Michael O’Leary has described the latest UK government recommendations to airline passengers as “More rubbish from the department that brought you the world’s least effective quarantine.”
The Ryanair chief executive was speaking shortly after the Department for Transport (DfT) issued guidelines urging passengers to check in all baggage.
The DfT says: “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.”
The intention is to reduce the amount of standing and waiting in the airport aisle.
But Mr O’Leary told The Independent: “We’re recommending passengers do exactly the opposite: maximise carry-on bags and minimise checked-in bags. Even though, clearly, we make more money out of checked-in bags.”
On a £30 hop from Edinburgh to Dublin next Monday, Ryanair is charging £12 for a 10kg checked-in bag or £20 for a 20kg case.
“Our logic has always been that checked-in bags are handled by eight pairs of hands, from the check-in desk to the boarding gate, all the way through to the arrival airport as well – whereas a carry-on bag the passenger keeps with them at all times.
“Our passengers are well drilled. We allow half the passengers to bring two pieces of cabin baggage [for an additional charge, typically £10], and half to bring one small piece of cabin baggage.”
The Ryanair boss described the DfT as the “Department of Idiots”.
The Irish airline, which is Europe’s biggest budget carrier, has fiercely criticised the 14-day self-isolation rule for all UK arrivals, brought in on Monday by the Home Office.
A spokesperson said: “Recent bookings show how UK customers are largely ignoring this useless visitor quarantine as they book in their thousands to holiday destinations in July and August”.
The Independent has asked the DfT for a response.