Why do EasyJet treat their cycling passengers like this?
Apologies for this lengthy post – but please read if you’re flying with EasyJet and planning to take a bike with you – to L’Etape or any of the big mountain-bike events this summer. Thanks to EasyJet’s policy regarding sporting equipment, my weekend cycling with my brother in the Alps was ruined. We were flying from Bristol to Geneva, to take part in the Pass’port du Soleil MTB event over the last weekend in June. Here’s the whole sorry episode…
Friday, 8am, Bristol Airport.
My brother and I, sitting on an EasyJet flight, bound for Geneva, watching our luggage being loaded into the hold. Except his bike. It, and about eight other bike bags, trundle back to the shed. We call the steward over and ask why his bike doesn’t appear to be coming on the plane with us. The steward tells us the bike is probably going into the rear hold and we say, no, there it is, in that shed over there. The steward bustles off and comes back, saying the hold is over-capacity and that my brother’s bike will be ‘prioritised’ for the next flight from Bristol to Geneva, ie it might – *might* – make it out on the same flight the following day.
The cycling event we had signed up for, in Morzine, two hours drive from Geneva, was starting the following morning – but instead, we would have to come in from Morzine, at our expense, to see if the bike had been sent on the Saturday flight. Or we try hire a bike in Morzine (over the biggest cycling weekend in their calendar…) and trust that some nice chap in Geneva airport looks after my brother horribly pricey Santa Cruz Nomad for the weekend. Or we get off the plane.
As we’re having this conversation, several other cyclists on the flight, most heading off to the same event as us, starts asking if their bike has made it on to the plane. The steward begins to look worried, and gives my brother and I two minutes to decide whether we stay on the flight or get off now. Unhappy and bleary from late-night bike packing, we say we want off the plane. At the foot of the stairs from the plane, on the runway apron, a man in ear defenders with a clipboard says, politely, we’re about to cause the flight to ‘miss its slot’. We politely point out that we wouldn’t be here had EasyJet not made the decision to take payment for at least 8 more bikes than it can get in its hold. Clipboard man says he’ll pull another bike out of the hold and put my brother’s on. We say no thanks.
Several baggage handlers then spend 20 minutes finding our luggage and my bike in the hold. Once they’ve got it out, the handlers then proceed to stuff every other bike, apart from ours into the hold. We ask Clipboard man why he can’t get my brother’s bike on and he says there’s no room… We traipse back into the airport and watch as the flight leaves for Geneva.
My brother and I take stock. It’s a beautiful day. We have a whole weekend ahead of us, and our bike stuff ready to go. So we head to Coed y Brenin in Snowdonia – a magnificent drive – and spend a weekend mountain-biking there instead. Even more magnificent.
Nevertheless, here are a few questions for EasyJet and its customers to ponder.
- Had we not coincidentally looked out of the plane window, when would EasyJet have told us that several bikes hadn’t made it on to the plane? Before take-off? I doubt it – they need to ‘make their slot’ at all costs. During the flight? I don’t think so – why would they want all that grief from the cyclists mid-flight? In Geneva, to a big group of confused cyclists standing by the oversized luggage counter wondering where their bikes are? Not much choice by this point – so yes, I reckon this is when we might have had the bad news.
- Why do EasyJet overbook flights with bikes and other sporting equipment ? Can’t they monitor this and act accordingly?
- Particularly, why do they do so over summer weekends when people are flying out to the France andSwitzerland for bike events and – guess what – need their bikes to come with them on that flight, and not a day later (with luck)… EasyJet may well point to their terms and conditions, which stipulate they only carry sporting equipment ‘subject to space’, but if they’re happy to exploit the weekend cyclist market, why don’t they look after them better?
- When do EasyJet ditch their rigorous safety procedure regarding luggage capacity – Never? Or when they’re getting it in the neck from a bunch of cyclist passengers who might all decide to get off the plane at the last moment, causing EasyJet to dig their luggage out of the hold and possibly miss another slot and cost them quite a bit of cash?
I put these questions to EasyJet over a week ago, and have had no response.Tagged in: EasyJet, mountain-biking, Pass'portes du Soleil
Recent Posts on Notebook
- Chagos: Conservationists are swimming in murky waters
- Justin Webb on the medical advances in tackling heart disease
- The Photography Blog: 'Control Order House' by Edmund Clark - Photographing our response to terrorism
- Dementia Awareness Week: Should we keep an open mind to spiritual solutions?
- Hearing loss: An invisible impairment and a preventable disability
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter