As travel agencies brace for a massive surge in travelers, some are struggling with how to manage the massive influx of patients coming in, especially with some international carriers refusing to fly patients to their destinations.
“As travel agencies start to scramble, it becomes increasingly difficult to operate in a way that is sustainable for them,” said Sarah McBride, a professor of health services administration at Stanford University’s Haas School of Business.
“That means they have to adjust and adjust again, or the travel agency might not be able to function.”
And that could mean more travel for those already sick.
While international carriers like Air France and Air Berlin have been more accommodating to Ebola patients than other carriers, some carriers are taking more of a hard line against Ebola patients in their markets.
“If you’re an Ebola patient in a travel agency, they will deny you a ticket,” McBride said.
“They may say, ‘We will have no flights to your destination because you have Ebola.'”
That may make it harder for travel agents to get patients off of flights, said John C. Linn, a senior fellow at the Institute for Strategic Studies.
“The airlines will say, if you can’t get your patient to their destination, then you can fly home,” Linn said.
So while airlines may not be doing much to help with the shortage, they may have a huge impact on travelers’ ability to get off their flights.
And while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging airlines to offer Ebola patients the same accommodations as others who need to be off the flight, it is unclear how that will play out in practice.
“What we do know is that the American public is not very happy with the treatment of Ebola patients,” said Nancy Y. Friedlander, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins University.
“So, we have been encouraging airlines, especially American, to be more accommodating.”
In a statement, American Airlines said that it is taking a “hands-off approach” to Ebola patient treatment.
“We will continue to do everything we can to support our patients, but as we’ve been doing for years, we are taking a hands-off attitude,” the statement said.
The U.K.’s Heathrow airport has been forced to close several flights in recent weeks due to the virus, which has forced passengers to board smaller aircraft and forced flights to be diverted to other airports.
In January, a British court ordered the airport to reopen flights to and from the United States in order to accommodate patients.
Heathrow is one of several major international airports in the U, including Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom’s Gatwick Airport in London.
While many of these airports have limited capacity, the situation at Heathrow has gotten worse in recent days, as patients arriving at the airport are being diverted to the U-Haul terminal, a section of the terminal where U.N. officials are staying.
“For some time now, the UHaul terminals have been overwhelmed by people coming in for treatment and the UAHaul has been working to accommodate them,” Heathrow said in a statement.
“It has been a long time coming, but we have now reached the point where we are not able to accommodate these patients in the terminal, and we have therefore to divert to other facilities.”
At Heathrow, some of the UHSAs passengers are staying in tents and bunkhouses, and some have not been able to go home, as they are unable to board planes.
While some of those passengers are being housed at other U.H.
As terminals, the United Nations has been in contact with Heathrow and has asked it to increase capacity, according to a U.U.N.’s Twitter account.
“Health officials are in contact w/ UHSAS, which is working with UHAs and UAA, to ensure maximum capacity for Ebola patients on the ground,” the tweet said.
A number of countries, including Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, have stepped up their Ebola response in the last few days.
“In light of the current international travel situation, our teams have been working hard to facilitate the movement of Ebola cases, which in turn has resulted in some cases being transferred to other UHAS sites,” Heathroff said in the statement.
As a result, the number of Ebola patient flights at Heathroys airports has been reduced from more than 100 flights a day in January to about 30 flights a week.
“I think the health system is well aware of the challenges that the Ebola situation presents,” Heathrop said.
For some U.
As, the response has been even more complicated.
As’ Fort Worth airport, where passengers are flying on Air France flights, a quarantine system was put in place in March.
It required all passengers to stay in their hotel rooms, and all airline staff were instructed to check patients for symptoms.
The Fort Worth Health Department, which administers the Fort Worth Airport’s quarantine