There’s little doubt that flying is going to look a little different in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of these changes are a little grim. Alcohol being banned on flights, changes to in-flight entertainment and meals, and amenities such as blanket and pillows no longer being provided by some airlines are not announcements that fill us with joy.
But the news that the middle seat was being sidelined for the time being? That was met with two enthusiastic thumbs up.
The latest change to in-flight policy comes from Italy, where they have banned the use of the overhead luggage compartment. Some people – aka those who have spent large chunks of their adult life waiting for someone to pack and unpack bags while they hold up a plane load of passengers – will be thrilled by this announcement.
Last week Italy’s National Civil Aviation Authority announced they are banning the use of overhead luggage compartments. The new protocol aims to encourage social distancing and prevent crowds from clogging aisles while passengers place and retrieve overhead items upon boarding and disembarking.
The ban applies to all flights arriving and departing from Italian airports, even those that are long-haul international.
Instead, passengers will be able to check their cabin baggage at no extra cost.
Alitalia, Italy’s national airline, outlines the new policy on their website.
“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.”
It remains to be seen whether other airlines around the globe follow suit.