Lessons in Customer Service from Discount Airline EasyJet.com

Great Customer Service from EasyJet

Great Customer Service from EasyJet

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… @%#^$&*().

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

11 Responses to Lessons in Customer Service from Discount Airline EasyJet.com

  1. Phil says:

    As a frequent user of EasyJet it is true you can’t beat the value (on some routes). But, you are missing a key component of your tale. By law, in Europe, EasyJet (or any other airline) HAD to do something for you because they cancelled the flight.

    To quote the regulations:

    “By contrast with rights on a delay, passengers on a cancellation are also entitled to monetary compensation. The amounts vary according to the distance of the flights. Passengers should receive 250 euros where the cancelled flight is for 1,500km or less; 400 euros where the cancelled intra Community flight is for more than 1,500 km or is a non intra-Community flight for 1,500 to 3,500km and 600 euros for all other flights.
    These amounts may be reduced by 50% where passengers are offered re-routing and the arrival time is no more than four hours than the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked.”

    But – as you have observed – there are many ways to implement the rules. Sometimes EJ do a good job, but it is down to the person you get.
    There was a TV series out of the UK that follows EasyJet, and despite the constant presence of cameras, their staff are not always friendly (causing EJ to pull the plug on the show, actually!). I think most people in Europe see EJ as a necessary evil more than a pleasure!

    But I am glad you guys had a good experience. Personally I have had mostly good experiences with EJ (apart from the ever increasing costs of extras) and recommend them to people traveling short jumps inside Europe (and who can book well in advance!)
    .-= Phil´s last blog ..How not to sell – Earth to Rich Schefren! =-.

  2. John says:

    Thanks Phil,

    EasyJet gave us a document outlining our rights as a passenger so I knew they were obligated to offer those benefits. (I didn’t want to take away from the service we received. :-)) I think the Amsterdam staff did a particularly good job of dealing with the angry passengers.

    Most passengers had the same type of reaction that I did to the cancellation. First its anger, than they hear they will be given food and accommodations and then is ‘Okay, it’s not so bad.’ The rapid change in attitudes was very interesting.That is the part I really wanted to talk about. With prices so low, passengers always seem to be searching for things to disappoint them. I felt that EasyJet treated everyone very well.

  3. Earl says:

    I’ve never flown them before but it’s always good to hear a positive customer service story from an industry that doesn’t always have the best track record. At the end of the day, it is the attitude of the staff (no matter how unfortunate and frustrating the situation) that will determine that outcome.

    I remember being shocked when I was met at the gate by a US Airways representative last year who personally escorted me to their customer service desk, retrieved an already prepared envelope with my name on it and explained all of the instructions for my hotel stay, transportation, meals and re-booked flight. This occurred when my original flight was delayed by 6 hours and I missed the connection.

    Just seeing someone holding a sign with my name on it upon exiting the aircraft made a huge difference in how I reacted.

    On another note, any progress on your possible Turkey plans?
    .-= Earl´s last blog ..How Does A Permanent Nomad Pack =-.

  4. John says:

    Greetings Earl,

    It is unfortunate that great service seems to be more of the exception rather than the rule now. I love countries like Japan because there still is a respect for customers. It doesn’t take any extra money or much effort to actually care. It is too bad that attitudes are so terrible now. Everyone complains of getting poor service, but I suspect that many of those same people are giving bad service too.

    Yes, we are most likely going to Turkey, with short stops in Romania and Bulgaria. I will be in touch shortly.

  5. I came across someone the other day who highly recommended easy jet for a flight to Turkey. I was very surprised as it was four hours but they said the service was better than that they have received from other airlines.

    Are you coming to Turkey as well as Earl?

    Signing up for email subscription just incase you do as I love reading about other peoples experience of Turkey.
    .-= Natalie – Turkish Travel Blog.´s last blog ..Solo Traveler – Wandering Earl In Turkey =-.

  6. Hi John, I was interested to read your experience with EasyJet. I’ve avoided them in the past due to my fear of getting what you paid for. That’s awesome that you got such great service. They clearly lost money on your flight. I didn’t realize that airline passengers have a lot more rights in Europe than they do in the US. I’ve never heard of NH Hotels but I will be sure to avoid them now!
    .-= Jennifer Barry´s last blog ..Cowboys and Culture =-.

  7. […] (who doesn’t?) and rude staff at his hotel, but was impressed with the customer service at Easy Jet. Shannon shares her top 6 travel mistakes, including fun with time zones. Wandering Earl […]

  8. Charles says:

    How does EasyJet compare to RyanAir. When I used RyanAir, they nickeld and dime for everything, which I guess is the norm now. At least they had empathy.

    • John says:

      I personally prefer EasyJet. On the EasyJet website they have a great map showing all the places they fly so that you can plan your trip through different hub cities.

      RyanAir is cheaper on many routes but I haven’t been so impressed.

  9. Pascal says:

    Easyjet : low cost, low humanity, high profit !

    I had to cancel a trip for surgery reason and thought in this situation, I would be reimbursed by the company. Oh no !
    1/ only one reason is acceptable to Easyjet : death and grief.
    2/ if you want to offer your tickets to a friend or sell them as second-hands…they will bill you the difference between the current price and your original price + 50 euro penalty per ticket to change the name.
    3/ so, you only have the 3rd option if your insurance company or your credit card service cover this situation : be refund by them. But even to do that, Easyjet ( which will finally keep your money + sell your seat a second time ) will bill you 12 euros to release the “no show” paper…
    Easyjet are like dogs ! I can easily imagine them asking you for 100 euros to use a defibrilator, and of course decline all responsibility in case of crashing…because you clicked the general conditions !
    This company has not understood yet that today the business players have to “buy” their right to sell towards the society. Via relationship, service, ethics, environmental action, etc. Their brand image is at stake !
    Not sure a thief is a good brand image…

    • John says:

      Hi Pascal,

      Sorry that you had a bad experience. The ticket prices are so cheap, that I personally don’t mind the restrictions.

      You could pay 15-20 times the price to get business class tickets that are refundable on traditional airlines. Then you’d also have access to much more comfortable seats, better meals, airport lounges, etc.

      The problem is that most people don’t want to pay 20 times the price for those luxuries.

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