Financial compensation for late flights?

With long delays for some flights, some of which come to Geneva via Lyon, does OFAC want to help the airlines resist claims?

On Tuesday 30 June the aircraft used for the easyJet Switzerland flight EZS (HB-JZY) from Basel to Ibiza was not able to return to Basel. Obviously a technical problem, because it came back empty to Geneva the next day, presumably to be checked. Since easyJet Switzerland has 24 aircraft in Switzerland, but needs 23 for the daily schedules, that leaves only one spare aircraft, which was in Geneva. This spare was therefore sent to Basel. An easyJet aircraft must also have had to be sent to Ibiza to bring the passengers back to Basel, with over 4 hours delay.
Thus, from Wednesday 1 July Geneva had no spare aircraft. As a consequence, when the return flight from Catania to Geneva was nearly three hours late (unknown reason) there were consequent delays on various other flights. As a result, at the end of the evening the last flight to Ibiza only took off just before 9h30 pm: too late for the return flight to get to Geneva before closing time at 0h29, so it got diverted to Lyon.

Fast forward to Thursday 2 July. easyJet Switzerland still had no spare aircraft in Geneva, so when the last return flight from Paris Orly landed 2 hours late (no idea why!) at 9 pm, the aircraft had to be used for the last rotation to and from Nantes. Again, the takeoff at 10pm was too late for the aircraft to return to Geneva, so again it was diverted to Lyon (and the 2 hour bus trip back to Geneva).

It is blindingly obvious that this will happen again and again as long as easyJet Switzerland does not have at least 2 spare aircraft (an A319 and an A320). I suggest that if all passengers on flights diverted to Lyon claim their legal financial compensation (a few hundred euros each) then easyJet Switzerland will have a financial motive for the extra spare aircraft. However, when asked on the radio programme "on en parle" about passenger rights in case of long delays, a spokesperson for the Swiss Civil Aviation Office OFAC did not mention financial compensation, simply stating that "on ne parle pas de dédommagement financier" (one does not talk about financial compensation). Equally, the Web reference to OFAC's Web site


makes no reference to financial compensations. However, elsewhere on the Web the official europa.eu site


is quite clear on the subject.

Financial compensation


In addition, if you are denied boarding, your flight is cancelled or arrives more than 3 hours late on arrival at the final destination stated on your ticket, you may be entitled to compensation of €250 - 600, depending on the distance of the flight:


Within the EU


  • 1,500 km or less - €250
  • over 1,500 km - €400


Between EU airport and non-EU airport


  • 1,500 km or less - €250
  • 1,500 - 3,500 km - €400
  • over 3,500 km - €600

Interestingly, the Geneva airport site showed that these two flights diverted to Lyon were considered as cancelled: why?

It is also a fact that without the rapid growth of easyJet traffic the number of flights by the scheduled airlines would probably be decreasing: ARAG statistics show that in June the scheduled flights other than those of easyJet may have had a 1 to 2 percent decrease compared to 2014. easyJet, however, showed a growth of around 10%, mostly by a 20% increase in flights operated by the easyJet UK parent company. A few more years like this and Geneva will be dominated by low-cost flights (and could be renamed easyairport!).


Sauf que de voyager avec Easyjet n'a rien d'easy. Bien au contraire, c'est la croix et la bannière. Je ne recours à leur service que lorsqu'il n'y a pas d'alternative.

Posted by: Pierre Jenni | 07/13/2015

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