Passengers slam airlines for lack of social distancing after they were crammed in ‘like sardines‘

Air passengers slam airlines for lack of social distancing after they were crammed in ‘like sardines‘ on rescue flight to UK from Turkey and BA service from Barcelona to Heathrow

Air passengers have slammed social distancing on planes, saying people are being crammed on board ‘like sardines’.

Pictures emerged showing packed trips including a BA service from Heathrow to Barcelona and a flight from Turkey.

It came as Transport Secretary suggested foreign visitors travelling to Britain could face mandatory quarantine.

One passenger on Wednesday’s BA flight said the lack of distancing measures ‘makes a complete mockery of the lockdown rules’. They added: ‘There was no requirement to wear masks. Everyone was sitting within inches of their fellow passengers.’

Personal trainer Gemma Bain, 21, revealed people were also packed on to her Pegasus Airlines flight from Turkey to Stansted on Tuesday.

She said: ‘The crew had full protective kits on but we had nothing. It was really worrying. This was an emergency rescue flight but it seemed to pay no regard to Government guidelines.’ 

There are currently no rules on in-flight social distancing.

Ministers are beginning to accept more stringent checks are needed at airports.

 Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Mr Shapps said he was ‘actively looking’ at quarantine requirements for foreign visitors, mirroring similar schemes in dozens of other countries. 

He said: ‘I think it is important that as we are seeing the numbers decrease and the rate we hope decrease… that we do ensure the sacrifices that we are asking the British people to make are matched by anybody who comes to this country.’

Airlines UK, the trade body representing carriers, has warned a 14-day quarantine requirement ‘would kill air travel’.

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye suggested in the Daily Mail last week that passengers could be checked before they enter airports. 

The uncertainty over the future of air travel is one of the main reasons why BA is warning of drastic cuts in the months to come.

Bosses are planning to lay off a quarter of staff – up to 12,000 workers.

Senior BA managers were due to be questioned on the crisis by the Commons transport committee on Wednesday. 

MPs had hoped to grill Willie Walsh, the boss of BA’s parent company IAG. However, it emerged last night that Mr Walsh has refused to attend and no other BA senior manager would take his place.

Committee chairman Huw Merriman MP accused BA of ‘seeking to avoid scrutiny’.

On the issue of crowded flights, a BA spokesman said: ‘We have taken several steps to reduce between customers and crew, and personal protective equipment is available to them.’


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