LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, some local travelers are warning others about the dangers and hassles of traveling right now.
Susan Bauer of Longmeadow spoke to Western Mass News by Facetime said if she knew what was going to happen on her vacation to Aruba, she would have stayed home.
"All stores are closed, everything is closing here after I get off this call I have to go to the grocery store to make sure we have enough food to last us until Sunday in case everything closes," Bauer explained.
Her family left for the island on March 15, and at the time, she said they thought it was the right move.
"Honestly we felt safer coming here because they had no cases, so we’re like we’re going someplace where they haven’t been affected, no travel bans were imposed on the Caribbean because they had no cases so we felt safer coming here," Bauer noted.
Bauer said when she left for Aruba, the island had zero cases of the coronavirus, but by the time her family got there...there were two cases.
She said the airline they had flown on Jet Blue, gave them 48 hours to get off the island and after that, no planes would be coming in or out.
"I understand that these are unprecedented times, I’m not expecting anyone is going to danger any of their employees, but they are the only airline that said you have 48 hours to get out of Aruba and then we’re not flying any other planes, all the other airlines, American, Delta, Winair, I've never heard of it, said don’t worry we’re not going to abandon you we’ll find a way for you to get out," Bauer explained.
Western Mass News reached out to Jet Blue, who said quote:
"In this instance, the customers decided to travel to Aruba on March 15 and were then notified on March 17 of the cancellation of their return flight based on sudden government restrictions. We operated multiple flights for the next two days from Aruba to the United States, including four flights to Boston which all had space available."
But Bauer said by the time she was notified, the flights were filling up, there were no refunds and they were so disappointed in the way Jet Blue was handling the situation...they are now returning home on delta airlines on Sunday, the earliest flight available.
Until then...they are stuck on the island.
"It is sunshine it is paradise, but everything is closing down, Aruba is amazing but they don’t want us here, they want to be safe and I can understand that, they want everybody off their island that isn’t from Aruba and I understand that," Bauer noted.
And she said she wouldn’t recommend traveling to anyone.
"I think if you’re traveling right now you have to understand we’re living in a time right now where everything changes minute to minute, hour to an hour if we had known this was going to happen we would have never flown to Aruba. This situation just gets worse and worse and worse, they’re closing more things, placing more restrictions. I think if you’re traveling you’re just asking for trouble at this point," Bauer said.