Too sick to travel? When to put yourself on the no-fly list

For Carol Margolis, it was an almost-ruptured eardrum.

She’d flown with a bad cold and sinus congestion, which made it difficult to equalize the pressure in her ears. After her doctor told her she’d nearly torn the lining between the inner and outer ear, and suggested she stay away from planes for a few weeks, she grounded herself.

“My hearing is too precious to risk,” says Margolis, who runs a travel Web site in Lake Mary, Fla. “I paid the change fees and stayed put.”

Not everyone makes the same choice. A recent poll by TripAdvisor suggests 51 percent of air travelers say they’d rather fly while infected with the flu than pay a $150 airline change fee. A similar survey by msnbc.com found nearly 60 percent of travelers would fly infected instead of taking the hit to their pocketbook.
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Confessions of an infected airline passenger: “The most miserable six hours of my life”

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the dangers of flying with the flu, and the airlines’ refusal to loosen their rigid ticket change policies. But how does it looks from the passenger’s perspective?

Meet Amanda. She doesn’t want me to use her last name for reasons that will be obvious to you in a moment. She had the flu but decided to fly.
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