Budget airline Ryanair has been forced to deny accusations by its passengers that it no longer provides soap in its plane toilets. According to reports, cabin crew said soap was a "non-essential" item – despite serving food on most services.

Dozens of passengers have now come forward on social media and claimed that staff asked them to provide their own handwash. Some allege that it is part of measures to cut costs at the notoriously frugal carrier.

Duncan Jackson took to Twitter to express his anger and wrote: "Staff tell us no soap onboard to wash hands! Ryanair; are you too cheap to be hygienic? Food service anyone? #washyourhands #vomit".

Kay Leedham-Green‏ said: "Sooo... the air hostess on @Ryanair tells me "we no longer stock the toilets with soap" and they're serving food."

Ed Rowlands added: "So you've run out of again...when I run out of I go the shop and spend a quid on some - [I] spent over 100quid for the flight."

A Ryanair spokesperson strongly denied that the airline does not provide soap in its restrooms: "Please be advised that this is completely untrue. Soap on all Ryanair flights is always replenished as necessary."

Louise Thompson tweeted: "Ryanair would do well to apologise for soap-gate, fix the problem & move on, rather than accusing me & others of lying - why would we?!"

Ryanair has endured a difficult 2017 following a number of internal issues. In September it was forced to cancel 20,000 flights which has affected 700,000 individual bookings. Ryanair blamed "operational issues" after it failed to effectively manage its roster of pilots. The disruption to services will continue into 2018.

Michael O'Leary also issued an apology to pilots following threats of industrial action over pay and conditions. O'Leary had previously branded his pilots as "lazy" which angered some staff.

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A Ryanair plane at Dublin airport. Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images