Exclusive: At least 36,000 passengers are just learning their holiday plans have been scuppered
At the end of a week in which Britain’s biggest budget airline has grounded hundreds of flights, The Independent has learnt that easyJet has made a late decision to cancel many more at its biggest base, Gatwick.
The airline is cutting 24 flights per day from Saturday 28 May to Monday 6 June inclusive. Many flights are heavily booked; the standard easyJet Airbus A320 holds 186 passengers; and The Independent calculates that even with a conservative estimate of 150 people booked on each of the grounded flight, at least 36,000 passengers will be affected.
Cancellations for Saturday’s departures include key holiday links to Italy, Portugal and Spain – with both flights to Seville grounded.
Flights to both Agadir and Marrakesh in Morocco have been axed.
The full list of cancelled round-trips for Saturday 28 May is:
- Seville (2)
- Belfast City
- Budapest Copenhagen
A spokesperson for easyJet told The Independent: “Over the next week we will be operating around 1,700 flights per day, with around a quarter of these operating to and from Gatwick.
“We have taken the decision to make advance cancellations of around 24 Gatwick flights per day starting from tomorrow 28 May until 6 June.
“We are very sorry for the late notice of some of these cancellations and inconvenience caused for customers booked on these flights however we believe this is necessary to provide reliable services over this busy period.
“Customers are being informed from today and provided with the option to rebook their flight or receive a refund and can apply for compensation in line with regulations.”
The standard cancellation message put out by easyJet encourages passengers to rebook on an alternative easyJet flight, or accept a refund or voucher.
One passenger whose flight on 1 June from Madeira to Gatwick said: “We’ve had to rebook for the Monday, two days earlier than planned, and we have been given separate seats despite the fact we are travelling with our one-year old.
“He is currently sitting two rows away from us! “
The Independent has told him easyJet has a strict obligation under European air passengers’ rights rules to book the passenger on a rival airline if that is the only way to get them to their destination on the intended day of travel. There are departures on British Airways to Heathrow or Ryanair to Stansted on 1 June, which easyJet must pay for.
The airline also owes compensation of £220 – or, for flights over 1,500km, £350 – to each passenger due to the late-notice cancellations. If everyone eligible were to claim, the compensation bill would be £10m.