'It was such a panic': A woman's hangover triggered hysteria about coronavirus aboard her flight to Heathrow Airport

'It was such a panic': A woman's hangover triggered hysteria about coronavirus aboard her flight to Heathrow Airport
julia walentin coronavirus hangover
  • Julia Walentin and Dina Oetterli spent their layover in Singapore drinking. Without enough food or rest, though, Walentin ended up with a terrible hangover.
  • By asking a steward for medicine to help with her headache, however, Walentin sparked fears that she had contracted coronavirus while vacationing in Cambodia.
  • After that, Walentin was told to wear a mask and lie down. Other flight passengers were moved at least one row away from the women and Walentin underwent temperature checks every 30 minutes during the "horrendous" 14-hour flight, she told the Sun.
  • Upon arrival at Heathrow Airport, the friends were whisked away and quarantined for 14 days. They passed their time drinking Coronas, Walentin's Instagram Stories showed.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Heading home from a Cambodian holiday, Julia Walentin and her friend, Dina Oetterli, spent their layover in Singapore barely eating, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough sleep.


The trifecta ensured that the 26-year-old was in bad shape on February 25 when the duo arrived at Singapore's Changi Airport for their flight to Heathrow Airport, Walentin told the Sun.

"We had a really heavy night of drinking," she said. "We were up until 2 a.m. I had been throwing up in the hotel because I hadn't eaten and just had way too much [to drink]".

Walentin continued: "We had to be at the airport at 6 a.m., so we both had hardly any sleep and I felt so hungover. Just traveling to the airport was bad enough."

It is unclear what airline the friends were traveling on.


Originally from Sweden but currently living in South London, Walentin asked cabin crew for some acetaminophen to alleviate her alcohol-induced headache. Her request triggered a coronavirus maelstrom.

"I asked a steward if they had any paracetamol and maybe somewhere to lie down, thinking they might put me in business class, and they asked me if I felt unwell," Walentin told the Sun.

'It was horrendous on a 14-hour flight'

Despite assuring the crew members that she and her friend were merely "tired and hungover," all the flight's passengers were moved one row away from them and Walentin was told to wear a mask and lie down, she shared on Instagram Stories. Her temperature was also checked every 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Oetterli was grilled about the places she and Walentin had visited as well as all their symptoms, Walentin told the Sun.

Crew members informed Walentin that doctors at Heathrow had been notified of her condition and were expecting their arrival.


"It was horrendous on a 14-hour flight - it felt more like 40," she said. "It was such a panic."

Walentin, Oetterli and everyone on the plane were required to fill out health questionnaires and share information about where they were traveling from and any symptoms they had experienced.

The women "just wanted to go home," Walentin said, but there was no escaping protocol which the cabin crew was following "very seriously."

Airline passengers 'thought I had coronavirus'

"I was so embarrassed," she told the Sun. "Everyone was annoyed that they had been held up on the plane. They knew it was because of me. People were putting on double masks around me because they thought I had coronavirus."

Upon touching down in Heathrow, Walentin and Oetterli were the last to be allowed off the flight and they were escorted by doctors and first responders in hazmat suits, she said on Instagram. The pair was then transported to a quarantine facility on a bus that they had to themselves, and their explanations of simply being hungover once again fell on deaf ears.


"The doctor asked me if I could self-isolate at home but I said I lived with others so they said I couldn't go back," Walentin recalled. "They took us to a place near the airport that looked like it was under construction with scaffolding on the outside."

Once quarantined, the women were ordered to keep their room's blinds shut and not tell their "family and friends too much." They were asked to only say that they were "fine and would be home soon," Walentin recalled.

Quarantined with Corona

The facility that Walentin didn't know much else about resembled "a ghost town," she said, with medics clad in "spacesuits."

"We felt like we were in 'The Walking Dead,'" she said.

Walentin and Oetterli picked a novel way to kill time while under quarantine for 14 days.


"We ordered room service - with Corona to drink," she said.

Walentin shared a series of Instagram stories, and one noted that her housemates vacated their apartment so she was able to return home where she and Oetterli were left in isolation.