EasyJet passengers have reported being charged a fortune when they try to change their flights following FCO advice not to travel.
Melissa Riggs was shocked when she went to change her Malaga to London easyJet flight at the beginning of April, which is still scheduled to run despite the Spanish lockdown.
She was told that changing it to arrive in Liverpool in October, for two passengers, one way, would cost her between €300 and €800 depending on when she flew.
But when she looked into buying flights directly from Malaga to Liverpool she was able to get two return tickets for just €127 in total.
You can keep up to date on our latest coverage over on our coronavirus advice hub.
IT issues cause passengers pain
EasyJet has explained that the issue was caused by an IT problem. It said:
‘We experienced an IT issue for those who wanted to change to one of the winter flights which went on sale on Wednesday on the website. We apologise for any inconvenience this caused and the issue has been rectified.’
The airline has promised to refund Melissa for the €127 extra that she spent but we have seen numerous complaints online that other passengers had the same issue on Wednesday.
Ryanair refunds still not working
EasyJet isn’t the only airline to be struggling to cope with the unprecedented crisis.
We’re still seeing complaints from Ryanair passengers that its refund system is not working. Some passengers say they’ve resorted to trying to use it at 4am, to try and find a time when it’s not overwhelmed.
The airline is also yet to confirm whether it will refund passengers who were told yesterday – with just two hours’ notice – that their flights were back on. Legally no refund is due if the flight operates, and the only option that passengers have is to rebook for a different date (and hope that the rebooked flight is cancelled).
Passengers still stranded abroad
EasyJet is also one of the airlines that’s dealing with passengers fearful that they will be stranded abroad.
One passenger, Elizabeth Biddle, told us that her flight from Alicante, Spain to Liverpool on 24 March was cancelled. She was told that she could change the booking online or simply go to the airport and hope to get on a plane on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
But she couldn’t get the online booking system to work. Nor did she think it was a good idea to give up the hire car at the airport if they weren’t ultimately able to get on a flight. In the end she had to pay another €266 for a new flight with Jet2.
EasyJet told us ‘We are working hard to provide a programme of repatriation flights which continue to be published on our latest travel information as soon as they are confirmed.’ These can be found here.
What should I do if I’m stranded abroad?
The holiday company, travel agent or airline that you booked with is obliged to get you home.
In normal circumstances we would advise to you to contact it and wait for it to arrange a flight. This should still be your first step, but in this unprecedented crisis many companies are falling short, and embassies haven’t always been able to help.
It may be advisable to get on the first available flight home and not wait for arrangements to be made for you. You are entitled to claim back expenses from your holiday provider.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘Airlines must stop cashing in on the misfortune of their customers, and prioritise getting them home safely – going above and beyond their legal obligations where necessary.
‘The government must also up its game and provide British citizens fearful of being stranded abroad with useful advice.
‘Where scheduled services have been withdrawn, it should explore all options to get these people on flights home.’