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Airline probes coronavirus outbreak after flight of ‘covidiots’

September 2, 2020 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

Sixteen passengers on the same flight have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus – with almost 200 others facing two weeks’ isolation – as their fellow travellers stand accused of either refusing to wear masks or wearing them sloppily.

A BBC report on Tui flight TOM6215 from the Greek island of Zante to Cardiff, Wales, quoted a traveller who said the plane was full of “covidiots” and some cabin crew who “couldn’t care less”.  (A “covidiot” is someone who ignores warnings regarding public health or safety during the current pandemic.)

Zante is the Italian name for the Greek Island of Zakynthos, a popular package tourism destination from Europe.

The 193 passengers and crew aboard flight TOM6215 on 25 August are being asked to self-isolate for two weeks. Health authorities believe seven people from three different parties were potentially infectious while aboard the aircraft.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper quoted Steve Freudmann, chairman of Britain’s Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT), calling for rules to be tightened because current measures mean cabin crew can do “very little” to get passengers to wear facemasks.

Many airlines insist that passengers wear masks. In-flight fights have broken out over the issue (see: In-flight mask brawls – IATA warns passengers of penalties)

Cabin crew find it difficult to constantly monitor whether passengers are wearing masks correctly – rather than under the chin or dangling from an ear while they eat, drink or talk. Unite, the union for aviation workers in Britain and Ireland, says airline staff should not have to enforce mask rules.

A Tui spokesman said passengers were informed before and during flight TOM6215 that they had to wear masks throughout.

A passenger on that flight, Stephanie Whitfield, told the BBC: “This flight was a debacle. The chap next to me had his mask around his neck. Not only did the airline not pull him up on it, they gave him a free drink when he said he knew a member of the crew.

“Loads of people were taking their masks off and wandering up and down the aisles to talk to others.”

A male passenger told the BBC the problem started before the flight. At Zante Airport, he said staff members handled passengers’ phones to check boarding passes. It was “a free-for-all to get on the plane” and once aboard, people were switching seats, he said.

Tui said its crew were trained to the highest standards and safety was a priority. It was concerned by the claims and had begun a full investigation.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently appealed to all travellers to wear face covering during the travel journey for the safety of all passengers and crew during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wearing face coverings is a key recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) guidance for safe operations during the pandemic, as developed jointly with the World Health Organisation and governments.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. David Astley says:

    Meanwhile in Asia many airlines require a negative Covid test certificate before boarding with flight attendants wearing full personal protective gear including plastic coats, face masks and full face shields, and make it compulsory for passengers to wear their face masks at all times except when eating. This is a global pandemic so it is time for airlines to be coming up with consistent approaches so that passengers know what to expect when boarding an aircraft. The covidiots travelling to Wales have not only inconvenienced hundreds of passengers, they may have signed death warrant for some older relatives of some of those who were on board.

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