While Europe is slowly reopening and travel restrictions within the region are easing, there are still clear signs that life is certainly not ‘back to normal.’ Beyond the social distancing and face mask requirements, Italy’s civil aviation authority is prohibiting the use of overhead lockers for baggage. This policy came into effect on June 26th. According to Italian site The Local, the National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) says that this is “for health reasons”.
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To prevent aisle blockage
Apparently, this measure is being implemented to prevent aisles being blocked and crowded, as passengers scramble to load and unload their carry on baggage. This, the government says, will assist in limiting the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The following is what Alitalia has to say 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.
Meanwhile, budget carrier easyJet had this to say 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).
What else do you need to know?
Here are some key points that you should keep in mind regarding this new policy:
- As this is a rule being instituted by Italy’s civil aviation authority, it will apply to all flights flying in to and out of Italian destinations.
- This will apply to all passengers, even on long-haul flights.
- Hand luggage will be stored in the aircraft hold. For most airlines, as long as it complies with the dimensions of your ‘free carry on allowance,’ there will be no extra charge.
- Your “personal item” – often considered a purse or small backpack, will still be allowed on board, given that it fits under the seat in front of you.
Reaction to the new policy
According to The Local, Italian consumer association, Codacons is welcoming the decision, saying it would “avoid the chaos,” which sometimes occurs in cabins “when passengers place their luggage in the overhead compartments”. Codacons goes on to say, “In this area, the Italians are among the most unruly travelers in Europe, causing delays and queues which today would fuel the risk of contagion.”
“This is more nonsensical advice. The UK should stop issuing rubbish advice to passengers.” – Ryanair via Travel Weekly
While the reaction by Ryanair was towards the same policy coming from the UK as guidance, it will likely be forced to comply with its flights to Italy, as the policy in the country is a decree.
What do you think of this new policy? Is it going too far and perhaps ‘too cautious’? Or does it make sense? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.