Easyjet Runway Closure Flight Delay: Treatment and Compensation

Approximately 48h before my flight from Thessaloniki, Greece to London Gatwick on Dec 1, 2017, I received two text messages from Easyjet. My flight was going to be leaving from Athens instead, due to runway closure issues. Instead, I had to turn up at the airport and take a bus, which would leave 40min before the original flight departure time. The bus departed on time and I was handed a half-baguette cheese and ham sandwich and a bottle of half a litre of water on boarding the bus.

The bus journey time to Athens airport was approximately 7 hours. Upon arrival I had to find my way to the easyjet counter, where I was given a new ticket. The flight then left at 22.30 local time, landing at London Gatwick at 5min to midnight, a total delay of over 8 hours.

As an aside, I was to continue to Edinburgh from Gatwick, again using easyjet.

Thankfully I had managed to change my original flight to one leaving the next morning through online chat with easyjet and without charge. This however, meant that I had to spend the night at cold and draughty ‘hotel Gatwick’ airport, as by the time I arrived from Thessaloniki and would be leaving for Edinburgh, it would have hardly been worth checking into a proper hotel, never mind not knowing if I’d eventually be reimbursed for it.

In the event, the morning flight to Edinburgh, on which I had been lucky to get a seat, since it was quite busy, arrived at Edinburgh 10 min early, at 09.50am.

My total delay was therefore 14 hours from the time I’d have arrived originally, had it all gone smoothly.

Despite the original delay and the overnight stay at the airport, I felt lucky that it hadn’t been worse and I’d managed to get home without further hassle.

Which just goes to show how low a passenger can be made to feel through flight delay.

Although easyjet had not mentioned anything about potential compensation, I thought that a measly sandwich and bit of water were rather inadequate provision for a planned delay of so many hours. Other passengers, including some with families, had asked for a complimentary meal on the flight from Athens to London Gatwick and were told that they’d have to pay normal prices for any meals on board, despite the 8 hour delay.

I eventually submitted two different online claims to easyjet, one for my extra food/drink during the delay (for which photos of the receipts had to be attached) and another under EU261 Flight Delay compensation rules. Both of these forms were available from easyjet online. I soon received an email saying that the meal claim would be paid directly into my bank account within a few days, and it was.

With regard to the EU261 compensation claim, I received another email within 48 hours, saying that the claims assessor had asked the original airport (Thessaloniki) team for reasons as to the delay in order to assess the claim and would get in touch shortly.

Two months after the delay, and despite having again contacted the airline’s claims dept and been assured they would decide within additional, defined time periods, my claim is still unresolved with their own deadlines have not been met.

Regardless of the future outcome for my EU261 claim, I felt that I had been well treated by easyjet staff with regard to my altered journeys. However, the airline had failed to make sufficient food and drink provision during the long expected delay, which, in my opinion, was inexcusable. It was clear that a lot of passengers did not have sufficient food and drink with them; why on earth put them through the extra hassle of claiming for purchasing it? And as for the EU261 compensation claim…not too sure what I can say at present, except that easyjet, I expected better from you.

I aim to add to this article, when and if I receive a final decision as to my EU261 compensation claim.

Update 27 February 2018 – I eventually received a very late reply from easyjet, stating that my claim was not eligible for compensation. I then examined the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) options, and also contacted a no-win-no fee firm of solicitors. I finally decided that on balance, I was not going to pursue my claim any further.