A BRITISH couple who flew back to the UK from Cuba, via Madrid, are considering legal action over ‘shocking’ coronavirus protocols by the airline Iberia, it can be revealed.
The pair, who we are not naming at their request, are worried they may have picked up the virus after a pilot ordered two passengers to put on protective masks.
Helpless travellers – including many Britons – were left to pray when the captain of Tuesday’s IB6622 flight from Havana to Madrid announced that two ill passengers were on board.
He insisted that the duo – who had allegedly left a hospital in the Cuban capital to board the flight – wear masks immediately.
Passengers seated near them were also told to don protective masks about six hours into the nine-hour flight.
Speaking exclusively to the Olive Press, the British wife, 53, who lives in Oxfordshire, said: “The captain suddenly announced there were some ill people on board and decided to follow the coronavirus protocol.
“He issued everyone sitting close to them with masks too, and ordered that just one member of the cabin crew would look after them.”
The British passenger, who was travelling with her salesman husband, 60, added: “A stewardess told us that the ill passengers were being treated for suspected coronavirus in Havana. But somehow, they had left the hospital and boarded our flight.”
She added: “The first anyone knew was when the Cuban authorities contacted Iberia to tell them, which was when they took action.”
She continued: “As you can imagine, there were a lot of terrified people, especially those near to the ill passengers.
“Luckily, we were nearer the front of the plane and they were near the back.”
Incredibly, the drama continued when the plane reached Madrid.
“When we landed we were met by around 40 armed police along with two or three others in full protective clothing and hoods who boarded the plane to deal with the ill passengers.”
She continued: “We were then marched off the plane by the stairs one at a time to the authorities who took our names, addresses, passport numbers and phone numbers.
“They then only allowed about 20 of us onto a coach, which was driven with a police escort, to the back of Terminal 4.”
And this is where the protocols ended.
“We were then simply left to wander into the airport. We weren’t greeted by anyone, so all of us went our own way! We didn’t go through any passport control.”
The couple – who have a holiday home in Malaga – caught their connecting flight back to London Heathrow and have since had no more information about the incident.
An Iberia spokesperson refused to confirm the incident, but admitted the couple would be contacted by the health authorities if ‘it was needed’.
He said: “Since the beginning of the coronavirus extension, we have been coordinating with the health authorities to apply protocols and provide all the information they require and only health authorities can report this.
“The passenger has commented in her message that the health authorities took their names, address, passport number and phone number before they left the plane, so we suppose they will contact them if they need it.”