Passenger on on-board quarantined Emirates flight calls it a 'flying infirmary'

One of the passengers on-board the Emriates flight that was quarantined in New York on Thursday has spoken to Lisa Owen about the experience and called it a 'flying infirmary.'

"That's exactly what it was a tin can with a bunch of germs and recycled air being recirculated all over you and you just felt gross."

Erin Sykes said it was obvious something was happening when she lined up to board the plane in Dubai, adults were coughing and children were crying.

When Sykes boarded the plane, the first thing she did was ask for a mask. 

"Unfortunately they didn't' have any masks available. They had a few on the flight; they were reserved for medical emergencies," Sykes said.

She said crew never separated the sick passengers from those who were okay, so things got a lot worse as the flight went on. 

"It started with a few dozen people and by the end well over 100 people had some type of cough or symptoms. Stomach bugs, something related going on," Sykes said.

Sykes said things got so bad that bathrooms became unusable.

Sykes said things got so bad that bathrooms became unusable.
Sykes said things got so bad that bathrooms became unusable. Photo credit: Image - AAP

"The bathrooms actually became not functional by the end because there was vomiting and stomach bug associated stuff."

She said the issue was ignored by all staff until the last 30 minutes of the flight when they began to descend into New York.

The captain announced there were 'a few sick people' on the flight, so the plane was going to park on the ground for a while. 

"A few was certainly an understatement. There were at least 100," Sykes said.

The passengers then had to remain on the aircraft in the sickly conditions for another two hours. 

It was first thought that food poisoning could have been to blame for the flight, but officials now suspect some of the passengers who boarded the plane were already infected with the flu.

A number of the passengers had been in Mecca, which is currently experiencing a flu outbreak.

In a statement from Emirates confirmed ten people were taken to hospital once they left the plane, seven of those were crew members.

Newshub/Radio Live