The criteria that easyJet use to bump passengers off overbooked flights has been revealed. The secret to staying on a flight where more tickets have been sold than there are seats is to be part of a family on an easyJet package.
It’s common practice for airlines to oversell seats. We’re told this is to avoid empty seats and ghost flights. EasyJet has reported its “typical no-show rate” as five per cent, which the Independent points out is nine passengers per flight.
If everyone turns up to fly, the carrier has a problem and must offer cash for volunteers to step down from the flight, or start ‘unboarding’ people forcibly (albeit with compensation).
The Independent and other sources have reported on the case in spring 2023 of the Archer family who were due to take an easyJet flight to Faro in Portugal for a package holiday in the Algarve. Technical difficulties led to a smaller plane than expected being used, meaning some passengers – including seven of the Archers – were removed from the flight, turning the group holiday into a farce.
When easyJet were asked to comment, they in fact apologised for misapplying their own rules, which, they say, prioritise a range of customers when it comes to overbooking clashes, easyJet package holidaymakers among them.
“Our ground staff are given guidance on which groups of customers to try and avoid selecting not to travel in the event where not enough volunteers come forward when an aircraft is downgraded, which includes a number of groups like those requiring special assistance and, where possible, easyJet Holidays customers,” a spokesperson told the Independent.
On this occasion, due to the late-notice aircraft change and amount of activity taking place at the gate, our ground handling partners unfortunately did not identify the family as being easyJet holidays customers, for which we are sorry.easyJet
What to do if they want to bump you?
1. If you’re booked as part of a family and package, make sure the staff handling the flight numbers know this. There might be “guidance” to help protect you.
2. Do you want a free night out in your current city? If the answer is yes, it’s worth noting you should get a hotel for the night and enough money for a pretty good time. European regulations stipulate €250 for short-haul flights (1,500km/932 miles or less), €400 for medium-haul flights (between 1,500km and 3,500km/932 miles and 2,175 miles) and up to €600 for long-haul flights (more than 3,500km).
You should note that choosing to re-route to an arrival within two hours of your scheduled arrival time (increasing to three hours for medium, and four hours for long haul flights) could affect the amount of compensation you get.
3. It’s worth noting too that if you don’t put yourself forward but then you are bumped anyway, you get the same compensation as a volunteer.