Dear Delta Airlines: Thank You for Your Zika Virus Policy

Sarah Philpott

I didn’t want to call you.

I dreaded the conversation.

Instead of planning some fun vacation, I was calling to cancel my trip to the Florida Keys.

You see,  this is the THIRD time this year we’ve had to cancel a vacation.

In July, we cancelled a romantic couples anniversary trip to Mexico (36 hours before our trip we discovered my husband’s passport had expired).

In December, we cancelled a trip to Jackson Hole (25 weeks pregnant + skis + having to buy really large snow clothes just didn’t sound practical).

We’d built up quite a bit of airline credit because of all our cancellations.

So last month we decided to cash in our soon-to-be expiring airline credit for a family vacation down south. I booked four tickets to Fort Lauderdale. Our plan was to stay with my hubby’s brother’s family for a few days then take a drive to the Keys for a few days. Sun, sand, & Key Lime Pies. Absolute bliss for this pregnant mama.

Then the Zika virus hit.


Yesterday I called you to cancel our flight to Fort Lauderdale.

Even though the virus hasn’t been contracted within US soil, Miami-Dade County is now under a state of emergency. Research is developing in real time and as a precaution, South Florida is being swamped with Deet.

Did I want to spend a vacation worried about a wayward mosquito passing on a potentially lethal virus to the child in my womb?

I’m a bit embarrassed, but yes I did think it would still be fine for us to go.

I really love Key Lime Pie.

My husband, though, not a typical worrier, said we couldn’t go. Mosquitoes love me way too much.

I still said it would be fine. No worries. I’d wear long sleeves.

Then my sister-in-law, a high-up medical professional, said I shouldn’t take the risk. Too many unknowns about the virus. Would I really want to chance my child contracting microcephaly?

I sulked. I looked for research that would convince my husband that the risk was minimal.

I watched the news waiting for some new announcement for the CDC that the disease had been eradicated.

This didn’t happen.

So I went to my office and called you, Delta.

I must admit I was on the offensive. Prepared for a battle. I would not pay a cancellation fee. I would not pay a rebooking fee. You better not give me any sass.

You were messing with a pregnant woman who is being forced to cancel a sub-tropical vacation because of Zika.

But when I got on the phone with you, I merely said, “We are traveling to South Florida, and I’m pregnant.”

You know what? Delta, you didn’t even argue. You didn’t even utter the words “extra fee”. You just REFUNDED all four of our non-refundable tickets. Easy as pie.

I was speechless.

Then I told you, “I’m really bummed to be cancelling this trip.”

You know what you said, Delta?

You said, “Yes, but isn’t it great that you have the choice to keep your unborn child safe if the threat of Zika does spread to this area?”


I burst into quiet tears.

You put me in my place.

Sent me to school.

Humbled me.

I thought of the neighbor whose pregnant sister is serving as a missionary in Brazil. I thought of the 3,000 women in Colombia who are pregnant and sadly being told that abortion might be the answer. I thought of the women in El Salvador who’ve been advised not to even consider pregnancy for two years. I’ve been praying for them all.

These women don’t have a choice.

Yet here I was – sulking because I would not eat Key Lime Pie, float in the water, or watch the sunset from Mallory Square.

Selfish, much?

Delta, I appreciate you handling this Zika crisis in an ethical manner

You put the safety of my unborn child over the bottom-line.

I’ll be a customer for life.

But more than that, I appreciate you changing my perspective. Instead of being upset over the cancellation, I should be grateful that I have the opportunity to keep this little child of mine safe from potential harm.

We shouldn’t live our lives in fear, but we shouldn’t be so selfish that we put our desires above keeping our children safe.

Not even for a dip in the ocean.

Thank you for this BIG lesson in gratitude, Delta.


Sarah Philpott



Dear Delta Thank you for your Zika Virus Policy

This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media LLC.

Sarah Philpott Ph.D lives in the south east on a sprawling cattle farm where she raises her two mischievous children (with one on the way!) and is farm wife to her high school sweetheart. A former teacher, she now spends her days cleaning peanut butter & jelly off the counter, dreaming of traveling the world, hosting “get-togethers” for her family & friends, and chasing her kids around the farm. Sarah is represented by The Blythe Daniel Literary Agency. You can visit with Sarah at her All-American Mom blog where she writes about cultivating a life of down-home simplicity. She also has a passion for helping women cope with pregnancy loss.