Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
Five flight JetBlue flight attendants are now known to sadly have died after being infected with COVID-19 as the number of confirmed novel Coronavirus cases in the United States topped 639,000 according to date from John Hopkins University. Nearly 31,000 people have died across the United States from the virus as President Trump mulls ways to ease social distancing rules and stay at home orders.
The death toll in New York alone is set to top 11,000 on Thursday – jetBlue’s self-declared home town. The county in which Boston is located, another major hub for jetBlue has also confirmed over 6,000 COVID-19 cases and 145 deaths – one of whom was a jetBlue flight attendant.
Jared Lovos, an otherwise healthy 27-year old, died after contracting Coronavirus last week. He joined jetBlue in 2015 and was originally based at Boston before transferring to the airline’s JFK base. Jared’s cousin, Abnner Pereira described Jared someone who was always full of “warmth, jokes, perseverance & optimism”.
A Gofundme page set up in his memory has already raised over $42,000.
Also based at New York JFK, 68-year old Ralph Gismondi had been working as an inflight crewmember for jetBlue for more than a decade. Boston-based Ray Pabon was just 51-years old when he died after being infected with COVID-19 on Monday. Although he was diabetic, he had no other underlying health conditions.
“The people that are flying now, they shouldn’t be flying. We are flying first-time people around the country who are cashing in on a $17 flight that should be $370. They don’t understand that they are putting everyone at risk,” said one anonymous jetBlue flight attendant.
“As I’m watching my co-workers around me die, I’m scared to death to go to work now. But I don’t have a choice, because I have to pay my bills,” the crew member continued.
The Association of Flight Attendants paid tribute to the five men – Jared Lovos, Ralph Gismondi and Ray Pabon, as well as Manuel Gomez and Kevin McAdoo. The largest flight attendant union in the United States said “our hearts go out to the entire jetBlue family”.
Since the beginning on April, the Transport Workers Union has been providing personal protective equipment including face masks and gloves for flight attendants still flying for jetBlue during the pandemic. jetBlue has received funding through the Trump administration’s CARES act which means the airline needs to continue providing “essential” air service.
In March, jetBlue banned a passenger for life after taking a flight with the airline from JFK to Palm Beach, Florida just hours after being taking a test for COVID-19 and while he was awaiting the test results. A spokesperson said at the time that the incident “put our crewmembers, customers, and federal and local officials in an unsettling situation that could have easily been avoided, and as such, this customer will not be permitted to fly on JetBlue in the future,”
JetBlue has been contacted for comment.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.