12/22/2010

Not so easy Jet to London Gatwick!

As if travellers to and from the UK have not already suffered enough, the about turn of the last easyJet Switzerland flight to London Gatwick on Tuesday night, and the unavailability of the same aircraft the next day, had a big knock-on effect on Gatwick and other destinations. Compensation to passengers should be in order, including a family member of mine who was booked on the first flight this morning.


We all know that London Heathrow airport has had bad problems, as have had some other UK airports. However, as of the morning of Tuesday 21 December 2010, the problems seemed to be over for easyJet Switzerland, which does not serve Heathrow. Unfortunately, the old proverb that it never rains, but it pours, came true again (perhaps assisted by Murphy the Irishman!).

The last easyJet Switzerland flight to Gatwick on Tuesday evening was the flight EZS8481, scheduled to leave Geneva at 6.45pm, and which actually took off at 8.17pm. Unfortunately, after about 20 minutes the pilot decided to return to Geneva, landing back here at 8.57pm. It can safely be assumed that this was due to a technical problem with the aircraft (registration HB-JZN), because it was not used the next day (Wednesday).

The consequence was that on the Wednesday morning, with a schedule requiring 11 aircraft, but with only ten aircraft available, something had to give (it seems that most people, but not the Geneva airport management, know that easyJet does not have any spare aircraft based in Geneva): that something was the Wednesday flights of easyJet Switzerland to London Gatwick. This is, of course, consistent with what the easyJet Switzerland director, Mr Marc Thévenaz, said some months ago, namely that in rescheduling flights, Gatwick is first in the queue because there are so many other flights to London!

Therefore, on the Wednesday morning the first easyJet Switzerland flight to Gatwick (EZS8463, scheduled to leave at 7am) was delayed by almost 7 hours, only leaving at 1.57pm, and returning to Geneva with the same 7 hour delay.. The next easyJet Switzerland flight to Gatwick, EZS8467 at 11.20am, had to be operated by an incoming UK aircraft, leaving Geneva only at 7.43pm.

There are, of course, flights by easyJet UK to Gatwick. However, it is not clear how many passengers, including some proportion of ones who were on the aborted flight the previous evening, could be transferred to these other flights. Given that easyJet can hardly blame the snow as the cause, it will be interesting to know what was the treatment given to any passengers who had to wait 7 hours for their flight. Via my family member on the morning flight I should find out more in due course.

The lack of the aircraft HB-JZN also had the effect of delaying or cancelling other easyJet Switzerland flights. In addition to several delays of a couple of hours or so, round trip flights to and from Barcelona (EZS1407/1408) and Brindisi (EZS1545/1546) were been cancelled. These should give rise to a compensation of 250 euros to each passenger, as well as rerouting at no extra cost. Whilst this might be reasonable for Barcelona, which is served by several easyJet flights each day, Brindisi has only one flight per week at the moment!

Just to say it again: all this was NOT related to the weather problems, but to the unavailability of any aircraft.

Care to ask the Geneva airport management to indicate the whereabouts of the spare aircraft that they imagine exists?

20:43 Posted in easyJet anecdotes | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: easyjet, geneva, london, gatwick | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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