07/02/2011

easyJet from Majorca

When a passenger got cross about a very delayed flight from Majorca to Geneva, he was denied boarding. The reason for the delay is interesting!

 


As we now get towards the holiday season, we can expect problems of various sorts (cancellations or delays because of strikes, weather and so on). However, the reason for a delay of over 5 hours for the easyJet Switzerland flight EZS1514, from Majorca to Geneva last Monday, 27 June, seems to have been entirely different. This delay caused Mourad Salhi, travelling with his wife and one year old child, to get rather agitated, because he was due at work at 10h30 pm that evening. His protests caused easyJet to refuse to take him on the flight when it finally left: it landed in Geneva at 9h07 pm, as against a scheduled arrival at 3h35 pm.

To understand why this happened, it is first necessary to know that easyJet Switzerland has 18 registered Swiss aircraft, of which 12 are based in Geneva and 6 in Basel. However, easyJet may rotate these aircraft around, by allowing one to come back to a different airport than the one from which it left. Thus, in a sense, Geneva and Basel are regarded as interchangeable.

On that Monday, the flight from Geneva to Majorca (EZS1511) left early in the morning, using the Airbus A319 registered as HB-JZJ. It should then have gone from Majorca back to Basel (not Geneva), then Basel to Majorca, then return to Geneva as flight EZS1514. In other words, this was another of those cases where an aircraft does not do simple "there and back" flights.

For some reason, HB-JZJ was unable to continue after the initial Geneva-Majorca flight. Instead, in the middle of the afternoon, an aircraft of easyJet UK (G-EZNC) went to Basel to do the flight from Basel to Majorca, then EZS1514 from Majorca to Geneva. Clearly, this meant that both the flights from Basel to Majorca and Majorca to Geneva had delays of over 5 hours. I have no idea how many hours of delay there were on the Majorca-Basel flight, nor what aircraft was used.

It actually also looks as if one aircraft (HB-JZW), that was in Basel the previous night, did not fly from Basel until late on that Monday evening. If so, then easyJet Switzerland was effectively missing two aircraft, which explains the delays and the emergency use of aircraft borrowed from the UK fleet (with the associated long delays!).

It is quite interesting to note that the (faulty?) aircraft HB-JZJ returned to Geneva on the following Tuesday morning as an empty flight. It then left again as flight EZS8040 (not a registered flight), coming back as the same flight in the late afternoon: it is reported that this was to and from the French airport at Epinal. I found out that Epinal is much used for training flights.

This is rather mysterious, but did have the effect that easyJet Switzerland was again missing an aircraft that Tuesday . The result was (yet again) the need to borrow a UK aircraft, thus causing more seriously long delays, mainly to London Gatwick (but also the last arrival, at 00h16 with a UK aircraft, of EZS1358 from Amsterdam).

Actually, Tuesday saw many other problems, including two easyJet UK departures after midnight (over Vernier), for London Gatwick and London Luton. These might have had something to do with the lightning striking Gatwick in the afternoon. A harbinger of Summer?

The moral of the story is (to me, at least) that you are always taking a risk if you have a deadline for getting to or from an airport with an easyJet flight: London Gatwick and Berlin are prime risk airports but there are others.

Now, care to ask me about the spare aircraft of easyJet Switzerland?

17:24 Posted in easyJet anecdotes | Permalink | Comments (0) | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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