While easyJet forecasts pre-tax profits of over a billion Swiss Francs, passengers lose out and empty planes fly all over Europe.
Yesterday, 17 September, an easyJet Switzerland aircraft was sent empty from Geneva to Manchester to operate an easyJet UK round trip between Manchester an Porto (with over two hours delay for the passengers in each direction). A quick check of the easyJet flights operated at Manchester shows that about half were late: an interesting statistic, given that early this year the company was running advertisements claiming how good was (!) their punctuality record.
This confirms what has been obvious for months, that the company does not have enough aircraft for operating all the flights that it plans, and with sufficient reserve to cater for the inevitable minor problems causing an aircraft not to be available all of the time. In fact, the number of easyJet flights that carry no passengers, but just move aircraft from one airport to another (Lyon to Geneva, Geneva to and from Basel and other places in Europe) make quite a significant contribution to the CO2 emissions over Geneva.
Other examples of the lack of aircraft happen when easyJet UK has no aircraft to operate one of their planned flights to and back from Geneva. Quite often, an easyJet Switzerland aircraft flies the route, but in the reverse order: the flight back to the other airport is on time, but the flight from there to Geneva is several hours late. This is enough to allow passengers into Geneva to claim several hundred euros compensation, but studies show that such claims are rare and bitterly contested by the company.
Three such examples have happened during the last week. On Monday14 September it was the passengers from Paris Orly and from Bristol, whilst on the Tuesday it was passengers from Naples. In all of these three examples, the passengers coming to Geneva had a delay of around 4 hours: sufficient to claim financial compensation (which can be claimed up to at least two years after the flight).
All of this shows that for easyJet, the only real concern is for the profitability. The company has announced that pre-tax profits for 2014 will be about a billion Swiss Francs, which will make them and their investors really happy. The fact that a sizable number of passengers will be pretty unhappy seems not to enter into the equation.
For passengers who do wish to make a claim for compensation, both for delays and for cancelled flights,here are several web sites to help them:
Of course, you will have to be persistent (the first responses will always be refusals) and include as many details as you can remember. It may also help to suggest that you know a good lawyer :-)
One site not of much use is that of the Swiss federal office for aviation, who don't wish to say anything about such compensations!
ps. The compensation would sprobably not apply to the passengers, including the family with a pregnant wife and who took a taxi from Lyon to Geneva because the flight late was delayed by bad weather, and then diverted to Lyon, but the the buses only arrived in Lyon at 3h30 am.