Men Who Gave CPR To Dying United Passenger With COVID Given $200 Flight Vouchers

by SharonKurheg

A few weeks ago, there was plenty of coverage when an elderly man collapsed on his flight on December 14th and it was later determined he died of COVID.

United flight 591 was going from Orlando to Los Angeles when it was diverted to New Orleans due to a medical emergency.

Tony Aldapa (who is an EMT) and Steven Chang were both passengers on the plane. They worked together to perform CPR on the man for 45 minutes until they landed.

During the emergency, the man’s wife commented that he had recently lost his sense of taste and smell and had been having problems breathing (the man didn’t disclose this to the United representatives). He died in the ER of a hospital in New Orleans and a spokesperson for the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office said that the cause of death for 69-year-old Isaias Hernandez was found to be acute respiratory failure secondary to COVID-19.

Aldapa said he started showing symptoms of COVID a few days after the incident and began quarantining. He also mentioned that it took a full 10 days before he was contacted by the L.A. County Dept. of Public Health with the confirmation that his fellow passenger had COVID-19.

Fast forward to last week and as per an article in TMZ, Aldapa and Chang were each given a $200 flight voucher.

Aldapa told TMZ that he got a call from a United rep late last week to thank him for his assistance during the crisis and letting him know a $200 electronic travel certificate would be emailed to him. The rep didn’t say anything about the man who had died of COVID, and the email from United only said that they apologized for the inconvenience Aldapa experienced on his recent trip.

Chang apparently received the same phone call, email and $200 voucher.

Chang’s wife, who was on the same flight, as well as other passengers on the plane who were contacted by TMZ, did not receive vouchers for their “inconvenience,” which seems to point only to the guys who tried to save Hernandez’ life.

I think this is one of those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” sort of things.

A $200 voucher, which won’t even get you on some one-way flights on United, is pretty chintzy, considering they were trying to save a guy’s life, and that the guy turned out to have COVID (it was initially thought Hernandez was having a heart attack, but they learned a day or two later that he had died of COVID).

On the other hand, they didn’t have to give Aldapa and Chang anything. Other people have been just as heroic on planes and have only gotten verbal or written thank-yous.

But anyway, so there ya go. If you give CPR to someone who’s COVID positive on a United flight, United will give you a $200 voucher. I guess that’s the going rate.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Billy Bob January 18, 2021 - 9:53 am

Do your duty as a human. and don’t keep score.

Will January 22, 2021 - 11:16 am

Exactly. Your reward should be the satisfaction of doing a good deed. Period.

Too Many January 18, 2021 - 12:21 pm

Do your duty as a company and show appreciation for passengers selflessly putting themselves at risk.

While UA isn’t at fault, they could at least show a little more gratitude, like maybe 50K miles or something that can indicate more than just a standard amount given for a voluntary denied boarding.

Christian January 18, 2021 - 12:32 pm

I think that either nothing or a lot more would have been more appropriate. You’re right that such a lowball amount looks really cheap.

Mary Ann Yavelow January 18, 2021 - 3:33 pm

CPR is necessary, but chest compressions are priority. To give “mouth to mouth “ during this pandemic could be fatal for the responder,

SharonKurheg January 18, 2021 - 5:59 pm

I don’t think they did mouth-to-mouth. There was an Ambu bag available.

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[…] who gave CPR to dying passenger on United Airlines with Covid-19 has been given a $200 travel voucher. A little Premier status is in order, […]

Angelo January 22, 2021 - 12:57 am

What about cabin crew?Shoudn’t they be trained at least to perform CPR in such event?

Darrell K January 22, 2021 - 12:20 pm

“But anyway, so there ya go. If you give CPR to someone who’s COVID positive on a United flight, United will give you a $200 voucher. I guess that’s the going rate.”
What a stupid thing to say!! United was under ZERO obligation to give anyone anything and this article magnifies the entitlement that everyone is getting. Great job by those who intervened and they should be congratulated and recognized for doing SOMETHING!!

SharonKurheg January 22, 2021 - 12:39 pm

I also suggested that granted, United didn’t have to do or give them anything. However if they insisted on doing so, it might have been nice if they did something substantial. A paltry $200 is really a slap in the face. Under those circumstances, a thank-you note with nothing monetary might even have been better.

Boston January 23, 2021 - 11:55 pm

I also think the $200 is paltry, particularly, because in a volunteer denied boarding scenario, they typically give out $300-$800 on average plus often meal and or hotel accommodations.

These pax performed under extenuating circumstances for and on behalf of a United customer, and they could have very easily died as a result due to Covid19.

I feel the bare minimum compensation should be $500 to $1000.

It would be better if United gave these 2 guys Global Services for life or at least for 5 years plus say $1,000 each.

If the gentlemen had died, United could easily be on the hook for millions. All a trial attorney has to do is convince a jury and tell a good story that people will identify with.

Think about how much money United likely paid out for the Dr. Dao incident in the confidential settlement, and Dao didn’t die!


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