After performing CPR on a United Airlines passenger who ultimately died of COVID-19, the EMT who risked his life says the airline has given him a $200 voucher for the "inconvenience."
Tony Aldapa, who previously told Fox News that he feared he had contracted the coronavirus during the ordeal, tells Fox News that he was recently contacted by United Airlines and offered the voucher on Jan. 14, exactly one month after the in-flight emergency.
"The amount of the voucher doesn’t bother me," Aldapa told Fox News. "I have not been sharing my story for any monetary gain. I have never asked for any kind of reimbursement from the airline, I have never threatened any kind of lawsuits and I have never asked for anything in return from any of the news outlets that have given me the time to speak with them. What bothers me is the fact that all I received was a voucher and a phone call from a customer care representative that sounded like she was handed a sticky note that said, 'Hey, call this guy, he was on the flight and helped out.'
"That was the slap in the face," he added.
As he tells Fox News. Aldapa was confused as to why United Airlines had not inquired about his health after learning that he, along with two other passengers, had "busted their butts for an hour" trying to help the dying man during the Dec. 14 flight. Failing that, he said he would have appreciated any kind of acknowledgement.
"Any kind of statement regarding what happened from anyone in the company would have been good, about us passengers that helped, about the flight attendants or the pilots, anything to show that the higherups in the company were following the story. But the only thing I ever saw were the statements saying it wasn’t their responsibility to notify passengers," he said.
Aldapa first explained to TMZ he was most recently contacted by United Airlines on Thursday. During the call, Adalpa claims a United representative informed him he would be receiving the voucher by email and thanked him for his help.
At no time did the representative make mention of the passenger who was pronounced dead after the plane made an emergency landing in New Orleans, Aldapa told TMZ. Instead, the email offered an apology for "the inconvenience you experienced on your recent trip."
TMZ further reported Steven Chang, another passenger who assisted with CPR on the flight, was also offered a voucher. Several other passengers on the flight who spoke with the outlet, but did not assist with CPR, claim they were extended the same offer by United.
A representative for United Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for further information Monday morning.
United Airlines had previously confirmed to Fox News that the CDC had asked the airline to share passenger information after the passenger died following his medical emergency on a flight scheduled to fly from Orlando to Los Angeles. Following the plane’s emergency landing in New Orleans, a coroner’s office in Louisiana determined the cause of death to be respiratory failure and COVID-19.
However, Aldapa and other passengers (who shared their accounts to Twitter) had previously claimed that during the in-flight emergency, the wife of the now-deceased passenger had claimed he had been suffering from shortness of breath, as well as the loss of taste and smell. In a previous interview, Aldapa also told Fox News that, while he never personally heard her describe her husband’s symptoms, she did explicitly say he had not been tested for COVID-19 prior to the flight.
"At the end of the day, the risk to his life, in my opinion, outweighed the potential risk of COVID. At the time, he needed CPR and that’s what was going to prolong his chances of survival." — Tony Aldapa
Aldapa himself later said he came down with mild symptoms associated with COVID-19 but ultimately tested negative.
"At the end of the day, the risk to his life, in my opinion, outweighed the potential risk of COVID," he told Fox News in December. "At the time, he needed CPR and that’s what was going to prolong his chances of survival."
Aldapa also commended the actions of the crew, calling the on-duty flight attendants "amazing."
The in-flight incident, which occurred on Dec. 14, took place only days before United Airlines launched a contact-tracing program in partnership with the CDC.
This article originally appeared on Fox Business