EasyJet reported for potentially breaking the law

By Lisa James
Home » EasyJet reported for potentially breaking the law

Consumer champion Which? is calling for an investigation into potential consumer law breaches by easyJet during the current flight cancellation chaos.

Which? says it has heard from hundreds of passengers who were kept in the dark about their legal right to compensation and the chance to be rerouted with other airlines after easyJet cancelled their flights. 

Some families were left to sleep on the airport floor or buy expensive new flights home after cancellations. They said being unable to get any help from staff had left them feeling ‘abandoned’.

One woman said her reimbursement claims for alternative flights were rejected three times and she only got her money back after she went public.

Which? has reported easyJet to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), asking the regulator to investigate and take action to protect passengers and their rights.

Although the law says airlines must offer passengers on cancelled flights a rebooking to their destination at the ‘earliest opportunity’ – including offering them a flight with an alternative airline of this is the best option – Which? found easyJet is directing passengers to the ‘Manage my booking’ section of its app and website and this only gives options to rebook on an easyJet flight.

Despite the fact the CAA and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have promised to get tough on airlines found to be ‘systematically letting consumers down’, Which? says it is concerned that disregard of consumer rights law by airlines has become so routine that it ‘demonstrates a systemic problem in the travel sector – and the CAA, with limited powers, seems powerless to intervene’.

In April, Which? reported British Airways to the CAA for potentially breaking the law over passenger rights. But no action has yet been taken against the airline.

Which? repeated its call for the CAA to be given stronger powers.

Which? Travel Editor Rory Boland said: “EasyJet has treated its passengers appallingly, but this is just the latest example of a systemic problem in the aviation sector – some airlines routinely ignore their legal obligations because they know they won’t face any consequences.

“With thousands more flight cancellations potentially to come, passengers face a miserable summer unless the CAA and Government act on their promises to stamp out consumer rights abuses. 

“A major overhaul is desperately needed, so the Government must give the CAA stronger powers so it can hit operators with heavy fines when necessary. Ministers should also drop their ill-conceived plans to slash compensation rates for domestic flights.”

In response, the CAA said it will review the evidence thoroughly and will respond accordingly. 

“We have regularly called for stronger consumer powers, including the ability to impose fines on airlines. This would allow us to take faster action when appropriate and bring our powers in line with other sectoral regulators,” the CAA said.

EasyJet said: “We provide customers with a leading self-service tool which enables them to reroute quickly and easily on alternative flights where their flight is cancelled. This includes the option to fly to/from different airports within the same country, if they wish to. 

“Where we are unable to offer a direct flight on easyJet within 24 hours, customers are able to secure flights by alternative carriers via our customer contact centres, however, we generally advise passengers to book these flights themselves, as this offers more flexibility and is the quickest way to secure a seat on the alternative flight. 

“In these circumstances, we reimburse customers for the full cost of the alternative transport. This information is clearly displayed on our delays & cancellations help page.”

EasyJet added: “We clearly inform customers that if there are no easyJet alternative flights within 24 hours, they can book flights via an alternative carrier and we’ll reimburse them in full or they can choose a full refund.

“We clearly inform passengers of their EC261 rights via our notice of rights and delays and cancellations pages on our website, which are provided to customers should their flights be disrupted. Customers are able to submit an expenses claim easily via our expense form. We advise customers to provide itemised receipts to ensure these are processed as swiftly as possible.”

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