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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 08:43

Easyjet reneges on compensation promise

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.'

27 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Clive B

Jul 20, 2012 at 11:42

Take them to the small claims court

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colin grant

Jul 20, 2012 at 13:01

I agree with Clive B. I took First Choice to them for wrong advice on credit cards which cost me £65 in credit card fees. They blustered until the last minute, then capitulated. It can be done very easily on the internet.

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Richard Admiraal

Jul 20, 2012 at 13:01

Isnt international air travel the absolute pits? it started off as the height of sophistication & luxury, see the old Bette Davis films as you roll up in your lounge suit with her in mink & pearls with a cigarette on the go at boarding, next to the tarmac, you are escorted on to to the plane where an accommodating air stewardess caters to your every whim.

Flash change to Gatwick or Heathrow and trying to fly with Ryanair or Easyjet where you are treated like an inconvenience. every flight is stressful and a relief when you get there.

However until we decide to reduce our flying and book scheduled fligghts with proper airlines, we bring it all on ourselves.

i will drive to South of France this year via Eurotunnel as cant deal with the whole flying experience any more.

Awful people.

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Chris Clark

Jul 20, 2012 at 13:03

This counts as a contract. The offer was made and accepted. They have to pay the money.

This happened in a different situation in my company. To keep employees from leaving following a takeover, the existing management team announced verbally at a meeting that would award an immediate pay rise of 5%.

The new ownerstried to spike this, but it was also held to be a contract. The pay rise was awarded in full.

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Jul 20, 2012 at 13:23

Rule Number One ... Get it in writing!

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Jul 20, 2012 at 13:50

Rule Number Two ... Get the names of the people that you deal with.

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DazMan via mobile

Jul 20, 2012 at 13:50

Well if you will choose to fly easyjet (aka sleazyjey)! BA give volunteers a letter confirming the compensation payable, a guaranteed seat on a specific flight and which cabin they will be flying in as sometimes an upgrade is also offered. Fly the Flag not Orange. To Fly To Serve - take not easyjet.

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Jul 20, 2012 at 13:51

Were they saying it was illegal for them to offer €250?

This is obviously someone who works for Easyjet offering more than they were supposed to. There is certainly no legal limit on the maximum compensation they can offer, though I'm sure they would lobby parliament for a law to do this.

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DazMan via mobile

Jul 20, 2012 at 13:56

They would only lobby government after asking them to put their trash in a dustbin bag, take their knees away from their chins and buy some Katie Price Eau de Pong from their 'Tax Free bar'

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Chris Clark

Jul 20, 2012 at 14:27

@Kirbitt and @Stormdog

Not necessary. The fact that EasyJet announced this over the Tannoy, in a public place, and people took action, is sufficient. The contract was made. Judgement would go against them in any small claims court.

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Jack Belfitt

Jul 20, 2012 at 14:32

Is this not par for the course? Where once a gentleman's word was his bond and British integrity was internationally respected, this no longer pertains. Instances of this exist in all walks of life. The law for instance intervenes to alter contracts. The government will be prepared to introduce retrospective

legislation to alter accepted practices on which previous decisions have been based. The fact that integrity has historically proved to be the bedrock of successful endeavour in all spheres of activity is unfortunately overlooked. It would appear that when going back on one’s word is practiced by those who should be setting an example, it is no surprise that it has now become endemic in today’s society and we are now the poorer for it.

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Jul 20, 2012 at 14:35

I now do my best to avoid flying having experienced a wide range of carriers and spent more hours in airports than I care to remember. So far I have managed to avoid the easyjet experience.

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Jul 20, 2012 at 17:31

Sounds like Easyjet is getting as bad as Ryanair... Looks like I will never fly Easyjet as well as never flying Ryanair now.

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Jerry Jones

Jul 20, 2012 at 19:11

Sure thing - pay the best part of a year's salary for a flight like Bette Davis used to do. I'll carry on using SleazyJet (and Ryanair if EJ don't go to my destination) from Bristol and getting a return flight often for under £100 as long as I fly midweek out of school hols.

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Dr Glister

Jul 21, 2012 at 00:07


Quite agree - used to think Easyjet was a cut above Ryanair, but both much the same now - to be avoided if at all possible - just try to catch you out with your luggage or your booking or anything else so you end up paying the same as a proper flight. BA for me!

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Jerry Jones

Jul 21, 2012 at 09:52

And yet, I have never been caught out by any of these sneaky extras that people complain about. I try to avoid hold baggage not only because of the cost but also the wait to collect it at the other end and the hassle of checking it in at the airport before I fly. The thing that does irritate me is the unreasonable card payment charges, but I believe that the airlines have now been forced to reduce them.

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William Phillips

Jul 21, 2012 at 17:25

Airline operators-- banksters with wings.

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Jul 23, 2012 at 10:17

@Jerry Jones

Yes, Ryan Air works for you, it doesn't mean that those of us who were "caught out" are not dumb though, or had done something wrong.

It is obvious from Ryanair's news that many people have had a negative experience with Ryanair. Many here will say you are lucky, no doubt you will say those that have negative experiences are unlucky.

You can argue that they make money, so they must be doing something(/enough) right.

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Jul 23, 2012 at 11:25

Kirbett and stormdog, I also live by those rules.

But even so, I've still had companies turn around and tell me (after I've presented them with the name and the bit of paper) that the employee should not have told me whatever they did and was not authorised to do so, and as such they maintain that they are unable to satisfy what was promised...

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Jerry Jones

Jul 23, 2012 at 12:58

Usually it mean that the people who were "caught out" either hadn't read the rules or decided to try their luck at breaking them. I find it wonderful that I can afford to pop over to see friends in Portugal or Malta for the same kind of price as taking a weekend trip to London on the train and I am quite happy to treat their aircraft like train travel rather than expecting the mock sophistication of scheduled flights with poor quality "free" food and drink.

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Jul 23, 2012 at 13:39

"...either hadn't read the rules or decided to try their luck at breaking them". This is a statement that applies to Ryanair too.

As for passengers, If you can't follow the rules, don't fly; for airlines, if you can't follow the rules, don't operate.

People pay their money and make their choices. I choose not to fly ryanair because they employ sharp practice (they pick and choose what rules they want to follow and when too) that many can testify too. I just want to fly to a destination without the increased chance of being stranded by a "low cost" airline.

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Steve Hayes

Jul 25, 2012 at 13:15

It's evident that the manager of the compensation department clearly knew that the offer had been made because they received a number of claims for the same amount for the same flight. So that manager decided to balls out lie. I hope they've been sacked.

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Darren Jackson via mobile

Aug 07, 2012 at 05:42

Im at Manchester airport at the moment and have volunteered to go on a later flight due to a change of aircraft size and guess how much compo they have offered me.... You guessed it.... €250.... Looks like easyjet say one thing and do another

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Jerry Jones

Aug 07, 2012 at 20:26

Got it in writing? Confirmed by a grown-up?

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Steve Hayes

Aug 08, 2012 at 10:33

Obviously too late for this time, but I've made a mental note to make a video recording on my mobile when made an offer I think they might try to pull out of (whoever, Easyjet, Insurance salesman, shop assistant).

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jim partridge

Jan 24, 2013 at 13:44

This has just happened to me and a friend at Geneva Airport, offered 250 Euro but now being told 100 Euro is the maximum.

This is obviously their standard policy for ripping people off.

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jim partridge

Feb 01, 2013 at 14:19

Easy Jet offered us 250 Euro each as the flight was overbooked, when we tried to collect our compensation, guess what? They refused to pay up and told us we were only entitled to £100 each, this is a common policy of theirs, any advice on how we can make them pay up?

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