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Ryanair has not exactly been shy in recent weeks about sharing its view of the UK Government’s handling of COVID-19, for example, describing the 14 day quarantine for passengers arriving in the UK as “utterly useless and a total waste of time”.
Yesterday, the Government released a new set of wide-ranging guidance to airlines and airports for “safer aviation” and it’s fair to say that Ryanair is not impressed.
One key point of contention is over the safest way for passengers to bring their bags onboard – is it best for them to be checked into the hold, or put into overhead lockers.
The Government advice states that:
“You are strongly encouraged to check in baggage to the aircraft hold and minimise any hand baggage. This will speed up boarding and disembarking and minimise the risk of transmission.”
Reuters reports that Ryanair intends to advise passengers to do the exact opposite:
“Ryanair rejected new British government guidance for passengers to check in all luggage including hand bags, saying on Thursday it would instead recommend that passengers minimise checked-in luggage…
…Europe’s biggest low-cost airline said that unlike checked-in luggage, cabin bags are handled only by the passenger which limits any risk of physical contact with other people.”
It is isn’t often that you see businesses publicly arguing that Government health advice is wrong and making it clear that they intend to do the opposite. Successful lobbying is usually a more nuanced process that takes place with quiet words in private.
I’ll leave it to the scientists (or the comments section below anyway!) to argue over which baggage strategy is actually safer, but a cynic may wonder if perhaps Ryanair might be slightly influenced by commercial factors…