American Airlines confirmed Thursday one of the carrier’s flight attendants died after contracting the coronavirus.
According to NBCDFW.com, American officials revealed that 65-year-old Paul Frishkorn of Philadelphia tested positive for COVID-19 and passed away earlier this week, marking the airline’s first employee death related to the viral outbreak.
Frishkorn worked as a crew member for American for 23 years and was a union representative for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA).
“Our industry, our airline and all of us have been affected by COVID-19 in different ways,” the APFA said in a statement. “But until now, we hadn’t lost one of our own. This loss hits home in a very different, personal way from the headlines.”
The airline also announced earlier this week a series of temporary changes to in-flight policies as a way to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Some of the precautions include maximizing social distancing between employees and customers, reducing food and beverage offerings, closing most Admirals Club lounges and restricting the use of middle seats.
American officials released a statement about the death of Frishkorn:
“Earlier this week, we lost a respected, longtime member of the American Airlines family who tested positive for COVID-19. Paul Frishkorn joined us as a flight attendant in 1997 and was based in Philadelphia.”
“Over the years he built a reputation as a consummate professional who was honored as one of American’s Flight Service Champions twice for his excellent service to our customers. He was also a knowledgeable benefits consultant and servant leader for his colleagues through his work with the Association of Flight Attendants while at US Airways and later, with the APFA.”
“Our hearts go out to Paul’s loved ones, many of whom work for American. We are working directly with them to ensure they are cared for during this extraordinarily difficult time. He will be missed by the customers he cared for and everyone at American who worked with him.”
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