Ryanair’s Return To Service Comes With Strings Attached

Ryanair has announced its return to service plans for July onwards. The Irish low-cost carrier intends to restore 90% of its network on the 1st of July with the reintroduction of some 1,000 daily flights.

Ryanair, Return to service, health measures
Ryanair has begun to look towards a return to service in July. Photo: Ryanair

Ryanair grounded the majority of its aircraft in late March as it became clear that intra-EU travel would be difficult or undesirable for most. Since then, the carrier has only been maintaining an essential skeleton network out of Dublin and London Stansted. The former is its home, while the latter is the airline’s largest hub. However, the skeleton schedule should be replaced in a month and a half, pending several caveats.

What’s the plan?

Ryanair is planning to reactivate 40% of its schedule on the 1st of July 2020. This would see the Irish carrier operating almost 1,000 flights around Europe per day. Additionally, the resumption would mean that 90% of Ryanair’s destinations would see a recovery of service, albeit with fewer trips than the full schedule. Thanks to operating ghost flights to keep the planes serviceable, the majority of the airline’s aircraft are good to go.

Of course, the plan to resume flying comes with some catches. Firstly, its subject to governments lifting restrictions on travel within the EU. After all, there’s no point in relaunching the flights if passengers can’t fly. Additionally, Ryanair said that there would need to be proper steps taken to ensure public health at airports.

Ryanair CO2
Passengers will be required to wear face coverings throughout their journey. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Flying won’t be the same for passengers

Passengers won’t get the experience that they’re used to next time they travel. Ryanair is introducing a wave of new measures to try and reduce transmission between passengers onboard. The airline looks as though it will follow IATA guidelines favoring face coverings over social distancing


Before flying, Ryanair is encouraging passengers to check-in online, and opt for priority boarding with two items of hand baggage instead of checking bags in. This negates the need for most passengers to interact with airport check-in staff.

Ryanair is also calling for passengers to be temperature screened at the airport entrance and turned away if they have a fever. The airline has said that passengers must wear face coverings at all times in the terminal and onboard aircraft.

The Irish airline will continue to sell prepackaged snacks and drinks onboard its aircraft. However, it will only accept cashless payments. It raises the question of how you’ll eat the snack if you must wear your face mask at all times on the plane.

Ryanair, Return to service, health measures
The airline says that a return to service will be dependant on governments lifting travel restrictions. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

No toilet queues

Ryanair has said that passengers should remain seated with their seatbelt fastened for the duration of the flight. As such, passengers will not be allowed to get up and queue for the toilet. Instead, it seems they must call a member of the cabin crew to ask for permission. These members of the crew will also be wearing masks.

Speaking about the reintroduction of flights, CEO of the main Ryanair airline, Eddie Wilson, said:

“It is important for our customers and our people that we return to some normal schedules from 1 July onwards. Governments around Europe have implemented a 4 month lockdown to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. After 4 months, it is time to get Europe flying again  so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work, and restart Europe’s tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs.”

What do you think? Are Ryanair’s new measures a step in the right direction, or far too much? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.