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Ryanair boss says leaving middle seat open "Idiotic"

Michael O'Leary said he was hopeful 80% of flights could resume by October if travel restrictions are eased in July. But he said empty seats did not ensure safe social distancing and were financially unviable............. ( More...

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Terry Briggs 13
Just make sure O'Leary gets the middle seat.
Les Freed 8
And a middle finger as well.
Tim Hill 5
I am glad I do not have to fly Ryanair.
David Browett 5
This idea is actually not going to protect anyone in tightly enclosed load of passengers whatsoever, a sneeze or cough can and will travel in any direction of the enclosure of the plane six inches apart or 20 inches apart, germs will circulate the entire aircraft during even a short haul flight....... another idea should be recommended however on saying that if people dont feel safe to travel then dont travel, airlines are losing income as it is without making a flight commercially uneconomical to operate making it a pure waste of resources
Highflyer1950 8
This, From the guy who wanted to do away with seats altogether? How about a side view painted picture of O’Leary while sitting on the “crapper” on each side on all his aircraft just above the holding tank drain?
Richard Wing 4
Middle seat left open? Please make this a permanent rule for every airplane in the world. Finally some leg room and personal space. Oh, it might cost more. Ok, forget it.
John Trott 8
O'Leary is an obnixious little twerp. But he is right about this - mandating empty seats is utterly pointless in practical terms.
ron baird 4
Guess I do not need to be told NOT to fly this airline, which obviously is headed up by an idiot.
Fuhndhu 2
First. What do you do about 2-3-2, leave one of the two seats on each side empty, and 2-4-2, and 3-4-3. How many seats do you leave empty in the middle 4? And husband and wife with child. Not allowed to sit together? The idea hasn't been thought through.
Second. By the time flights resume, there will be enough tests available for every passenger to be tested. It will be part of check-in procedure.
Positive test ? No-fly.
Roger Talbot 2
I think you're probably correct on pre-flight testing, although whether a proper and accurate test can be conducted in minutes is another matter. I think it'll be more like a basic test that just ticks the box and shows the airline as jumping thorugh that particular hoop.

For social distancing, I don't think the problem you highlight will be serious. For family groups, it doesn't apply - a family of 4 could sit beside each other without issues. For others, suitable gaps could easily be left, although it might take a little longer to sort the seating.

With respect to this article, O'Blearly will go mental if he's forced to ensure families sit together without charging them! I'd like to see his meltdown for that one. ;-)
Fuhndhu 1
Air France has announced it will resume international flights in July. Trials are under way to verify the reliability of a fast test. I am assuming that they will have been completed by July.
There is another aspect. Countries may require a negative test as a condition of entry.
Take India, or African countries, many of whom have fewer than 20 cases per million. may not want to risk being contaminated by Europeans or Americans with cases in excess of 2000 per million. Popular tourist destinations such as the Seychelles, Thailand, Indonesia, Mauritius, Bahamas, all show infection rates of around 10% of European ones. They may require a pre-flight test.
John Trott 3
We know that the *actual* infection rates for Europe are, in some cases, possibly even the the majority, certain to be significantly higher than their *REPORTED* infection rates.
Therefore one would have to be very naive indeed to actually believe that the grossly unrealistic low *reported* infection rates for the countries cited in the foregoing post bare any resemblance whatever to the *actual* situation. Those countries,and very many others, simply do not possess the necessary resources to record, gather, publish or in any way to KNOW what their true infection rates are. In some cases there would also be considerable doubt as to their willingness to share that data with the rest of the world.

Taking India as just one named example:no matter what the 'statistics' presently indicate, it is beyond all reasonable belief that its *true* infection rate is as low as 20 per million. That figure is ludicrously low. No one can possibly know the rate in India's huge city slums because there is no way on earth that any testing is being done there. Nor can there be any reasonable doubt that the virus would / will spread like uncontrolled wild fire in those dense, disorganized and massively under-resourced populations.
It is extremely unlikely that there will be any great desire for outsiders to visit such countries, at least if they possess the fundamental human characteristic of preferring to live rather than to die.
It is even less likely that the *true* infection or mortality rates will EVER be known in some of those countries.
Kieran Ryan 1
Use dogs to snif out fever and covid (trials currently taking place) passengers.
I agree with Mr. O’Leary and other posts that limiting the capacity on an airplane will do nothing to protect passengers from viruses. It’s a gimmick to lure ignorant people back. Sick passengers will not self regulate themselves so it is logical that some sort of pre security health screening will eventually be added.
bbabis 3
Environmental systems on aircraft is far different than static room spaces. 6' makes no difference on an aircraft. If you're between the cough or sneeze and the outflow valves, it's coming your way no matter how far. Social distancing on aircraft really is a joke and I doubt that anyone with a brain would fall for it. But I guess many have fallen for it so far. I don't know why people are suddenly afraid of getting sick. They never where before. That shows the power of hysteria powered by a complicit media. Crowded places always have been and always will be the greatest spreader of illness. If you don't like it don't go there. The elderly and medically compromised should always take precautions no matter what. At least with covid, most people never even know they got it. A tourniquet around the neck stops a nose bleed, and I'm afraid that is what we're doing.
John D 4
I got a funny lesson on environmental systems on an aircraft a few years ago when I brought a yummy aromatic dinner on board and started eating it shortly after take off.

When a flight attendant walked past me (near the front of the jet) she stopped and said, 'ah! it's you!" He went on to say they could smell it all the way in the rear and a few passengers commented that the First Class meal sure smelled good
mr babis...I respect your right to an opinion,and i do agree that being in an enclosed "tube",such as an aircraft,and having recirculated air,is hardly "social distancing"..blocking middle seats from use has long been a request of passengers,so the "social distancing" is the perfect business idea to promote kudos from people who are or will travel at this time..there is a real reason for concern about covid 19, because at present there is no vaccine for it,and it is proving to be carried asymptomtically, as well as to not just attack the elderly or compromised persons,but people of all ages from babies to those in their 20s-50s..were this a common flu bug where we all could get a yearly flu shot and be done with it,that would be great,but its not..ccaution and education are important..
John Trott 1
mary susan watkins ... I respecxt your right to an opinion.
But, your "reply" to Bill Babbis doesnt seem to express any opinion related to the topic header "Ryanair boss says leaving middle seats open is idiotic."
I think he is correct - it is utterly pointless."Iddiotic" is strong but appropriate.
Are you actually suggesting that empty middle seats will have any positive effect whatsoever?
Do you actually have an opinion of Mr O'Leary's statement?
Terry Briggs 3
You need to follow the story of the 60 year-old man in Marion, Ohio who had earlier posted to Facebook that covid-19 was a hoax. He later died from it. It's not just getting sick.
bbabis 2
I don't think anyone here has called it a hoax Terry. I'm saying that it's always a dangerous world out there and right now it's a micro percentage more dangerous and the media has people afraid to take a breath of fresh air or go out to get some sunshine which will both help eradicate the virus. In time there will be medicine to treat and/or prevent future outbreaks, but to wait until then to go out of the house is insane. Coming up with ideas to help mitigate the risk for the most vulnerable right now is the best course of action and leaving the middle row open on aircraft just doesn't accomplish that.
alex hidveghy -3
Maybe drink disinfectant then. Trump said it would be OK,’ll do a number on yoyr lungs and make my numbers look good. There’s always snake oil if you can’t think of anything else. It’s not the media that is espousing all these miracle cures...
Elisa J 2
The uninformed will think this is a viable solution, but most of us know that it isn't. Removing a seat or requiring passengers to leave the middle seat empty is a ruse and will do nothing to stem transmission of an airborne virus.
M20ExecDriver 2
He's just another delusional airline executive. Air travel will NEVER be what it was. The glory days of air travel are over.
pagheca 2
I hate the guy but he is not completely wrong. Several studies shown that the COVID-19 virus spread with air flow well behind one or two safety distance considered accepted so that solution is useless and dangerous.
Greg Zelna 1
I would disagree a bit as a critical thinking free person. The closer proximity you are, the greater the chance of being infected, period. 3 mucous membrane points of entry, eyes, nose, mouth. The density of airborne particles is not the only mode of transmission however that density will vary greatly with distance so separation does help (Some). IF you are close enough to be touching the same crap, etc you also have a great risk of direct transmission- not just 'air particles'. Remember back in the cattle car section, you are sharing armrests, climbing across each other to get to the head, touching common seat backs, touching overhead bin latches and doors, touching the head door latch and everything inside it, etc... Fewer people at a greater distance apart, is less chance of transmission from all means. Its perfectly feasible economically, if we all pay more $ per seat, right ? Will it work, no, the consumer 'demands' a $400 cross country flight.
Yehuda Mond 1
It is indeed idiotic. First of all - hello! - you're in a closed ventilation system. Secondly, one is still within 6 feet (an arbitrary number at best) of the people in front, behind, and lateral to you. The middle seat closure is cute. Plus, if you're travelling with family you can still use the middle seat...
Greg Zelna 1
His statement is a bit knee jerk. An extreme example, you could fly that AC with one PAX onboard quite profitably, if said PAX paid enough for that seat (say, $60,000). Now we scale that to say 200 seats, 1/3 of which are left empty, you can still make money if those 2/3 occupied seats pay enough extra or you are subsidized in some other fashion for those empty seats. The AC will operate a good deal more efficiently, also. There have been quite a few flights where I would have rather gladly have purchased that seat next to mine to keep some obnoxious, personal space invading clod from occupying it.....!
crk112 1
Leaving the middle seat open gives no real benefit beyond making the idiots feel better.
I think we know who the idiot is. O'Leary can build another mansion and buy three new limos when the virus has been tamed.
paul gilpin -3
that's what this whole thing has been about from the beginning.
john doe 1
Sounds right to me. At least he's not some oily smooth-talking SOB trying to manage our perceptions.

And what's with the tiny soundbite "quotes"? If the guy's picture and name are in the headline, I expect to hear what he has to say, not just BBC's carefully selected snippets. Quoting people out of context sells lots of papers, I suppose.
Roger Talbot 0
O'Bleary really does think we're all stupid, don't find things out for ourselves, and just continues trying to scam his customers.

"He said Europe should instead follow Asia and bring in more effective measures, such as forcing people to wear masks on transport and have their temperatures checked at airports."

Air Asia just announce that they're soon to restart operations, and will be limited to 70% capacity.

Yes, O'Bleary, you SHOULD follow Asia!
ToddBaldwin3 -5
Let’s try to be adults and leave the grade school name calling for the mass media.
Greg S 0
He's obviously correct. The "middle seat empty" policy is just designed to lure traveler's back into the airplanes. The 2 meter rule does not apply when you are sitting in a small enclosed space for an hour+. Mandatory face masks is a must, as that might actually help. We'll find about by trial and error what works, not by incorrectly applying rules developed for other situations.
Roger Talbot 1
2m means 2m - I've not seen any exceptions for sitting down, as opposed to standing up.
hornet135 1
He meant that a 2m rule on airplanes doesn’t really accomplish anything.
Two large passengers will fit comfortably onto 3 seats. Leave booking the middle seat out even after the virus has been contained. I would hate to be in the middle between 2 x 250 pounders.
So true. Whats next every other row This pandemic will end 6-12 months seems reasonable

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

john doe 2
Uh... you're saying that at some point in the future, nobody will have disposable income any more? [scratches head]
strickerje 1
Or only Baby Boomers travel anywhere? Now I'm genuinely curious what on Earth this guy is talking about.
bbabis -1
He’s planning on socialism.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]


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