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Ryanair and Wizz Air ‘ignoring coronavirus safety guidelines on planes’ says Which?

RYANAIR and Wizz Air have been accused of ignoring coronavirus safety guidelines on their planes, ahead of plans to restart the majority of flights again next month.

Consumer group Which? has slammed both carriers for continuing to sell food and drink, while Ryanair was also criticised for encouraging customers to use cabin bags.

Ryanair hopes to restore 40 per cent of its flights next month
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Ryanair hopes to restore 40 per cent of its flights next monthCredit: Reuters

The Department for Transport (DfT) last week updated its guidance to suggest airlines offer a reduced food and drink service and limit the sale of duty-free goods.

It's also asking airlines to tell passengers to use check-in bags only if they can, to reduce the amount of people walking around cabins.

Which? says the advice is in place to stop the spread of coronavirus by limiting interaction with staff and passengers.

But Ryanair has dismissed the advice from the DfT as “rubbish”, and argued that it won't “starve or dehydrate our customers on two or three hour flights”.

It added that it only sells pre-packed food and drink items.

Wizz Air restarted flights to a number of destinations in May
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Wizz Air restarted flights to a number of destinations in MayCredit: Reuters

A Ryanair spokesperson told The Sun the airline is encouraging extra cabin bags because checked-in bags "pass through eight different sets of hands and significantly increase the risk of coronavirus".

Earlier this month, the airline's boss Michael O'Leary told The Independent that he wanted passengers to do "exactly the opposite" of what the DfT guidelines say.

He said: "We’re recommending passengers do exactly the opposite: maximise carry-on bags and minimise checked-in bags."

Ryanair is currently operating a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe, although it hopes to restore 40 per cent of flights by July 1.

A spokesperson said: "Which?’s false claim that 'Ryanair is putting profits before safety' is wrong because Ryanair charges more for checked-in bags (which we are actively discouraging) than we do for carry-on."

Meanwhile, Wizz Air is still serving a full trolley service of food and drink - but the airline argues that everything is pre-packed and contactless payments are encouraged.

Passengers and crew are required to wear face masks, with crew also required to wear gloves, it says.

Wizz Air restarted a select number of flights to destinations including Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria on May 1.

A spokesperson told The Sun: "Wizz Air has been leading the industry re-start for almost two months with its stringent health and hygiene measures, ensuring that passengers and crew are protected, and that the airline fully meets all local and international health guidelines.  

"Wizz Air’s enhanced hygiene measures ensure the most sanitary conditions on board and reduce any non-essential physical contact."

In contrast, rivals easyJet and British Airways have stopped on-board sales, although BA is still handing out free water, snacks and tea and coffee.

Norwegian has also said it won’t offer any food or drink on board flights when it resumes service on July 1.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? travel, said: “It’s incredibly concerning that these airlines would put the health of their passengers and their own crew at risk by ignoring important government safety guidelines.

“It’s essential that airlines take the risks of infection seriously to give passengers the confidence to fly again once the FCO’s ban on non-essential travel is lifted.

“As neither of these airlines do well in our customer satisfaction surveys, we suggest passengers use other carriers that they can trust to put their safety over making a few extra quid.”

Mr O'Leary has also dismissed the current 14-day quarantine restriction for travellers.

Ryanair, along with easyJet and British Airways, have launched legal action over the quarantine rules.

Tourism leaders fear it could further devastate the travel industry.

Ryanair boss slams 14-day quarantine rules as a 'shambles' - and warns it won't be enforced
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