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Easyjet reneges on compensation promise
It was not until Citywire stepped in that Easyjet finally agreed to pay out the €250 it originally promised to passengers to voluntarily take later flights.
by Victoria Bischoff on Jul 20, 2012 at 08:43Follow @VBischoff
Easyjet promised customers €250 to give up their seats on an overbooked flight but two weeks later claimed the maximum compensation they could offer by law was £100.
Passengers Judith Bernstein, who works for central government, and Jonathan Arkush, a lawyer, both confirmed that Easyjet airport staff had announced over the tannoy system that the airline needed 20 volunteers to travel on a later flight and were offering each individual €250 (£196) for the inconvenience.
Bernstein said that as the flight had already been delayed by an hour and the next flight from Glasgow to London was due to depart in little over an hour she was prepared to volunteer. Arkush, meanwhile, said that while he wouldn’t have accepted £100, an offer of £200 made the delay worth it.
Both added that they confirmed this amount with the check-in staff when they went back to arrivals to get a new boarding pass.
‘At each stage the offer of €250 was confirmed by Easyjet staff', Bernstein said.
Yet, when writing to claim her compensation two days later, Easyjet advised Bernstein that the maximum amount of compensation it could offer by law was £100. Arkush too was offered just £100.
When Bernstein and Arkush challenged this, Easyjet pointed them in the direction of the European regulations dictating compensation entitlements in the event of denied boarding – where an airline forces a passenger to give up their seat because not enough people have volunteered.
In this instance a passenger will receive between €250 and €600 depending on the distance they are travelling. However, if you voluntarily give up your seat there is no maximum compensation limit set out by law, and any amount agreed is between the airline and passenger. A spokesperson for Easyjet said it usually offers around £100.
After complaining again that she felt misled, Bernstein was then informed by a customer service supervisor that if she was able to provide the name of each staff member who offered her €250 and the department they belonged to then her complaint would be investigated further. If not then there was nothing that could be done – or as Easyjet put it ‘I regret that in the absence of the staff member's details, I would be unable to take this forward.’
One final attempt at a complaint yielded this response:
‘Although I will not be able to offer or provide compensation of €250 to you, I would like to provide you an insurance letter free of charge so that you can make a claim from your travel insurance company.’
As Bernstein volunteered to give up her seat and was transferred to another flight, she had absolutely no need for ‘a free insurance letter’ – which usually costs £10 – because there would be nothing her travel insurer could do for her. If her flight had been cancelled or she had been unable to make the flight then that would be a different matter.
Bernstein was assured that her ‘valuable comments will be passed on further so that necessary measures can be taken for the passengers whose travel plans get affected’.
A spokesperson for Easyjet has since confirmed – after being contacted by Citywire – that although the staff at the airport should not have offered this amount of compensation, the airline will honour the €250 promised.
'All passengers affected have been given the €250 as promised,' she said. ‘We are very sorry that our passengers received a number of contradictory communications from us on this. This will be investigated and corrected to ensure that the information given in future is correct and clear and we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.'
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