Ryanair said today that it will ban passengers from queueing to use onboard lavatories on its flights when it resumes flights in July and will instead force people to ask permission from cabin crew to go to the toilet. The ban on queueing for the lavatory is part of a series of safety measures designed to make flying with the budget carrier as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic but Ryanair insists it will aim to sell every single seat on its flights.
Since mid-March, the Dublin-based airline has only been operating a ‘skeleton’ service of around 30 flights per day between Ireland and the UK to a number of key points in Europe. But from July 1, Ryanair hopes to resume as much as 40 per cent of its normal summer schedule with airline group chief executive Michael O’Leary saying that people are “gagging to get out”.
“We will see a surge of bookings building over the next six weeks up to July 1,” O’Leary told Reuters in a telephone interview but went he went on to denounce a mandatory 14-day home quarantine rule planned by the British government which could scupper those plans. O’Leary described the plan as “idiotic”, claiming it wasn’t based on science and would be “unenforceable and unpoliceable”.
Attempting to dictate the speed at which various countries ease travel restrictions and border rules, Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson said that after four months of lockdown “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.”
Wilson believes that as national lockdowns are slowly lifted, the loosening of restrictions will “evolve” to allow overseas summer holidays across Europe. Lufthansa has already made plans to resume flights to popular holiday destinations after seeing a surge of interest from vacation-hungry Germans.
As well as a ban on going to the lavatory without first seeking permission, Ryanair will also ask its passengers to wear face masks throughout their entire journey, including in the airport. Cabin crew will also be wearing face masks and cash will no longer be accepted for payment for onboard purchases.
Ryanair is hoping passengers will take advantage of technology to check-in online and download boarding passes to their mobile phone to avoid contact between passengers and staff. The airline has also asked passengers to bring less checked-in luggage to avoid large queues at the airport.
The airline won’t, however, block middle seats to encourage social distancing – an idea that O’Leary has long discouraged and has now described as “dead”. Instead, Ryanair will ask passengers to fill in a health declaration card in July and August only which will help governments identify passengers who might need to self-isolate.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.