As the international travel and tourism industry picks up slightly for summer, following slow easing of lockdown restrictions throughout the world, evidence of the ‘new normal’ is slowly beginning to sweep over the Aviation Industry. In a move earlier this week, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) announced additional steps beyond facemasks and social distancing to help curb the risk of Coronavirus as travellers begin to travel once again on airliners; The announcement includes the prohibition of overhead lockers for the usage of carry-on luggage from June 26. Following on from our previous look at steps taken by Italy to reintroduce flights, we now have more information on how overhead baggage rules will be enforced.
The Rules… in more detail
Whilst on the surface this is merely described as being for “health reasons”, the Italian Government clarified that it was the prevention of aisle blockage that they intended to prohibit, and removing luggage from overhead bins added unnecessary time to disembarkation and boarding. Flag carrier, Alitalia, released the following statement on its website:
“From 26 June, following the provision of ENAC, to protect the health of passengers, the use of overhead bins for the storage of hand baggage will no longer be allowed on all flights operated in Italy. Passengers will only be permitted to bring on board small baggage, that can be placed under their seat such as, for example, handbags, backpacks, laptop cases not exceeding 36x45x20 cm. We invite passengers to deliver their baggage to the airport at the Check-in / Drop-off counter, to be placed in the hold, free of charge.”
UK based LCC easyJet also released a statement on its website:
“Following a requirement from Italian regulatory authorities, passengers travelling into or out of Italian airports will not be permitted to place luggage into the overhead lockers. Passengers will be allowed to bring on one small bag only, no larger than 45cm x 36cm x 20cm, to fit under the seat in front. If your cabin bag is larger than this, it will not be permitted on board. Please visit the easyJet Bag Drop before you pass through Security, and we will place it in the aircraft hold for free, provided it is within your standard cabin bag allowance (56cm x 45cm x 25cm).”
It appears that whilst these measures are in place, baggage that fits underneath the seat, such as a handbag, briefcase or backpack, are permitted onboard, with other slightly lager items being stored in the hold for free*. Its also important to note that these measures will be active on all flights in or out of Italian destinations, and will be applicable to all lengths of flights including short, medium and long-haul.
Has there been a positive reaction?
Despite a positive reaction from Italian Consumer Organisation Codacons, there has been some skepticism about the rule. Dublin-based LCC Ryanair labelled the guidance as “rubbish” in an interview with Travel Weekly stating:
“This is more nonsensical advice. The UK should stop issuing rubbish advice to passengers.”
So what are your thoughts on this new policy? Let us know in the comments. Experienced it for yourself? Get in touch: [email protected]