UK passengers have been urged to check in their hand luggage in a series of guidelines released by the government yesterday.
The guidelines are designed to minimise coronavirus flying risks and says all luggage should be checked in, passengers should wear face masks at the airport and face-to-face contact with staff should be minimised.
The guidance also advises passengers to remain seated as much as possible on flights and to wash their hands regularly after touching surfaces.
Despite the release of the new guidelines, the Foreign Office still advises against all non-essential travel but there are talks of possible air bridges with other countries which could be in place ‘within weeks’.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The government’s advice currently remains to avoid all non-essential travel, but today we are taking the necessary steps to ensure a framework is in place for the aviation industry to bounce back when it is safe for restrictions on travel to be lifted.”
Airlines have been hit hard by the pandemic with BA making up to 12,000 redundancies and Virgin Atlantic cutting 3,000 jobs and closing its operations at Gatwick. Ryanair has criticised the new guidelines, calling the hand luggage advice ‘nonsensical’, stating that hand luggage is only held by the passenger whereas checked in luggage is handled by multiple people.
The advice from the government comes as more flights are set to resume from the UK next week , and easyJet will restart its domestic services from Gatwick.
On Monday, the government introduced a mandatory two-week quarantine for all passengers arriving to the UK, but airlines are encouraging the government to drop this as it will deter many passengers from flying this summer.