A packed Virgin Australia flight from the Gold Coast to Sydney.
A packed Virgin Australia flight from the Gold Coast to Sydney.

'Ridiculous': Passenger's shock over packed flights

SO much for social distancing - this is 'Virgin' on the ridiculous.

A Gold Coast man who caught a Virgin Australia flight from Coolangatta to Sydney this week was shocked to find his plane packed.

Evan Stray flew to the Harbour City on Sunday for two days of sales meetings.

Upon boarding, he captured a photo of a planeload of fellow passengers.

"@viriginaustralia practising your best social distancing," Mr Stray posted on Facebook.

"Every seat full not (sic) staff control when boarding & seating. Can (not) sit anywhere near this people together in a cafe or club. Guess it doesn't matter when you gotta make a dollar hey??"

When the COVID-19 crisis hit hard in April, Virgin Australia announced a new social distancing policy which blocked seats between passengers.

"While the risk of contracting coronavirus on an aircraft is deemed low, we have put in place social distancing measures on our flights for the health and safety of our passengers and crew who are always our number one priority," the airline's customer service boss Paul Woosnam said at the time.

A packed Virgin Australia flight from the Gold Coast to Sydney. Photo: Evan Stray
A packed Virgin Australia flight from the Gold Coast to Sydney. Photo: Evan Stray

Brisbane-based Virgin slumped into administration four days later and was last week sold to US private equity firm Bain Capital.

Passenger numbers at Gold Coast Airport plunged 99 per cent last month, with only a handful of flights compared with more than 400 a week this time last year.

Last month, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce defended his company's decision not to abide by social distancing restrictions on flights.

He said it would be 'uneconomical' to leave the middle seat in every row unfilled and would lead to skyrocketing airfares.

Qantas medical director Dr Ian Hosegood said: "Social distancing on an aircraft isn't practical the way it is in the ground."


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