This is a post I never thought I’d need to write, if I’m honest. I’ve always been a defender of budget airlines, the sort of person who will fly with anyone because there’s nothing wrong with any of them. Yes, the budget ones are a bit more no frills-things like printing your own boarding passes etc, but that’s fine with me. Until I flew Easyjet, that is. Here’s what happened when we made the mistake of flying with Easyjet. This is a long story, you might want to grab a cuppa at this point. Trust me, though, if you ever fly-you’ll want to read how Easyjet treat their customers!
Our flight was due to depart from Liverpool John Lennon Airport at 7pm on Sunday 4th September. We arrived at the airport around three hours early, as suggested, to be told there was a 1 and a half hour delay.Okay, that’s annoying, but we’ll survive. We checked in, put the one suitcase into the hold, took our hand luggage and sailed through security with barely any problems (well, once they’d swabbed my laptop that is!)
Because we had so much time, we decided to sit and have a drink, I wrote Monday’s post on things to do if your plane is delayed, my Mum and Dad went for a walk. Then my Dad came over to me, as I pressed schedule on the post. ‘Laura, you’d better pack up, I think we need to go and see what’s going on, they’ve just cancelled our plane’. And THAT, dear readers, is where the fun started.
We joined the queue at the gate as instructed. Stood there for a while, no one telling us anything. Mum’s phone beeped with a notification from Easyjet that the flight was cancelled (as she checked in online, it let her know via the app) stating ‘operational reasons’. This was more information than we had from any of the Easyjet ground staff, so we let the people around us know this.
We were then sent back through arrivals (having to go through passport control despite never having left Liverpool) to collect our bags from the plane. We walked PAST the bags piled up outside as we did this. We then had to wait at the luggage carosel to college our suitcase. Once done, we were told to go to the Easyjet desk at departures.
Forming a queue there (apart from a few who decided to push in and were swiftly sent back) we were told there was a Ryanair flight leaving at 8:30 and that we could pay £85 per person to get on that, which Easyjet would reimburse later. There were something like 80 seats left. So we all queued there. The woman who seemed to be in charge of sorting things out (who unfortunately never introduced herself or told us who she worked for) counted us and cut off the queue once the number of seats left would have been filled. She sent them back to the Easyjet desk and I believe they were put on the next day’s flight from Liverpool, or from Manchester Airport.
Meanwhile in our queue for the Ryanair flight, the poor man on the desk (Ryanair ground staff) appeared to be booking people onto the flight as quickly as he could, but there was no suggestion of bringing anyone to help him. We were well aware that time was ticking away and that we were going to struggle to all get booked onto this flight, then back to Ryanair desk to check in my suitcase, and then back through security again to have the laptop swabbed again (no objection to them doing this at all, I understand it’s a vital security measure, I just also know that the delay in having it done AGAIN could have made us miss our flight) and we did ask if someone was coming to help the poor guy out. No.
The lady then announced that Ryanair had said they would hold their plane until we could all get on it-meaning we would have time to get through. Brilliant news! I asked if security had been made aware and I received a very arsey reply-it’s not security’s business. Well, I’ve had a similar problem before and about 50 of us had to run through an airport to catch a plane, through no fault of our own. Security HAD been made aware, and when we ran through and joined the back of a very long queue, they swiftly opened a new gate to get us through on time. I would’ve thought Liverpool would be as organised (the other airport was Jose Marti in Cuba, who are well known for how laid back they are!) but no, Liverpool talks to you like you’re an idiot when you check that people are communicating. Silly me!
We got to the front of the Ryanair queue, finally. (I’d just like to reiterate that this post is in no way slating Ryanair) and we were told…that they’d changed their minds and were closing the desk NOW. As in, we weren’t getting on the plane. They did let the family behind us on-a heavily pregnant lady, her mum and her young daughter. I’m glad, as the poor thing looked shattered and she needed that seat more than we did.
Anyway, the next step was back to the Easyjet desk. The queue who had been behind us in the Ryanair queue had all rushed over, so we ended up at the back of the queue. Again. Funnily enough, we weren’t thrilled about that at this point. Quite why no one was managing the queue, I don’t know. When we got to the front we were told that the next Liverpool to Palma flight was full, they could put us on one at 7:50pm the next day from Gatwick. GATWICK. That southern airport, 243 miles away. Apparently there were no closer flights than that. Due to our circumstances, ie that it’s our first family holiday in years and we’d all struggled to get the same week off work, it was go on this holiday or nothing, so we had no choice but to accept the Gatwick flight. Easyjet put us up in the Hilton Hotel next to Liverpool Airport for the night, and put us all on a coach down to Gatwick the following morning.
At the hotel, we were given a set menu with 4 different meals we could choose from for our tea, on Easyjet. There were two Pizzas, a pasta, and something else I can’t remember. I have IBS, there’s nothing I could eat from that list that A) I like and B) wouldn’t have caused me stomach pains. There was also nothing on the hotel menu. We had no transport to get anywhere else and I couldn’t get back to Departures to buy food. Luckily, the Hilton made me some food that wasn’t on the menu, and we paid for this ourselves (and will be claiming this from Easyjet!) we WERE given breakfast the next morning, and it’s a good job really, as when we got on the coach and Mum asked what they were doing about our lunch, they told us they weren’t giving us lunch as we’d had breakfast. Erm… okay, Easyjet. Bearing in mind that the four of us were supposed to be at an All Inclusive Hotel from Sunday night, and have brought very minimal spending money with us for this reason-we suddenly had to feed ourselves lunch and tea because Easyjet cancelled our flight? Oh, and our holiday was an Easyjet package holiday, meaning we’d booked the full thing through them. Brilliant.
We received an e-mail once in the hotel room on the Sunday evening, the night of our cancelled flight, from Easyjet’s call centre, asking us to ring. We called them and they said they’d been trying to get hold of us since 8pm. Well-we had no missed calls, no texts or e-mails until the one we responded to straight away, and from 8pm had been either stood WITH Easyjet or in the hotel 300 yards away that THEY put us in. They could’ve got us, if they’d actually tried. The call centre were ringing to talk about booking us onto a replacement flight. They had no idea we’d been booked onto one already-Easyjet CANNOT communicate with themselves AT ALL. The call centre also suggested they’d let the hotel know that we were still coming but would be a day late (we had already done this as we didn’t want to lose our carefully selected hotel-between us, my family are quite fussy about what area we want to be in, what facilities we need etc and so we’d spent weeks finding the right hotel for us) so we went to sleep thinking we were pretty alright. Well, guess again! The saga definitely wouldn’t be complete here, this IS Easyjet after all.
We got the coach down to Gatwick without a hitch. Nice clean, modern coach, nice drivers, we had a double seat each so could spread out a little-the best that the journey could possibly have been. That was Ogden’s Coaches and they deserve a big thumbs up for helping out as without them we’d still be stood at Liverpool Airport, no doubt.
We arrived at Gatwick about an hour too early to check in for our flight (because some of the others on our coach were on the earlier flight) that’s fine, no problem there. The Easyjet lady helping with the automated check in checked out suitcase straight in anyway, said she’d heard about our flight, and expressed sympathy at what had happened. It wasn’t her fault, we didn’t have a go at her, but as the face of Easyjet she acted politely and professionally and was kind and helpful-like they all should be. I REALLY wish I’d thought to get her name so I could mention her by name in here. Sorry, lovely Gatwick lady!
We went through to departures and did the usual airport stuff-had a drink, bought a tolerone and a book, tried on sunglasses etc etc-and then realised our flight was delayed. Sigh. Half an hour, and we did board at the right time (half an hour after we should have done) so that’s progress. Sadly before we boarded we had a text from Easyjet telling us our hotel couldn’t hold our booking so they’d dumped us somewhere else. More to come on that later!
When we got to the front of the queue to board they said right, we’ve run out of cabin room, the hand luggage of everyone else needs to go in the hold. Us, and the couple behind us also from our Liverpool flight, were not best pleased. SURELY Easyjet could’ve communicated and said look lets make sure these guys can have their bags, lets just make this easy for them now, as we’ve fucked them over so much already. Nope. I had to unpack my laptop because it wasn’t allowed in the hold, and my camera, and my handbag. So then I had too much baggage to fit under my feet, but no room in the overhead storage either. That was a fun one!
When the plane took off (late, later than the delay expected-is anyone surprised by this by now?) me and my family sat and worked out what food we wanted. Bearing in mind they’d not fed us since breakfast, we’d had to find cash for some rubbish services food in the 20 minute stop we had on the coach. We narrowed it down to one particular sandwich, which was the least bad thing on the menu. We were sat right at the back of the plane and that’s where the food and drink trolley was, so hey at least we’d be served first. (We’d paid to prebook the back row on the original flight and they’d transferred this over to the new flight) interestingly we were sharing the back row with two others who’d had a flight cancelled on them, theirs was Southampton (can Easyjet actually manage to fly a plane first time?This remains to be seen) Imagine our surprise (okay we weren’t at all surprised) that the trolley sailed past us and started at the beginning of the plane. Wow.
When it arrived with us, my Dad ordered our food-only to be told that they had no actual food as the oven was broken (we wanted a sandwich, albeit a hot one, but they didn’t think to offer us it cold…) but we could have some massively overpriced Pringles. At this point I asked the Stewardess (Rachel, who we were unfortunate enough to be ‘looked after’ by) what we were supposed to do, given that we’d been travelling for 33 hours at this point due to them cancelling our plane, making false promises re Ryanair, faffing about so much-oh and they’d not fed us since breakfast and it was now 9pm and we were starving. Her response, as expected from Easyjet, was ‘that’s not my fault, don’t shout at me’. I didn’t shout at her, I’m not that kind of person. I cried, at this point. Big sobs, from frustration, tiredness, hunger, stress, and anxiety. All I wanted was some food. Actually, just to be treated with a bit of kindness and respect. ‘I’m so sorry to hear that, let me see if there’s anything we can manage for you’-would that have been so hard?
We arrived at Palma airport, grabbed our bags (which of course took longer as we had to wait for 4 rather than 1) and got straight into a taxi to our hotel-that bit, at least, ran smoothly. We got checked in (we’d been convinced the hotel wouldn’t be expecting us because lets face it, Easyjet!) and went to bed. I’m writing this post on the Tuesday, and the situation we’re in as as follows:
- We’ve lost a day and a night of our holiday, including food and drink we’ve paid for via all inclusive but haven’t been able to access
- We’ve had to pay for food in a services that we shouldn’t have had to, and in the airport hotel on Sunday night
- We’ve been put in a hotel with no entertainment in the evening, so we’ll have to go out on a night meaning drinks bills we shouldn’t have had (the original hotel was chosen BECAUSE of it’s entertainment)
- We’ve been put in a hotel that is a long walk from the marina, not next to like we booked
- We’ve been put in a hotel with no spa, so our planned (and much needed now, frankly!) massages can’t happen
- We’re worried about flying home-me and my brother are due back at work on Monday morning and how do we know Easyjet will get us there? (Due to land Sunday lunchtime so SHOULD be fine, but then we should’ve been on that original plane)
- We’ve been spoken to like dirt and pissed about from beginning to end.
And to top it all off, between Gatwick and Palma someone has broken my suitcase. Awesome.
I’ll be sending this to Easyjet because I’m not a tosser, and I’ll give them the right of a reply. So there may be an amendment on this post, or a future post. Or they could surprise us all, and do nothing at all useful. Anyone want to take a bet?
*It’s worth noting that under EU regulations they have to pay us a sum of money as compensation. This is something they HAVE to do by law, not that they are choosing to do in an attempt to fix this. I’m hoping they WILL attempt to fix this. Your move, Easyjet. (Updated to say they EVENTUALLY paid us what they had to under EU law. This was way later than they legally have to, and was as a result of my Mum spending hours of her time chasing and chasing them. They’re yet to reimburse us for the food in the services that they said they would.
**A year and a half later I can confirm that despite my efforts to send them this post and give them right of reply, Easyjet maintain that they don’t have e-mail. In 2018, a massive company doesn’t have e-mail. That’s interesing, isn’t it? Brilliantly though, everytime I tweet out this post, they tweet me asking if they can help. So I ask for an e-mail address to send this post to, and they tell me they don’t have one. It would be pretty funny if it wasn’t so ridiculous.
***It’s also worth noting that I still avoid flying Easyjet and have in fact arranged a few trips with friends around ‘we can’t fly Easyjet because they’re crap’. And this post is my third most read on the entire blog, so clearly I’m not the only one who thinks that way.
Have you ever had a terrible Easyjet experience? Let’s have a therapy session, let me know in the comments!