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Easyjet denying compensation

Liverpool, United...
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Easyjet denying compensation

I have sent this email to Easyjet, the Air traffic users council and their equivalent in Switzerland. Anything else I should do? Has anyone ever had success with something like this?

On 10th June 2010 EZY7286 Geneva to Liverpool 21:50 flight was cancelled. We were informed of this at 21:30.Easyjet complied with the EU regulation 261/2004 and put myself and my partner up in hotel and rebooked us onto EZY7286 Geneva to Liverpool 21:50 flight for 11th June 2010. This too was cancelled. Once again, this was not announced until 21:30. Again, we were given accommodation and rebooked onto EZY7286 Geneva to Liverpool 21:50 on 12th June. This DID take off, and got us back to Liverpool. However, I am firmly of the understanding that I am entitled to compensation due to the two cancellations, as detailed in EU regulation 261/2004, and also on the passenger rights handout issued to me by the FOCA at Geneva airport.

However, on ringing the customer helpline to request this, I have received no satisfaction.

I made the first call at about 14:00 on 13th June and spoke to somebody called Tom. I explained what had happened and asked about compensation.I quoted the EU regulation number. He stated I was not entitled to compensation as the 10th June EZY7286 Geneva to Liverpool 21:50 flight as that flight had not been cancelled but had in fact been "delayed" and it did eventually take off to Liverpool, albeit 49 hours late. I queried this and asked why the airport boards had classed both cancelled flights as cancellations and not as delays. Indeed, the pilot on the 12th June flight apologised to passengers on the flight who had been delayed in Geneva for 24 or indeed 48 hours due to the cancellation of the previous two flights. Tom merely repeated that the information he had stated that it was a delay and so therefore I was not entitled to compensation.

I rang Easyjet again at 14:30 and spoke this time to Colin. I gave him the reference number and he straight away agreed that it was a cancelled flight. He agreed to find out more, and duly called me back. He said he had spoken to his manager, but then said that the information he had was that the flight was cancelled due to "Technical difficulties"and so did not fall under the compensation agreement.I then asked about the reason for the cancellation of the 11th June flight. He seemed unaware of this.I then spoke to his manager (possibly called Marie).I asked about the reason for the cancelled 11th June flight. Again, she did not know, but repeated that no compensation was due to me. I asked why I had initially been told it was a delay. She did not know. I asked her to find out more about the 11th June cancellation for me,and phone me back, failing that I would phone her.

I phoned back at about 15:30. I spoke to Colin again. He told me that the reason for the 11th June cancellation was due to "industrial action in French airspace on 11th June." I had anticipated this answer as it was one of the three different explanations I had been given by Easyjet staff at Geneva airport ( the other two being bad weather in Paris, or the knock-on effect of disruption to the Easyjet schedule earlier in the day meaning that our plane could not arrive in Geneva on time to get us back to Liverpool). I told Colin I found it strange that I could find no information about air disruption or strikes for that day on the internet. He told me his source of information was reliable. I asked for more information about the "technical difficulty". He said that this was due to an oil leak on the plane at Manchester. Either way, he kept telling me that no compensation would be forthcoming. I said I found it very coincidental that exceptional circumstances could happen to the same flight (the last one on the schedule, so the one most likely to be cancelled due to operational difficulties with earlier flights). I understand that the same flight was also cancelled on Tuesday, 8th June, and the hotel receptionist told us that this sort of thing was a common occurrence with Easyjet in Geneva. Colin then called Geneva airport and said that he had spoken to the manager and seen a copy of the log for both days where the manager had ticked the boxes stating no compensation was due for either flight. I am unclear whether the manager was the airport manager or the Geneva Easyjet manager, whom Colin offered me the number for. I stated I did not see the point of speaking to him, as being an Easyjet employee he would only repeat what I had already been told. I was told he was not employed by Easyjet but was their "representative". Either way, I suggested that he would not necessarily be a neutral bystander. I also asked Colin why Tom had initially told me the flight was delayed rather than cancelled. He suggested I must have spoken to one of their agents rather than employees as he did not have the same information as he had. I said I found this confusing as I had spoken to him on the same number as I had rung Colin on. Colin was unsure as to why they did not have the same information, and then seemed more interested in finding out who this "Tom" was then sorting out my claim.

I am coming to the conclusion that Easyjet are using every excuse they can to avoid paying me the compensation I am entitled to. I do not accept the technical difficulty was an "exceptional circumstance" ( and it happened to a plane that was not even on the tarmac in Geneva) and I am not convinced that that there was industrial action on 11th June in France ( which did not seem to be affecting any flights out of Geneva other than the ones operated by Easyjet). The pilot, in his apology on 12th June, said the cancellations were caused by "technical difficulties or weather or a strike or something ".

Travelling The World
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for Alghero, Melton Mowbray, Elora
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51. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

> If it's hard for me to understand why anybody would amass 9,000 posts on a site like this if they had no vested interest

Perhaps because we have a genuine interest in what this site is about - providing advice for travelers? In fact, I started contributing to Tripadvisor long before the Air Travel forum existed. I just recommended a pub on the Geneva forum. Do I have a vested interest in that pub? Or in the Etap, Ibis or Central hotels that I recommended there recently?

I take it personally when people make it personal. I fly a lot, more than most (but not as much as a few others on this forum). I also book corporate travel for others, and trouble-shoot any problems they have. And I follow the industry news. So I do have a fair bit of knowledge and experience. But no, I don't work for Easyjet or any other airline, and I find suggestions that I do, with the aim of undermining my credibility, offensive. If you spend more time on this forum, you will find it's a common occurrence when people don't like the advice they are given by me and others. The minute you do that, your credibility goes out the window.

52. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

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Travelling The World
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53. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

> Perhaps if one wishes ones advice to be taken in good spirit one should refrain from telling people to put up or shut up. This tends to cause offence.

I only told you to do that after you made your comments suggesting I worked for Easyjet (although there was a tagental suggestion in your very first post which I chose to ignore in the interest of fostering a good spirit on this forum). If you make offensive comments, don't be surprised if you get them in return.

Once again, tell Easyjet you will take them to court if you don't get a satisfactory response. And do come back and let us know how you get on.

Edited: 23 June 2010, 13:55
Tarn
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54. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

Being a patient soul, I am still talking rather than suing EasyJet.

Their latest reply:

"Thank you for contacting us.

Regarding your query. I have just had a look then at the cancellations and it was because earlier in the day there were delays in Madrid due to air traffic control problems. So because of the Madrid delay the cabin crew were then not able to operate on your flight due to the fact that they ran out of hours and there were no replacements crews available. So unfortunately we did have to cancel your flight. due to the sequence of events caused by the air traffic problems.

I do hope this offers a full explanation of the purposes of your cancelled flight."

Now, article 15 of the regulations that defines exceptional circumstances only speaks about the airplane's availability. There is no mention of the crew. It would appear from EasyJet's reply that the plane was indeed available - if late - but not the crew and they did not have or chose not to provide a backup crew. Given EasyJet's main hubs are in London and they had advance knowledge that this flight was delayed 2h in Madrid, are we not looking at an operational failure rather than exceptional circumstances?

Travelling The World
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55. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

But the root cause was an ATC delay, which is covered. That caused the crew to go out of hours, and no relief crew was available.

That is certainly covered by the regs. It is unreasonable to expect an airline to keep relief crew at every airport they serve, especially non-base airports, in the off-chance there is a problem. Again, this is what you have to accept when you use a low-cost. They run their crews very close to their maximum daily and monthly hours during normal operations, and therefore even if a crew is available, pulling them off one flight to operate another (which they sometimes do) merely has a knock-on effect on other flights.

If you are not happy with that business method, choose a different airline next time. But cancelling a flight in those circumstances is not covered by the regs. Again, if you believe it is, your next letter should threaten court action.

Nice, France
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56. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

Are you seriously trying to say that London is not an Easyjet base? That's just silly, of course they should have plenty of standby crew. As the poster says, there were no other delays or cancellations at that airport so we're not looking at a mass disruption so standard operating procedures should have been able to cover it.

Plus, the regulations state that the airline should do all they can even in exceptional circumstances. One can easily argue Easyjet did not perform their duty of care in this scenario.

The EU is planning on making the laws even more watertight to avoid these scenarios which obviously go against the spirit of the regulations. You can always find a valid excuse somewhere upstream, but the rules say you are supposed to try and mitigate it. Easyjet is known for preferring just to cancel, knowing they will find any old excuse and most people won't persist.

Business model is not an excuse, if McDonalds give me food poisoning or don't provide my meal, I can expect to apply the laws regardless of whether they are a fast food chain or Gordon Ramsey's gaff. The same applies to airlines.

Lets not forget that Easyjet probably ends up causing delays and blaming them on ATC due to their very short turnaround times, any delay is compounded and of course ATC won't let them take off if they miss their slot...

I suspect it's a lot cheaper for EasyJet to have staff to make up excuses rather than pay up (200 EUR covers quite a few manhours saying 'no')

UK
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57. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

<<Sue them to get an explanation? How crazy is that?>>

Well what sort of detailed explanation do you want? It seems from your posts they gave one, at that point, you either have to at least *threaten to sue*,as suggested, or give up.

And no I also don't work for easyjet either, and also take exception to your offensive (and ludicrous) suggestion about airline shills re WV. Do you imagine WV joined years ago and made 8k+ posts just so as to be "camouflaged" when you posted yor query?

FWIW took my first EJ flights over the past few weeks, not that impressed, chaotic boarding at gatwick*,and delayed 2 hrs on a 2 hr flight on return, on the reason that "gatwick was very busy" - well it was a Sunday afternoon in June and the airport was pretty quiet when we landed. If it really was ATC, what on earth will a saturday morning in late July or August be there? The actual flight itself was fine but service incredibly slow, took an hour to do the first dozen rows. I know you get what you pay for but if they want to sell stuff to make money, you think they would speed the process up, why on earth do they need to write down every single tea coffee & bun sale on a little hand held terminal?

*on the boards the flight went straight from "wait in lounge" to "last call" and they had one person doing checkin at the gate for the entire flight.

Stanley, Falkland...
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58. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

eternelle,

I agree with what you say.

And given that Easyjet are known for cancelling AND are a low-cost carrier, I also agree with worldvoyager.

In effect - You get what you pay for in this world.

If you want to buy a ticket from a low-cost (or super-efficient, if you like) airline, then you have to accept that they don't carry any fat (ie spare crews), and have no qualms about inconveniencing customers if it means saving money. That's why the fare is low.

To think otherwise is optimistic at best and deluded at worst.

Travelling The World
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59. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

> Are you seriously trying to say that London is not an Easyjet base?

Where did I say that? I said "especially at non-base airports" but I didn't say Luton wasn't one!

> the regulations state that the airline should do all they can even in exceptional circumstances.

We have had this discussion before on this forum. Do a search. Their duty is to ensure that a crew is rostered for the flight. If they had failed to do that, they would be liable. They cannot be held responsible for irrops caused by factors outside their control. I am sure Tarnation would have been thrilled if they pulled the crew and aircraft from the CDG flight and took him direct to TLS; I don't think the CDG passengers would have been too happy though. The bottom line is that one of the ways airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair keep costs low is by not keeping expensive resources like crew and aircraft hanging around doing nothing. Some airlines do this, but their fares tend to be higher.

> The EU is planning on making the laws even more watertight to avoid these scenarios which obviously go against the spirit of the regulations.

The spirit and the letter of the regulations are to hold airlines to account when they are at fault, and not when they are not. They are not at fault for delays and cancellations caused by ATC issues. Period.

Tarn
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60. Re: Easyjet denying compensation

Peterscot,

I don't disagree with what you say. It's all very reasonable. However, running on a shoestring doesn't entitle EJ to place themselves outside of the regulations.

Why do we continue to refer to EJ as low-cost? I'm not seeing a significant difference between them and some of the national carriers these days.

Edited: 24 June 2010, 17:04