Scared of MERS -I travelled via Etihad Airways on Pearl Business Class

A week or two before his birthday, my father had suffered a mild stroke. I immediately decided to visit him. Before the announcement of an outbreak of MERS in Saudi Arabia, I already purchased an economy ticket going to Philippines via Etihad Airways.

MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a viral respiratory illness caused by Coronavirus. It was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.It has been said that it likely came from animal sources like camel in Qatar and a bat in Saudi Arabia.It can be spread from one infected person to another person.

April 7, 2014 my flight From Jeddah to Abu Dhabi (Economy Class) and From Abu Dhabi to Manila (Business Class). For all OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) who have had experienced travelling in economy class, with different nationalities, different cultures, different hygiene practice…people who spit in public, sneeze /cough with gusto without covering their mouth without even considering they can spread the microbes (bacteria) to other people, this in particular is the menace of travelling.

To make the story short, I had the chance to experience travelling in business class when they offered me(via e-mail) to bid on the seat. It was a relief  not to hassle, to wait in VIP lounge, a choice of complimentary delectable cuisine and even a free 15 minutes massage is available.

6 ft 1 inch Flat bed
6 ft 1 inch Flat bed

I apologize for the not so clear pictures but one thing I can surely say, the pictures in their websites and its functions are all true.


I had the same opportunity in coming back, scared of the MERS cases escalating in Saudi Arabia,I braced myself of some precautions because I was already feeling tired from travelling, my body were aching and just to have a comfortable flight will add some relaxation and will at least minimise my contacts to other passengers.

So after 12 hours and the plane had touchdown in Jeddah,Saudi Arabia, I noticed redness and warmness in my face and neck. I also have difficulty of swallowing due to sore throat. After I reached home, I immediately freshened and concluded that I might be having allergy so I took antihistamine tablet. I felt asleep for maybe an hour and when I woke up, the redness and swelling were more than usual, my eyes were puffy and half closed. I went to Emergency room(ER) , history was taken while taking the vital signs and Allerfin intramuscular injection STAT!

no diarrhoea, no difficulty of breathing and slightly elevated body temperature (37.9 C) definitely no MERS!!

I went home but after 12 hours I am back again in the ER, this time my whole body, extremities were all red, my face and neck were more swollen and red, so another injection was given, CBC (complete blood count) and antibiotic treatment was started right away.

Tentative diagnosis: Viral Exanthem?/ Scarlet fever

After 4 days, the rashes and swelling started to disappear, my sore throat is less and I started to enjoy my meal. The CBC result is with in normal limits and I am back to work. 🙂

Thank you Lord, it wasn’t MERS!

Did the business class seat helps? I guess it minimises the contact to other passengers, did I mentioned Sarah Geronimo (popular Filipina singer) and her mother was a just a seat away? 🙂 If I was in the economy seat, with my low resistance to infection, it might have been worse.

Overall, the upgraded seat, the additional cost is worth having. Thank you Etihad Airways!








Author: jamilamimi

a mother of two, professionally working as cosmetic dentist, a lover of own perception in and out.

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