Ryanair Used Buckets of Hot Water to De-Ice a Plane

Jan 13, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Keeping track of Ryanair on social media normally leads to posts from disgruntled passengers about baggage fees, nightmarish diversions and questionable customer service. But one recent post may have the airline, and an Italian airport, in some seriously hot water.

A post that hit social media last week shows ground crew at Brindisi Airport (BDS) in Southern Italy de-icing an airplane using a set of stairs and buckets of hot water.


Anyone who has flown out of a chilly destination during wintry conditions would be familiar with the standard de-icing procedure. It normally involves boom trucks spraying down the control surfaces of the plane with a mix of chemicals to remove ice and keep it from reforming for a period of time.

Winter Travel Delay: an airplane getting de-iced at the airport during a blizzard snowstorm.

According to The Sun, the airport operator said, “The captain was aware and satisfied. The procedure was to remove a little residual snow. It was a perfectly safe procedure.” The airport operators added that guidelines say, “buckets of hot water at 60 [degrees Celsius] are allowed when the air temperature is 0 [degrees Celsius].”

But a former de-icer who worked at Philadelphia International (PHL) told TPG that, “regardless of whether or not it’s legal, it’s not a good idea. The risk is that the water they’re using to de-ice could become ice itself.”

Ultimately, it’s the decision of the captain to determine if the aircraft is safe to fly. But Ryanair’s unorthodox approach to dealing with ice on this plane has lead Italy’s Civil Aviation Authority to send inspectors to Brindisi, according to a local news site based in the Italian port city, to find out exactly what happened.

Even tiny amounts of ice built up on control surfaces can have devastating effects on the aerodynamic characteristics of an aircraft. There are normally clearly defined guidelines on chemical mixtures and time limits between deicing operations for aircraft, based on outside temperatures. Most airlines spend a lot of time and money developing their de-icing programs.

Featured image by Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images.

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/31/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.99% - 26.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$125
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.