Italy bans hand luggage
As if travelling isn’t already full of enough new rules and regulations, Italy has now decided to bring in its own rules. Why EASA, the European Aviation safety body can’t just have a common set of rules I don’t know! Italy has now banned passengers from using overhead bins on flights to and from the country.
A Prime Ministerial Decree has set out new COVID-19 protection measures based on advice from the Ministry of Health. Italy is predicted to be one of the countries that UK tourists will be able to visit from 6 July following the government’s new air bridge scheme.
Italy is trying to encourage social distancing on aircraft. However, most airlines have now moved away fro this. In the US American Airlines has set a date to restart booking to full capacity. If airlines choose not to enforce social distancing on their flights then they must follow other measures designed to reduce the risk. This includes the mandatory use of face masks and a ban on taking hand luggage that can’t fit under the seat in front.
So how does this prevent coronavirus? The idea is that it will reduce the amount of time people are in close proximity trying to get luggage into or out of overhead lockers. Also during the flight, often people will stand up to get something out of the overhead locker. Given that most airlines are boarding row by row from the back, I can’t see that the extra time to put stuff in lockers versus under the seat is particularly significant. It could simply be managed by having a system to call people by both row and seat. So for example back three rows in the window seats, then the middle seats, etc. The move is not likely to go down well with low-cost airlines like Ryanair that depend on high levels of hand baggage only to keep costs down. Italy has said it expects airlines t check hand baggage for free. I can’t see Ryanair doing that!
Emirates A380 due to return to London
During the last few months the majority of airlines have grounded their larger aircraft such as the A380 and B747. With Dubai set to reopen to tourists on 7 July, it seems that Emirates are banking on a swift return of passengers. The A380 will return to both London and Paris to Dubai from 15 July. The airline’s fleet of 115 A380s has been grounded since March.
This is very good news as Emirates has widely varying business class seats. The older seats on the B777 are set in a 2-3-2 configuration with very little privacy or division between seats. On the A380 it is a very different story, with seats that have plenty of privacy between them. These are in a 1-2-1 configuration. You can read my review here.