Britain’s biggest low-cost airline has apologized after a passenger promised compensation for volunteering to leave an overbooked flight, her claim twice denied.
Jo Webb has been booked to fly from Bristol Airport to Faro in Portugal in June. As passengers waited to board, easyJet staff revealed that a smaller than expected plane was being used.
Mrs. Webb said The Independent“They waited for boarding to tell us that the type of plane had changed and asked 30 volunteers to be pushed around.
“I thought about it, but I had friends waiting in Faro, so I decided not to volunteer.”
The smaller aircraft, seating 150 passengers instead of 180, was deployed because a cabin crew member was unavailable. Using an Airbus A319 with the rear row of seats removed, easyJet can only deploy three cabin crew members instead of four.
Ms Webb continued: ‘We got on board. Settled, all good – until the crew realized there was an extra passenger on board with no seat.
“Cue long talks. Someone would have to be offloaded – and the longer this process took, the more likely the crew would be within their legal limits, in terms of time, and the entire flight would therefore be cancelled.
By then, around 10 p.m., the flight was already heavily delayed, with many families with young children on board.
“Being a solo traveler with no checked baggage, I decided to do what’s decent,” Ms Webb said.
“I received a round of applause from the entire plane as I disembarked.
“The warm glow lasted until I came back to the door to be told I had to fend for myself.
“I had to spend the night in a hotel in Bristol and make my own way to Gatwick the next day, losing one day of my six-day holiday.”
Ms Webb then applied online for her personal expenses as well as cash compensation, but was told: ‘You were not denied boarding for business or operational reasons.
“Those are the only two conditions for which you can request a refund. As such, we have rejected your request that you sent to us. »
Ms. Webb tried again, and this time was told: “You have opted for the free flight change option and made the changes for the next day. Unfortunately, we are unable to reimburse you for expenses incurred for this reason.
She said The Independent“I’m livid. Words fail me. So I have at least £250 out of my pocket, I’ve lost 24 hours of my holiday and my claim is rejected?
“I personally avoided not only the cancellation of my own flight, but also the flight home from Faro.
“That’s a lot of passengers who would have claimed compensation.
“But instead of thanking me, easyJet is rejecting my request.”
After The Independent raised Ms Webb’s case, an easyJet spokesman said: “Unfortunately some passengers were unable to travel on flight EZY6009 from Bristol to Faro on June 1 as the aircraft which was to operate the flight had to be downgraded to a smaller one due to a crew member being unable to operate.
“In these circumstances, we always endeavor to seek volunteers in advance who are willing to not travel in exchange for compensation and other travel arrangements and would like to thank passengers for their volunteering.
“Unfortunately, an isolated error by the agent at the airport meant that Ms Webb’s booking was not updated to verify that she had volunteered and that her right to compensation was not therefore not visible to our client team.
“We are therefore in contact with her to advise her further on the process of receiving her reimbursement, compensation and expenses. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience caused. »
“Downgrading” planes is not the usual cause of overbooking, which is selling more tickets than there are seats available on the plane. But the same EU rules on air passenger rights to overbooking also apply to such cases, requiring airlines to seek volunteers before anyone is offloaded against their will.
Friday broadcaster Mhairi Stuart tweeted a video applause on an easyJet flight when two volunteers left an overbooked plane.
The BBC Radio Scotland The presenter said: ‘So two people were taken off the plane and then those two volunteered to go instead. Promised a flight tomorrow.