"It's going to look worse than it is," said the flight attendant.
She was on a U.S. Airways flight from Philadelphia to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on Wednesday and early on sought to reassure passengers after a man on the plane allegedly joked that he could have Ebola, according to local media, citing airport officials. Passengers were held on the plane after it landed in Punta Cana "for some time," according to the airline.
"I think the man that has said this is an idiot. I'll say that straight out," the flight attendant went on to say.
Moments later, four people in huge, full hazmat gear boarded the plane for a few minutes and eventually led the man out.
"I was just kidding," he said. "I ain't from Africa."
American Airlines, which owns U.S. Airways, said in a statement that it was strictly following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols regarding the Ebola virus and that the flight was "checked by officials and cleared."
"We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused but the safety of our customers and employees is our first priority," the statement said.