Marisa Fotieo praised Icelandair staff for looking after her in the makeshift isolation booth
Michigan-based teacher Marisa Fotieo says she had taken two PCR tests that returned negative results before embarking on the journey, but upon feeling unwell on the Icelandair flight, took a rapid antigen test somewhere over the Atlantic.
Seeing a positive result, Ms Fotieo says she quickly informed airline staff, who said there were not enough empty rows on the flight to be able to seat her away from other passengers.
She then volunteered to isolate herself in one of the aircraft’s bathrooms for the remainder of the flight – more than four hours.
She posted a TikTok video to a song called “I’m So Lucky,” attracting over four million views.
“Shout out to @Icelandair for my VIP quarantine quarters,” reads the video caption.
Replying to commenters who wondered how and why a passenger might be tested for Covid mid-flight, she clarified: “I received two negative PCR’s. Got on the flight. Traveled for Christmas. Decided to bring at home tests for my travels. Felt sore throat and tested+.”
“They tested me on my layover and PCR was positive. I never made it to my destination. Quarantined in Iceland now.”
“I just took my rapid test and I brought it into the bathroom, and within what felt like two seconds there were two lines (indicating a positive test),” Fotieo told the US’s Today show.
“There’s 150 people on the flight, and my biggest fear was giving it to them,” she said.
She thanked Icelandair flight attendant Ragnhildur “Rocky” Eiríksdóttir for frequently checking in on her and bringing her food and drink.
Her TikTok video shows water bottles, Pringles and even an Icelandic Gull lager in the background of the compact plane bathroom.
On arrival in Iceland – her connection point for an onward flight to Switzerland – Ms Fotieo went into a 10-day quarantine, missing her family’s Christmas break and spending the festive period in a hotel room.
Meanwhile her father and brother (who had tested negative on arrival in Iceland) flew on to Switzerland for the Christmas break.
Ms Fotieo has since posted TikTok videos of her quarantine accommodation, where she dressed up for Christmas Eve and received restaurant takeaway in lieu of a Christmas dinner.
Thousands of flights originating from or crossing the US have been cancelled this week due to Omicron-related staff shortages.
More than 900 were cancelled on Wednesday 29 December alone, the New York Times reported.