Melbourne Airport passenger slams Covid social-distancing 'fail'

Nadine Carroll
·2-min read

A Reddit user has posted video of a crowded baggage claim area at Melbourne Airport where passengers from four separate incoming flights were forced to collect their luggage from one baggage carousel, making it difficult to social distance.

In the video, filmed at Melbourne Domestic Airport over the weekend, passengers on flights incoming from Sydney, Canberra, Perth and Cairns were directed to collect their bag from one carousel, which is managed by Qantas, while the rest of the area remained empty.

"Maybe use all the available carousels to attempt to thin out the crowd?" user @harshdozer wrote along with the video.

Passengers crowd at Melbourne Airport trying to claim their luggage
Passengers from four flights were forced to collect baggage from one carousel at Melbourne Airport while others remained empty. Source: Reddit

"In Singapore and Qatar they don’t even operate the carousels anymore, they line the luggage up and you produce your baggage receipt and they bring it to you. This is just woeful management, pure and simple."

The user suggested that despite the crowded sight at baggage claim being familiar, he assumed that during a pandemic, protocols would have changed to accommodate social distancing.

Qantas encourages customers to social distance

A Qantas spokesperson said in a statement that "Qantas and Melbourne Airport make regular passenger announcements regarding social distancing within the terminal".

"There are markers on the floor around the baggage carousel," the spokesperson said.

"We also provide all customers with masks on-board the aircraft.

"In this case, there was only one baggage carousel available but the video shows customers were attempting to social distance as much as possible."

The Melbourne Airport website states staff have made an effort to minimise crowding, but makes no mention of protocol at baggage claim.

“We have placed visual aids on the ground in busy areas such as security screening and check-in, plus we have carefully spaced out seating to support physical distancing,” the website reads.

Melbourne only recently lifted its snap lockdown and announced three new local cases on Friday connected to the Holiday Inn cluster, which has grown to 22.

There are 25 active Covid cases in Victoria as the state readies itself to start rolling out the Covid-19 vaccination.

The federal government has allocated 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Victoria in the first week of the vaccination program.

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