Easyjet: an incredibly BAD airline

I don’t usually post negative reports like this on the website, but I am doing it as it is relevant to anyone planning on travelling in Europe using a ‘budget airline’ like Easyjet (aka Sleazyjet). Think again.

Having been living in Spain now for nearly 8 months, I was really looking forwards to the first visit from my sister Hannah. We’d begun planning her four days here months ago, back in late October or Early November, organising work schedules, sightseeing tours etc.

With her due to arrive at 7.45pm last Saturday 13th February, by 6pm I was in the house preparing a tasty meal for her arrival and about to leave for the airport.

That was when things took a turn for the ‘Easyjet worst’.

EasyJet cancellations - Easyjet review

I began receiving a series of text messages from my sister in Gatwick airport saying things like “I’ve been queuing 3 hours at Easyjet check-in, they say all their systems are down throughout Europe”…so I began checking the Easyjet website (nothing), and the Gatwick and Barcelona airport websites (nothing).

Cutting a long series of anxious texts short, having got them on the plane about 7 hours late, they left them on the plane for hours – no one knowing anything about what was going on, and finally turfed them off at about 10pm.

In Hannah’s own words:

“The pilot updated us first saying the bags were being put on and that he was just waiting for paperwork etc. second to tell us that some people had chosen to get off so we were having to get their bags (although we saw no one get off and no noise of baggage being removed from the hold).

Then he updated us telling us that they were in talks with head office (and via one of the air hostesses who also had no idea what was going on…we were told that she thought the captain was in talks to head office regarding negotiating a day off in lieu for the cabin staff who were now working into their day off (because of the original delay). That came from her but not sure she knew much)

He then came onto to tell us that the flight was cancelled due to some sort of very vague baggage problem…load of rubbish if you ask me. He told us to go to the ‘Menzies aviation group’ desk in the arrivals hall to rebook on another flight. Got there and there were about 300 people and absolutely no one at the desk. When someone did arrive there was basically a rugby scrum to get to them…the guy said absolutely nothing except rebook online and he handed out about 20 pieces of paper with customer rights on it….I didn’t get one!”

There was noone in the airport to help them, noone to tell them where to get their bags, how to re-book, or how to get a refund. In the end, instead of enjoying the first hours of her holiday in Barcelona, my sister was left wondering alone around Gatwick airport in tears on a Saturday night, then was forced to get the train back into London alone late at night, followed by a night bus home (as she got back too late for the tube).

Staff overtime request causes cancellation

The long and short of it is that there never was a Europe wide system failure (200+ other Easyjet flights took off fine from Gatwick that day), but what happened was almost certainly this: due to Easyjet’s sheer incompetence there was a problem with check-in. The delay meant that Easyjet (being a cheap and very crap airline) lost a few of its takeoff slots at Gatwick. This meant a few of the planes were delayed even further, by which point the Easyjet staff began complaining to their superiors about overtime pay. When their wishes were refused, they refused to fly the plane, and they and all the airport staff walked out of the airport, leaving the passengers stranded late at night.

The next day she tried to change her flight for another one, but Easyjet weren’t answering their customer services line (does this surprise you?), and the only flight available was flying to Spain on Wednesday, the day her return flight was bringing her back!

So, in future (and especially because Easyjet did it to ME too in January when I tried to get back to Spain) I will certainly pay a bit more and fly with British Airways or Iberia.

Claiming compensation

One final thing, did you know that in the EU, if an airline company like Easyjet gets you to your destination more than two hours late you are entitled to a minimum of 250 Euros compensation? Rather than try and pursue Sleazyjet through the courts, we’re going to put in a claim through this company EUclaim.

And my sister will be trying again in late April – her next available holiday. She won’t be flying Easyjet :-).

English teaching podcast on front of iTunes Spain!

This is just a quick update as we’re gearing up for the launch of our first IVOZI podcast workbook series here in Barcelona, and are working flat out. We’ve recorded & edited 9 out of 10 podcasts and will be releasing a pack of 10 accompanying workbooks in the next week or so.

We had some rather pleasant news yesterday, that iTunes in Spain are featuring our podcast on the front page of iTunes in a “New and noteworthy” category (see the little red square below). Must be the woman we put on the cover 😉

itunes podcast ingles

Sex education in Spain – “pleasure is in your own hands”

Masturbation - SpainThis fabulous story came out on the BBC website today…with the title “Spanish ‘self love’ lessons row”.

In brief, the government of the region of Extremadura in Spain has launched a campaign based on the slogan “pleasure is in your own hands“, which gives advice on masturbation.

Of course, with the large Roman Catholic population in Spain, it has got a few people’s backs up. Pilar Rahola, a columnist in the Barcelona-based La Vanguardia newspaper, wrote:

“Extremadura should be pleased with itself…It may have the most unemployed young people in Spain but they will be the best at masturbation.”

Full Story on the BBC Website

Spain sets world record for wind energy

Earlier this week, the weather in Barcelona was very, very windy. Little did we know at the time, but as we chattered our teeth in unison, Spain was about to set a world first.

Spanish wind energy - wind farm near Tarifa

From 3am until 8am on Sunday 8th November 2009, more than 50% of Spain’s electricity was generated by wind – according to the Spanish Wind Energy Association, “For several moments, wind energy had the honor of delivering up to 53 percent of total needs”.

With high winds gusting across much of the country, Spain’s huge network of windfarms jointly poured the equivalent of 11 nuclear power stations’ worth of electricity into the national grid.

Driving around Andalucia with my family over the last couple of years, we’ve often found ourselves in discussions about whether the wind farms are actually more of a blight on the environment (at least aesthetically) than a solution to the problem of generating energy sustainably.

Are we generating sustainable energy at the expense of our pristine landscapes forever?

Read more

Stormy weather breaks Spanish wind energy record
Spain’s windfarms set new national record for electricity generation
Huertas Solares (In Spanish – Ben and Marina discuss the use of fields of solar panels to overcome energy problems in Spain, but wonder about the future of our landscapes )

New English teaching website IVOZI launched!

Aprender Ingles con IVOZIAfter a couple of months of fairly strenuous work since I arrived back in Spain, we’ve finally launched the initial version of our new English teaching website Ingles.fm.

Geared towards the Spanish speaking world, we will over the next few months be creating a range of audio-visual products to compliment the Tools of Fluency package that James – my partner in Ingles.fm – has already put together.

It would be really appreciated if you could help us out by becoming a Facebook fan of ours, following us on Twitter, or buying one of our fabulous products ;-).

For those interested in the technical side of things, we’ve built the site in WordPress (2.8.5) using a modified version of the Thesis WordPress Theme from DIYthemes. Thesis takes the already fabulous framework of WordPress and turns it into a Ferrari ‘blogging’ platform, with great support for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) ‘out of the box’.

Apart from this we are using Paypal for payment processing and E-Junkie to manage our Digital Downloads and password protection.

Finally, we’ve put in an affiliate system so that anyone can join up, place links and banners on their blog/website to ivozi.com, and make 40% commission per sale. Please support us, and sign up today! It takes 5-10 mins of your time and you can even make money by posting an occasional link to our website from the likes of Facebook or MySpace. Find out how here.

Thanks!

Video: Windsurfing at Valdevaqueros beach, Tarifa, Spain

This is a short video compilation of clips taken at Valdevaqueros beach just outside Tarifa in Andalucia in the South of Spain – the principal destination in Europe for Kitesurfing and Windsurfing. It was a VERY windy day (force 8-9 for the sailors amongst you), which perhaps doesn’t come across as much as it should from the video. The windy girl is my sister, Laura, and the blob at the end is my mother. My, how she loved that wind…