Ryanair Passenger Removed From Stansted Flight With COVID-19

Drama unfolded onboard a Ryanair flight at London Stansted on Wednesday. Fire and rescue personnel boarded the aircraft wearing full PPE to remove a passenger who had tested positive for COVID-19.

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A passenger was removed from a Ryanair flight this week, after tested positive for COVID-19. Photo: Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we fly. For example, temperature checks and mandatory masks are becoming the new normal. However, while efforts are made to ensure that the chance of virus transmission on aircraft is kept to a minimum, the possibility that an infected passenger could board a plane remains a risk. This turned out to be the case on Wednesday; thankfully the issue seems to have been resolved without incident.

So, what happened?

FR 588 is a daily Ryanair flight operated between the airline’s London Stansted hub and Pisa in Italy. While the plane typically runs without incident, on Wednesday, it was around an hour and a half late departing from London Stansted.

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Before the flight departed from the gate, a male passenger onboard the flight received a text message stating that he had tested positive for COVID-19. As such, the flight was unable to depart. The passenger was seated towards the front of the cabin, according to footage shared on social media.

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Fire and rescue personnel in hazmat suits responded to remove the passenger. Photo: Getty Images

To deal with the situation, the airport fire and rescue service was dispatched to the scene to remove the infected passenger and his companion. However, this wasn’t the end of the story. The aircraft was further delayed as the area that had been occupied by the passenger needed to be disinfected before departure.

In a statement to Simple Flying, a Ryanair spokesperson said,

“Since this passenger & his companion had complied fully with Ryanair health regulations, they were both wearing masks at all times at Stansted Airport and for the very short period (less than 10 mins) they were seated on the aircraft prior to departure. There was little if any risk of C19 transmission to other passengers or crew members as all of whom were also wearing face masks at all times.”

Could this happen again?

Everybody hopes that somebody with COVID-19 won’t be on their flight. However, given the number of passengers now flying, it is entirely possible that such an episode could be repeated. Thankfully, with the additional measures being carried out by airlines, in addition to the way air flows around the cabin, the chances of airborne COVID-19 transmission on an aircraft are thought to be minimal.

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Earlier this year, JetBlue banned a passenger for life after boarding a flight while awaiting COVID test results. Photo: Getty Images

Interestingly, the passenger seemingly received the text with his test result having boarded the plane. Given that he was expecting a COVID-19 test result, one could argue that he should not have boarded the flight in the first place. In March, Simple Flying reported that a passenger had received a lifetime ban from JetBlue for boarding while awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test.

What do you make of this incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!