Should easyJet be avoided this summer between strikes and cancellations?

DESCRIPTION Complicated situation for the English low-cost airline forced to cancel hundreds of flights in Europe. Why such a situation?

Émilie and her family were to leave Edinburgh to return to Lyon on 28 May at 21.00 on flight EJU6971. An easyJet flight, operated by its Austrian subsidiary, set up to circumvent Brexit commitments. At the airport with boarding passes in hand, the family discovers via a text message that their flight has been canceled. They then come to check-in to ask for help and information. Two employees of a service provider for the British company admit their helplessness and inform the unfortunate travelers that they can not help them find a hotel: “In Edinburgh it is a marathon. There is no longer a free space for 50 km around ”. A new SMS from the company will appear on their screens. The family is invited to look for a hotel in “ a reasonable price “The only room they end up finding is for … 800 euros a night. As for their return to France, it is not expected until four days,” says easyJet’s website. But Émilie and her companion work on Mondays. They are therefore looking for a new ticket, which they then buy on Transavia, but which unfortunately only transports them as far as to Paris, so it will also be necessary to buy train tickets to cover the journey from Paris to Lyon. 2000 euros.

Unfortunately, this testimony is not unique. How could the English company, which operates up to 1,700 flights a day, come to this? EasyJet is now caught in a load between two phenomena, two amateurs one would be tempted to say. First of all, the situation of the airports where it operates, mainly Gatwick and Amsterdam, which have asked it to reduce the number of their air movements by about 10%. In fact, these airports are currently unable to employ sufficient staff to cope with the resumption of traffic. There are not enough officers to perform security checks and baggage handling under normal conditions.

These errors affect the entire production chain: A plane leaving Gatwick in south London, of which easyJet is the main user, to take to Nice, will then continue to Geneva or Paris and then fly to Berlin and possibly return to Gatwick in last end. The cancellation of a flight therefore leads to cascade effects which are very complicated for an airline to master. Finally, easyJet faces another internal problem: the lack of qualified cabin crew. The warning from the French union of easyJet cabin crew for several months, SNPL, was therefore fully justified.

In a vicious letter to the management of the company, he condemned “ hitherto unseen chaos », Present and future. The company has also refused to tell us the number of flights it has canceled every day since May, due to lack of the necessary crews to secure its connections. “ The current difficult operating environment continues to have an impact, resulting in the cancellation of a small proportion of flights. She acknowledges half in words. So the company found a parade to fly its planes: reduce the number of passengers on board. The rules require a flight crew in the cabin for 50 passengers. The EasyJet Airbus A319s, which offer 156 seats, usually require 4 hostesses and stewards. By only accepting 150 passengers on board, this ratio drops to 3 cabin crew. But will this little bandage be enough to stop the bleeding?

A company that is not equipped to provide high quality after-sales service

A Spanish union calls for a nine-day strike in July at easyJet. ISABEL INFANTES / REUTERS

After laying off thousands of employees, the company can now not re-employ. It’s not the hundreds of extra jobs that were announced last week that will change the hell that some passengers experience when their flights are canceled at the last minute. Because unlike Lufthansa or Air France, this company, like any self-respecting low-cost carrier, is not equipped to provide quality after-sales service. It is up to the passengers who are victims of a last minute cancellation to find alternative solutions and book hotel rooms if necessary. To book another flight, they only have the website, which only offers easyJet flights, sometimes scheduled three or four days later. Unlike larger airlines, this low cost does not belong to a group like Skyteam or Star Alliance, which offers a code sharing system and therefore mutual assistance. In the event that a KLM Amsterdam-Paris is canceled due to a technical problem, passengers are immediately offered a solution on Air France.

It is up to the passengers who are victims of a last minute cancellation to cope.

In addition, easyJet uses local service providers in its stopovers, which therefore do not have the tools to take care of booking a hotel room here, a changeover to it on another aircraft or on another airline. Still, a company spokesman tells us “We communicate directly with customers whose flights have been canceled and inform them of their transfer or refund options as well as information about booking a hotel, if applicable, and other rights, including rebooking directly with other airlines when easyJet- flights are not available. Customers can rebook an easyJet flight for free directly through our self-service tool. “ The reality is more prosaic. Among the many statements we have received via email from these disappointed customers, no one mentions a call from the company.

Strike warnings in July

In the meantime, and if your holiday destination is in Spain, beware of easyJet cancellations. The Spanish Workers’ Union has given strike notice for 1, 2 and 3 July as well as for 15, 16, 17 and 29, 30, 31 July at the airports of Barcelona, ​​Malaga and Palma de Mallorca . At this stage, only the weekend of July 23 and 24 is saved.

How to proceed in case of flight cancellation?

Know it firstno compensation is due only ifcancellation is announced more than two weeks ago before the scheduled departure time, ie. if the cancellation was announced between 14 and 7 days before departure but the company offers redirection so you can travel no earlier than 2 hours before the scheduled departure time and reach the final destination less than 4 hours later expected arrival time »According to the review What to choose. No more compensation will be provided if the cancellation was announced less than 7 days before departure, but the company offers rescheduling so that you can leave at the earliest 1 hour before the scheduled departure time and reach the final destination less than 2 hours after the scheduled time. arrival.

In all other cases except extraordinary circumstances (a strike for example, but not a shortage of staff) the company is obliged to compensate you and find compensation solutions. You can find details on the full rights of passengers on the Civil Aviation website.

Finally, in case of a dispute with the company, first write to him and specify that in case of an unsatisfactory answer, or no answer, you will contact DGAC. To do this, write an email to service.client@easyjet.com. If necessary, try contacting the company on +33 (0) 9 77407770 – open Monday to Sunday: 8:00 to 20:00 (French time) and finally send a registered letter to easyJet:

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Building N12 00 – Terminal 2
93290 Tremblay-en-France

Last resort, if the company has not responded to you within two months, or if the response remains unsatisfactory, contact the Directorate-General for Civil Aviation, which has a heavy sanctioning authority by completing the appropriate form.


ALSO SEE – Brussels National Airport cancels all its flights due to a strike

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