Birmingham Airport passenger ‘caught Covid after cramming like sardines’ on shuttle bus

A passenger at Birmingham airport has claimed that he ‘almost certainly caught Covid after being stuck like a sardine’ on a shuttle bus.

Phil Reid, 66, skipped his easy jet flight but said it was laughable that signs thanking people for respecting social distancing were put up on board.

Read more: New omicron symptoms surpass cough and fever as most common symptoms of COVID

The consulting engineer, who was traveling home with his wife after spending Christmas with family in Edinburgh, said he holds corporations “in total contempt for the way they endanger health”.

Birmingham Airport, which runs buses between the plans and the terminal, said it has halved the number of customers it allows to disembark its buses to allow for social distancing.

Mr Reid, from Woodstock, Oxfordshire, told BirminghamLive: “They packed us up like sardines. There must have been at least 40 people on board.

Phil Reid

“We were one of the first to board the bus because we were at the front of the plane. As more and more people kept gathering, we were pushed aside.

“I saw these (social distancing) notices were posted on the side of the bus. Some other people were muttering ‘what a joke – they all sign up and they take us on these buses.’

“I can see the funny side, but I also got very angry. We were just stuck there. You were clearly walking back and forth when the bus was going – you can’t stay away from people.”

Mr Reid said he had gone to see his son over Christmas and confirmed there were no Covid cases in the family before or after.

He claims that he contracted COVID “almost certainly” during the bus journey at around 9.20 pm on 29 December.

“I didn’t have any more contact after that. I started having panic attacks on New Year’s Eve and then I tested positive a few days later, so it basically all lines up,” he said.

Thankfully, Mr Reid has experienced mild COVID symptoms and may leave quarantine soon.

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social distancing poster on shuttle bus

But in an online complaint to the airport, Mr Reid wrote: “I started the new year with the great news of testing positive for COVID 19.

“Given my possible transition points, the firm preferred easy jet flight from Edinburgh and the transfer bus between the terminal building at Birmingham Airport at the end of December (29).

“The attached picture shows the way we were packed like sardines, the second picture shows signs pasted around the walls of the bus, which made some of us laugh.

“I hold corporations in utter contempt for the way they put our health at risk while most individuals do their best to protect themselves and others.

“Why can’t Birmingham airport transport more? And why can’t easyJet use air bridges?”

An airport spokesman told BirminghamLive: “Birmingham Airport has halved the number of customers allowed to disembark its buses since the start of COVID-19 to allow customers to social distance.

“Passengers are asked to continue to wear face coverings, as they have done for the duration of their flight to Birmingham.

“The airline’s handling agent notifies the bus driver once the new reduced capacity is reached so that everyone on board can maintain social distancing.”

A spokesman for Swissport, which oversees ground crew handling, said: “We can confirm that Swissport provides airport ground and cargo handling services at Birmingham Airport, but does not operate buses.”

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