A family whose flight was canceled by easyJet were wrongly told five times there was no alternative route to the airport they were due to fly home to, The Independent can reveal.
After the original flight was cancelled, the group was automatically booked to fly the next day to another UK airport. When they challenged the airline and tried to assert their right to a different flight under European air passenger rights rules, the easyJet call center repeatedly denied their legitimate request.
Hannah and Richard Bicknell, along with their 18-month-old child, were due to fly home from Faro in Portugal to Manchester Airport in early July. But just over two weeks later they were told the original flight had been canceled and they were booked the following day to fly to Liverpool.
Britain’s biggest low-cost airline has made hundreds of cancellations as it struggles with insufficient resources.
This week, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reminded airlines of their obligations regarding air passenger rights rules. Under these rules, easyJet should have made clear the family’s right to be re-booked on a competing airline, at easyJet’s expense, on the same day as the original flight.
Yet the carrier’s call center made the completely unsubstantiated claim that since they had been notified of the cancellation more than two weeks in advance, the right to be re-booked did not apply. . Mr Bicknell has repeatedly raised his legal right to an alternative flight with Jet2, but has been told no less than five times that he was wrong.
In fact, the only difference made by notifying passengers more than two weeks in advance is that they are not entitled to cash compensation.
Ms Bicknell then contacted The Independentsaying, “It’s not okay for us to go back to the wrong airport, where our car and baby seat won’t be parked.
“Also, we don’t want to come home a day late from vacation, for professional purposes.”
On the call, Mr Bicknell was offered the choice only of a refund, voucher or another easyJet flight – including one to Gatwick, 200 miles away. “We have unfortunately already requested the refund, so that we can book another flight home with Jet2,” Ms Bicknell said.
An easyJet spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation of Mr Bicknell’s flight from Faro to Manchester. Passengers on canceled flights are entitled to a voucher or refund or free transfer, including on other airlines, if no other easyJet flight is available within 24 hours.
This is at odds with the CAA’s view that a same-day alternative should always be offered.
The easyJet spokesman continued: “However, in the circumstances of this case, our officers should have cleared a flight on another carrier, regardless of the flight being canceled outside of 14 days, in accordance with our policy, we so we took that back. with our team and apologize for any frustration this has caused.
“We understand the couple have now taken out a refund to pay for their alternative flight.”
The misrepresentation came two days after easyJet assured MPs on the Business Select Committee that it complied with air passenger rights rules.