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Airline passenger says she was singled out for coughing while Asian

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CTV

A Vancouver woman flying home from Mexico said she was asked to wear a face mask because she coughed and is Asian. 

Reed Chen had spent two weeks in Mexico, a week in Huatulco for a pickleball camp and a second on her own in San Cristobal. During the second week, she came down with a cold.

“I emailed my travel agent right away,” Chen told CTV. “I said I wanted to come back. She said, ‘With your fever, you may not be able to fly, so you may as well stay and relax until you get better.’ I slept for three days. I eat nothing, but drink water.”

As her sickness started to clear, she flew home with Aeromexico as scheduled on Feb. 2. During the flight, she coughed once and was confronted by a flight attendant who asked if she had been to China. She explained she hadn’t been in two decades. 

Another flight attendant then began “interrogating” her, presenting a face mask, saying the captain requested she wear it.

“I said, ‘Did you ask all the people coughing to wear it?'” Chen recalled. “He said, ‘No, people only complain about you.’ I asked, ‘Because I cough?’ Because I’m Asian, of course. I’m the only Asian on the whole plane.”

Chen said she refused to wear the mask and said felt humiliated and discriminated against.

“If I ever have anything it’s a Mexican virus,” she said. “It’s definitely not coronavirus.”

While Aeromexico said it will review the case, Chen has not filed a formal complaint, but remains defiant.

“My rights cannot be taken away just because some other people are being paranoid.”

Source: CTV

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