Recently, Fox News Sports Analyst Clay Travis called out Delta Airlines on his personal website for banishing him and his family from their connecting flight. Why did Delta do this? Travis’ young son had a case of head lice.
According to Inside Edition, there was “Zero indication of [lice] at all until halfway across the Atlantic Ocean and he suddenly started itching hair. My wife went over to him and said, ‘Why are you so itchy?’ At that point in time, flight attendants gathered around and asked my wife, ‘Does he have lice?'”
Delta flight attendants claimed that without conducting a thorough medical examination of the child, including lice treatment (using the comb out-method), Travis and his family would not be permitted to board their connecting flight from Minneapolis to their home city of Nashville.
The issue has spurred much debate surrounding how contagious head lice is to others in a closed area, such as an airplane. According to dermatologist Doris Day, “Just because you are in a plane or closed space doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to get head lice from someone who is infected. You really get exposed to it more by sharing articles of clothing or instruments like hair brushes or combs.” In other words, unless Travis’ son had direct head-to-head contact or shared apparel or combs with other passengers, they would likely be safe from lice infestion.
Public backlash reveals that many people are uneducated when it comes to basic facts surrounding head lice. Many people accused Travis of not regularly bathing his child, which he quickly denied. However, lice are not attracted to dirty or clean hair as many people commonly believe.
Travis also complained about the public manner in which Delta chose to address the situation. He told Inside Edition: “They took my kid out and conducted an exam in front of hundreds of people. That seems like aggressive overreach.”
Delta later issued a statement claiming that their priority is ensuring the health and safety of their passengers. However, it seems that their knowledge surrounding the severity of lice is heavily skewed. Delta Spokesman Anthony Black told Forbes that “Delta flight attendants are trained to [perform] a first-responder role as outlined by the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration]. Direct examination of a passenger outside of [the] first-responder emergency role is not within their scope.” As Forbes points out in their report of the situation, this statement insinuates that Delta treats head lice as an emergency.
While head lice is certainly a frustrating predicament, at Lice Clinics of America we know that catastrophizing the problem only makes it worse. With our technology, lice and nits are removed within an hour using our controlled heated air treatment. Pay us a visit before any travel plans this summer. Whether you are seeking our full treatment or a just a head check, you can leave our clinic with peace of mind.
As for Delta Airlines’ lack of knowledge surrounding such a common issue, we recommend getting the facts before passing judgement.