quarantine, she continued to document the experience on TikTok. She even received Christmas presents and snacks from Eiríksdóttir, with whom she had kept in touch via social media.

“I knew she would be for herself in Iceland,” Eiríksdóttir said. “So even though it’s isolated, if you have someone there who can bring you something, it’s nice. So I just had to be that someone.”

Fotieo’s last day in quarantine was December 30, and her family planned to meet with her at the time. They will be able to experience Iceland together to catch up on the lost time as their flight back to the states is on January 3rd.

And Fotieo plans to meet with Eiríksdóttir before she leaves the country. Eiríksdóttir also mentioned visiting Fotieo when she has a flight over to Chicago.

“When I come out of this experience, I have a new friend and I have a new perspective on how much stewardesses need to do,” Fotieo said. “Rocky and the flight crew had me, but they also had the other passengers to handle on the flight.”

CNN’s Channon Hodge and Mackenzie Happe contributed to this report.

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