Call for passengers to be fined or even banned from flying for refusing to wear face masks on planes

FACE masks should be made compulsory on planes, according to travel chiefs, after an outbreak on a TUI flight from Greece led to all passengers being forced to quarantine.

They say travellers who fail to do so should face fines or even travel bans.

Sixteen passengers tested positive on the Zante to Cardiff flight earlier this week, with 193 travellers forced to self-isolate for two weeks after landing.

There are currently no laws enforcing face coverings on flights, with it at the airline's discretion.

EasyJet have made them mandatory on all flights, with passengers refused boarding without them, along with Ryanair and Jet2.

However cabin crew have been left unable to enforce the rules on a flight, along with social distancing.

Steve Freudmann, chairman of the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT), warned it was "not fair" to leave it up to the crew to mandate.

He told the Telegraph: "It would give everybody more confidence if indeed it was made compulsory."

"It would certainly help the staff placed in a very difficult position at the moment.

“When you have a non-compliant passenger, what can you do? We want to do our best, but we need the Government to lead on this one."

Unite, the union for aviation workers, agreed, adding: "The UK government and the civil aviation authorities must promote and enforce a clear policy on the wearing of face coverings and masks for airline passengers.

"Passengers should be informed of such a policy, and that refusal to abide by this policy will incur denied boarding, removal from a flight, or a financial penalty and even a travel ban."

TUI passenger Stephanie Whitfield, who was on the Zante flight which has forced 193 people to self-isolate, complained people were not wearing their face masks properly on the flight with crew failing to help.

She told the BBC: "The 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.

"As soon as the flight landed, a load of people took their masks off immediately. The flight was full of selfish 'covidiots' and an inept crew who couldn't care less."

A number of flights have faced disruption after passengers refused to wear face masks on board.

Police were forced to board an easyJet flight in Jersey after an "aggressive" male passenger failed to wear his face covering.

Two drunk Brits were arrested in Spain after ignoring the pilots demands to wear face masks.

Other countries have much stricter rules – France only allows disposable surgical masks on flights, with reusable ones not allowed.

This is the same for Italian flights as well.

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