Update on the Easyjet Drama: Refusal to Pay Compensation

Oh Easyjet, how I loathe you more and more everyday. Remember how they abandoned us overnight in Venice without providing food or hotels like they are legally supposed to? Even though I was reimbursed for the canceled flight, I never received the insultingly low 120€ for alternative travel costs (we paid nearly 1,000€ out of pocket to get home). I sent another e-mail to Easyjet’s customer service explaining our nightmare at Marco Polo airport (along with receipts for car rentals, gas, tolls, etc.) and stating that I am entitled to 250€ compensation per person according to Regulation 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the European Council.

This regulation is supposed to help passengers in case of delays or cancellations in the EU, but there is one problem:  “An operating air carrier shall not be obliged to pay compensation in accordance with Article 7, if it can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.” Extraordinary circumstances is not defined, which unfortunately means that the despicable airlines will claim every cancellation is beyond their control in order to not pay compensation. That is exactly what Easyjet is doing now.

Even though the flight was canceled due to crew shortage, Easyjet is claiming that it was because of the storms. Funny how every other flight was able to take off from the airport after the storms had passed. And funny how Easyjet themselves originally told me the flight was canceled due to crew shortage and not because of the storms. Does lying come naturally to Easyjet employees? Is that in the employee handbook?

It’s bad enough that we were abandoned at the airport for 18 hours with no food, water or hotel accommodation (which is BEYOND ILLEGAL!!!) and that because of this, grandma nearly passed out and had to see the airport doctor. But to have them completely lie to me just to get out of paying compensation makes me LIVID. BOLD LIVID.

Crew shortage is not an extraordinary circumstance – in fact, it’s a rather common occurrence with this “less punctual than Air Zimbabwe” airline – and a standby crew is supposed to be provided in these cases. It’s just fortunate for Easyjet that there were also storms that same day so they can use that as an excuse.

So my next step is to involve the ENAC, the civil aviation authority in Italy (where the flight was supposed to originate) and hopefully they can help me get compensation. After that, hello small claims court!

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  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    I'm really sorry to hear that and I remember how bad your trip went, reading about it just a few weeks ago.

    I can't say I'm surprised at the reply you got… looks like they don't even know what customer service is. Heck, they probably don't even know what customer means! I had a similar reply with Zoom Airlines at the time (similar situation, stuck in Mtl airport for 35 hours). They went bankrupt a few weeks later…

  • Kim: kiwi in france

    That really does suck… try and follow it as far as you can go, try and get as much publicity as possible, and stick it to them. I'm still bitter about the service I got after the volc ash and just because they changed their rules throughout the saga so I lost a lot of money. If I had've been affected towards the end, I wouldn't have lost any money. Good luck!

  • http://www.strictlyguiding.blogspot.com Jen

    Good on you for not giving up.

  • Soleil

    Unbelievable! Good luck, don't let them get away with this kind of ridiculousness.

  • Prernatutors

    hi i like the blog very much.

  • http://www.american-in-france.com Cynthia

    Oh, Geez, Jennie. I had missed this sage prior to today. So sorry that happened and even sorrier they won't pay. You go, girl! Put them on their knees! Cynthia in Chambery

  • Goodintentions82

    I talk a good game like this but usually end up talking myself out of it, you go girl! The money does play a factor in it but for me it's usually the principle of the matter when it comes to situations like this. Unfortunately only way places like this EVER learn is to hit them where it counts ——- in the pocket.

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    Thank you so much for actually taking as much action against them as you can. Most people won’t do that, they’ll just lie there and take it.

    File complaints with whoever you can file complaints with, get charges filed if you can get them filed, file a lawsuit against them if possible, and maybe try to get the other people on the flight involved. Not all of them will want to be, most might not, but there will probably be some other. In short, I would encourage you to do everything you can to nail their asses to the wall. Go for it :)

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  • http://www.mosalingua.com Sam

    Hi Jennie !

    We had exactly the same problem with easyjet 3 weeks ago. They cancelled the flight Bordeaux-Lyon (saying that it was due to crew shortage), but it was because of little “storms” in Lyon (this was indeed true, but Air france didn’t cancel their flight). They said “crew shortage” only to calm down the passengers, saying that we will be refund at 250€..
    Fortunately, before taking expensives propositions that the easyjet woman was proposing, I checked the internet and read all the bad easyjet stories (and I found your post ;-). So we took the cheapest solution (about 350€ and a day of vacation lost).
    Now we are waiting for an hypothetic refund, but with little hope.

    So thank you for all your blog post and procedure on easyjet, it saves us some money, and I hope it will change the unacceptable behavior of easyjet !
    Thanks again for taking the time to contact ENAC and everything, if i can help on something, I will be happy to contribute (even if I don’t have much time, but like everybody and you too I presume) ! But we can’t let company behave like that just because we are lazy.
    It’s a pity we don’t have class action in france…

    By the way, I really like your site, your learning ressources are very good, I can imagine all the work behind it ! I only learn through the spanish tutorials, because I am french, but english learning resource could be useful as well (as you can see, my english is far from perfect ;-)

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    I always complain when companies abuse customers or passengers. I hate that so many people just let them get away with it and continue to give them business because they’re cheaper than others. I’ve already sent my complaint to the ENAC (that was fun writing in Italian! lol) and we’re finishing up the paperwork to take Easyjet to court at the tribunal d’instance here in France. I am never going to let this go because they pissed me off so much.

  • http://planetgermany.wordpress.com/ Cathy

    €120? I suppose you could be grateful it wasn’t Ryanair then… because they wouldn’t even have given you that much!

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Well, that’s what Easyjet said they were going to give me, but of course they lied and I never received it.

  • James K Griffin

    I am pursuing a similar claim against a U.S. airline for a cancelled flight in June 2010, following the recommended procedure: EC261/2004 claim (rejection), written letter to airline (rejection due to “exceptional circumstances), 2nd letter citing legal precedents (again rejection), and submission to ENAC (receipt acknowledged, but no response yet). I’ll start the judicial procedure when my local Italian justice of the peace returns 15th of September.

    My question, “Did ENAC respond, an, if so, how long did it take for them to respond?”

    I wish you and your team the best of luck with your language training. I am a retired engineer who after six months of retirement activities (mostly sailing and fishing in Como Lake), decided to start teaching English. After six years of such a satisfying activity, I wonder why I didn’t change to teaching much sooner!

    J K Griffin
    Colico

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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