My wife and I have recently taken three EasyJet flights in Europe and were quite impressed with the level of service despite the low cost. We have flown EasyJet and a couple of the other low cost European airlines in the past, but this time we got to see firsthand how the airline deals with customer service problems. To be honest, our expectations were extremely low because we tend to believe that ‘you get what you pay for’ however EasyJet managed to over-deliver.
Here is a list of our EasyJet flights;
- London to Amsterdam,
- Amsterdam to Geneva,
- Geneva to Budapest
The total cost for two of us including two checked in bags was 503 euros (Checked in luggage costs extra). So on average it works out to about 84 euros per flight per person.
What is EasyJet?
EasyJet is a bare bones airline. It can offer cheap flights because it operates extremely cheaply. This means no free drinks or snacks on board. EasyJet uses distant terminals far from the airport center without the connector arms that allow passengers to quickly enter the terminal. There is no assigned seating so passengers have to fight to find a seat.
EasyJet also charges for every little extra service. Want to enter the airplane first? 8 to 10 euro. Want to check in a bag? 8 to 10 euro. Food or drinks? You must pay. If your carry on is over weight, 10 euros per kilogram. With the low prices and all the extra charges, we definitely felt that we were going to be cheated somewhere along the way. We brought a lot of stuff with us and one of our check-in bags was slightly over-weight, but none of this was an issue.
Stranded in Amsterdam
The big problem was a canceled flight in Amsterdam. There is only one EasyJet flight out of Amsterdam to Geneva everyday and it was canceled because of a crew illness. All the passengers had to be rescheduled to later flights. Needless to say, passengers were angry. Some were yelling at the EasyJet staff. People were pushing and shoving trying to get ahead in line. It was an ugly site, yet the EasyJet staff remained calm and friendly. I really was impressed. I was joking with the staff a little because I definitely didn’t envy their jobs at that moment.
The thought of being stranded without a place to stay was enough to upset most passengers. However, EasyJet immediately offered to pay for tickets on a competing airline and/or hotel accommodations and meals for all stranded passengers. In fact, many people including myself were suspicious EasyJet would payout that much money for our 60 euro flight.
We went to KLM to try to find another flight to Geneva but found the staff unfriendly and unhelpful. One KLM employee didn’t believe that EasyJet would pay for the flights on a competing airline. To be honest, that gave me reason to further doubt that EasyJet would really pay 5 times or more the price of our airfare to get us out on a competing airline. Since all the flights were booked for the next couple of days we had to go back to the EasyJet counter, only to find out that the earliest available flight was in three more days. Fortunately, EasyJet really did pay for all meals and hotel for those extra days.
The hotel was quite nice as well. It was the four star NH Hotel Schipol near the airport. The rooms were clean and spacious and the food was good. The only problem was the staff at the hotel. Perhaps because we were stranded passengers, we were definitely treated as second rate guests. I was going to write a long rant about how terribly we were treated but I hate being that negative. To briefly summarize, we were locked out of our room twice, threatened to be forced to ‘sleep on the street’ and blatantly lied to by the front desk manager who wouldn’t even come out to talk to us even though she was less than 5 meters away in the front desk office. (If you every happen to be walking past an NH Hotel please give it the finger and keep on walking.)
Despite my pleading the NH Schipol hotel front desk clerk and front desk night manager refused to verify our stay with EasyJet. The hotel manager said it was my responsibility and said if I wanted access to the room I would have to pay the full rate immediately. Finally after about 30 minutes of the front desk clerk going back and forth to talk to the hidden manager, they allowed me to call EasyJet from the hotel phone. (30 minutes later!) A friendly EasyJet customer service representative quickly answered, apologized for the problem and said she would fix it immediately.
Of course, we still had to wait another 15 minutes for the hotel to verify that the EasyJet representative was legitimate but once again EasyJet delivered. They gave me the benefit of the doubt when I called on the phone. The phone representative didn’t ask for flight details, passport numbers or any nonsense like that. EasyJet just assumed I was telling the truth and quickly worked to solve my problem. Despite already staying two nights in the hotel, NH Schipol assumed my wife and I were criminals out to cheat them. They were unwilling to make a simple phone call that would have immediately solved all the misunderstanding.
I truly was amazed that low budget airline like EasyJet can deliver great customer service , but a large high quality hotel chain can’t offer basic levels of human decency and respect. Thank you EasyJet! NH Hotels… @%#^$&*().