FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – “It was this sense of uncertainty of if I was going to be able to come home or if I was going to have to stay there for who knows how long,” Nathan Plowman said.
Boston University student Nathan Plowman is back home in Fayetteville. He was studying abroad in Ecuador when the program was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic and Ecuador decided to close its borders.
“We found out the program was canceled and two hours later it was closed – the city was closed,” Vicki Plowman said.
His mother, Vicki, says with assistance from U.S. Sen John Boozman’s office along with the university and the U.S. Embassy, Nathan was able to come home sooner than expected.
“I was told from my university they were starting to open up charter flights in Quito which was perfect because that’s where I was living at the time,” Nathan said.
But Nathan’s concerns didn’t end there – He says he landed at a small airport outside of Miami then Ubered to the international airport, where he says he wasn’t screened.
” I wasn’t told anything about taking any precautions they also didn’t know if I was coming in from an international flight since I was coming from an executive airport since I didn’t land in Miami,” Plowman said. “So, that may have been why.”
He says on the flight back to XNA, the attendants weren’t wearing any masks.
“I wonder what they’re doing to help the flight attendants cause they’re going home and their spouse is maybe still in an industry that has to be at work,” Vicki said. “So, how much are we just continuing to make a circle with.”
Alex English with XNA says if you have a concern it’s best to call the admin office so that they can connect you to the right person.
“I explain XNA to people as a mall,” English said. “We’re somewhat of a landlord and our tenants are airlines, restaurant owners, concessioners. We don’t actually have full control over those individuals.”
She says they’re doing what they can to protect the hundreds of people still traveling – like prohibiting visitors from coming inside and are constantly disinfecting the building.
As of now though – no screening is being done.
“This is an unprecedented time in the aviation industry and that could change in the future, there’s no way of us knowing that yet,” English said.
Since XNA isn’t an international airport- English says it relies on those hubs to screen international travelers.
Nathan and Vicki have decided to self-quarantine not only to make sure they aren’t sick but also so they don’t put others at risk.