Passengers travelling to or from Italy by air will no longer be able to use the overhead baggage lockers in planes after the Italian Civil Aviation Authority decided they were a health risk .
The new rule results from a government decree , prompted by fears of further spreading the novel coronavirus , that specifies travellers may only board with a bag small enough to slide under the seat in front .
The intention is to prevent close contact between passengers and limit movement in aircraft cabins.
Enac said that passengers would not need to pay a supplement to put their suitcases in the hold .
An Italian consumer association, Codacons , welcomed the decision on Friday , saying it would “avoid the chaos ” which sometimes occurs in the cabins “when passengers place their luggage in the overhead compartments ”.
“In this area , the Italians are among the most unruly travellers in Europe , causing delays and queues which today would fuel the risk of contagion ,” the association said .
Italy was the first country in Europe to be hit by the coronavirus which has so far killed over 34 ,600 people in the country .