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’.
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.
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 :-).