Passenger slams 'covidiots' on Zante to Cardiff flight linked to 16 coronavirus cases

There are 16 cases of Covid-19 linked to people who took Tui flight 6215 to Cardiff, Public Health Wales has said. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A flight from the Greek island of Zante on which almost 200 passengers and crew were told to self-isolate after coronavirus cases were confirmed was “full of selfish ‘covidiots’ and an inept crew”, a traveller has said.

There are 16 cases of Covid-19 linked to people who took Tui flight 6215 to Cardiff, Public Health Wales has said.

Officials know that seven of those cases were infectious or potentially infectious whilst on board.

Stephanie Whitfield was on the flight on August 25 and described how passengers were not wearing masks correctly and just seemed to “disregard the rules”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Many passengers didn’t seem to know how to wear the masks correctly or they seemed to just disregard the rules really.

“Lots of the people were wearing the masks underneath their noses or even underneath their chins.

“They were taking the masks off to talk to friends and they were going up and down the aisles to talk to their friends without their masks on.”


Passengers wearing face masks arrive at Heathrow Airport Credit: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

Asked about how the crew dealt with this, Ms Whitfield said she noticed a crew member ask one woman to put her mask on.

“But the vast majority of people weren’t being spoken to, and there was a chap sat next to me who had his mask around his chin for the full flight, and the stewardess was talking to him and she didn’t say anything to him,” she said.

Ms Whitfield also told the BBC: “The flight was full of selfish ‘covidiots’ and an inept crew who couldn’t care less.”

Commenting on whether she was surprised to hear about the cases following the flight, she said: “No, we weren’t surprised at all.”

Before arriving back in Cardiff, she and her husband decided to self-isolate, and have been doing so since before the news about the flight emerged.

She said they have mild symptoms and are hoping they just have a cold, but are taking a test on Tuesday.

Dr Gwen Lowe, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales said there have been about 30 cases in Wales in the last week that have come back from Zante, confirmed in people who were on different flights and staying in different locations.

The safety and well-being of passengers and crew is our highest priority and we operate all flights in line with European Union Aviation Safety Agency guidelines

Tui

Dr Lowe told Today that officials are in the process of reaching all 193 people on the Tui flight.

She said it is “very obvious” from the work carried out in Wales that the majority of people do not catch the virus from strangers.

“Yes, you can be unlucky, and you can get it from a random stranger or from a super spreader, but the vast majority of people get it from their workmates, their work buddies, their family, and their friends,” she said.

Asked about whether airlines should be more proactive about telling people to wear masks, Dr Lowe said wearing face coverings “may help” but pointed out that they are an “informal measure”, adding that it is difficult for airlines to police.

Global Covid-19 cases and deaths Credit: PA Graphics

“If somebody is determined not to wear a mask, people often don’t know how to wear masks properly, they touch them a lot, they wear them below their nose, they take them off to eat.

“And if you’ve got Covid symptoms, that will spread Covid symptoms quite rapidly through a confined space such as aircraft,” she said.

A spokesperson for Tui said: “The health and safety of passengers is always our priority and we are concerned to hear of Mrs Whitfield’s claims.

“Our crew are trained to the highest standards and in line with European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidelines.

“Passengers are informed prior to travel and via PA announcements on the flight that they have to wear masks throughout and are not allowed to move around the cabin.

“Masks can only be removed when consuming food and drink. A full investigation is now under way as these concerns weren’t reported during the flight or before today.”