Flights serving food onboard could pose risk to passengers warns expert

Flights are gradually returning to the skies and holidays resuming following Boris Johnson’s announcement of quarantine-free travel to some destinations, and a change to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) travel advice. Though the flight experience will certainly be a changed one, with a number of rules and regulations for passengers and crew, there are some instances which still make social distancing near-impossible.

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Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, travel journalist and expert Simon Calder, explained to a concerned passenger that boarding a plane is “not a socially distanced experience”.

This is particularly true for airlines who are serving food to passengers during the flight.

The worried holidaymaker contacted BBC Breakfast and explained that on a recent flight to Palma, Majorca, the face mask rule remained in place until the plane was in the air.

However, once the good service began, travellers began to remove their face masks so that they could eat and drink.

Mr Calder revealed there are no set guidelines for food and drink services, and the type of service onboard varies greatly from airline to airline.

“It is all different depending on what airline you are referring to,” said the expert.

“I imagine this one is Ryanair which is even selling scratch cards, can you believe?

“Aer Lingus and easyJet are simply giving you a glass of water if you ask for one, not serving any food or drinks.

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“British Airways gives you a bag with crisps, a biscuit and a bottle of water in, which obviously you have to remove your mask for.”

He added, though, that regardless of whether the airline is offering food or not, social distancing is not achievable onboard an aircraft.

“Anybody who thinks there is anything remotely compatible between social distancing and passenger aviation is, I’m afraid, completely mistaken,” he continued.

“If you do not like the idea of being in close proximity with other people who you don’t know then simply don’t go flying anywhere yet.

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“It is not a socially distanced experience.

“Particularly in my experience when you get to the airport and you are all put on a bus standing [together] for 20 minutes while you trundle round to the terminal. So, yes, it is not for the faint-hearted.”

The travel expert had previously taken a flight to France.

Following the journey, he spoke on ITV’s Lorraine and said: “I completely sympathise with people if you think social distancing and passenger aviation are compatible.

“I’m afraid that’s wrong.”

He added: “I completely sympathise with people who aren’t but I also accept that some people are going to say this is very, very irresponsible but I think we have got to get travel up and working.

“There are so many hundreds of thousands of people who work in the industry in the UK sending us abroad.

“I think its time we started to unlock and live a little.”

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