Sunday, July 18, 2010

Amateur Night Flight

It seems that the combination of Easyjet and the new operators of Gatwick Airport is a lethal one. And it's not an experience I shall be repeating in a hurry.

Our flight back to Gatwick from Heraklion was supposed to take off at 11.15 last night. It took off at 1.30am.

When we got to Gatwick at 3.30 after a four hour flight we had to wait 20 minutes for buses. And now, at 4.30ish we have just been told that we will have to wait at least an hour and a half for our baggage, along with the other 8 Easyjet flights which have arrived late.

If we'd paid £20 for our flights you might think we ought not to complain, but they cost over £300 each.

I've had better treatment in third world airports than this.

The new operators of Gatwick Airport, whoever they are, ought to be ashamed of themselves.

There. I feel better having got that off my chest.


Lossie Beachcomber said...

Fly Easyjet at your peril! False economy. (yes i saw you paid £300 for the tickets.. but as far as i'm concerned they are a poor airline with cheap running through everything they do.)

Johnny Norfolk said...

Its not what david cameron has been saying about Easyjet. Welcome back.

Tim Allman said...

Your story reminds me of our Gatwick experience two year ago when we were returning from holiday in the Canary Islands. Our flight left very late into the evening and landed in the middle of the night at Gatwick. When we arrived in the baggage reclaim hall it was like the scene in a third world airport and we were shocked to see many lost and unclaimed bags in random piles around the hall.

There were no staff visible to us for quite some time as we waited for ages for our bags. Was it busy? No – only four flights on the arrivals board. Finally we saw a member of staff with a bright yellow tee-shirt emblazoned with a “Here to Help” slogan. Unfortunately the only thing he was helping himself to was a cup of tea. Other similarly clad night staff were not doing what it said on the tee-shirt.

As the mood was starting to turn ugly there was some shouting and jeering, and I pointed out to my daughter that the next person we see in a uniform will not be a member the airport staff but a policeman. Sadly I was correct.

My next prediction was that the carousel would start moving to calm people down but no bags would appear for ages. Sadly I was also correct

Nearly two hours after our flight had landed the bags appeared on the carousel. No apologies, no staff, no nothing. We did see a cleaner though.

We later heard that our bags had been delivered to the wrong terminal. Whether this was true or not I don’t know and at that stage I didn’t care. I had two tired and grumpy children and an equally tired and grumpy wife with me and all we wanted to do get home and have some sleep.

Michel S. said...

I recently priced Munich->Manchester flights and EasyJet comes in with higher quotes than Singapore Airlines, so yes, they're not even that cheap anymore.

After my sister's experience with delays on EasyJet, I would have flown SQ even if the price differential is in the other direction.

Anonymous said...

Such a sensitive soul you are, Iain.

My flight, admittedly from France to Morocco, by Royal Air Maroc, was scheduled for 13:30 on a Monday and actually took off at 05:30 on Tuesday.

If you go to third world countries and choose to fly low cost expect to get treated a bit of roughly.

Ean Craigie said...

Welcome home?????????

Maverick Ways said...

Look on the bright side: you could have been "interviewed" by Jon Snow as well.

Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

If buses or trains are late (wrong kind of snow etc) they get it in the neck. Air travellers are treated worse than cattle.

Anoneumouse said...

You haven't been on holiday with Tom Harris have you. He has just posted on his blog for the first time in a week or two too.

dr andrew said...

welcome home!

similar experience flying into gatwick from Rhodes..our flight was only 30 min late and arrives after 1 am

Then had to wait another hour and a half for suitcases to appear. McKenzie the ground hanlers apologies saying something like the arrival of the aircraft was unexpected although scheduled!

If it happened in greece we would all be saying third world country etc but when it happens in the newly rebranded gatwick " the london airport" we just nod and wait..

Top tip if flying to islands try and book on a charter flight with thompson or thomas cook.... reserved seats and better service

Hamish said...

Iain, this is a satirical spoof, right?
Right up there with Polly Filla.
Let me guess the next episode.
When you got home you found the dozey au pair had failed to iron the shirts and clean out the guttering,...

Good to have you safely back.
How about a blog post.

Alex said...

I don't suppose its any consolation, but I've had far worse treatment in third world airports.

Dr Evadne said...

How about the bus replacement service two and from the terminal building? Nothing annoys me more than been carted round and round the airside complex of an airport for 30 minutes or more wasting time that could have been spent in the lounge. Sometimes this journey is longer than the actual flight.

MikeyP said...

Never really had a problem with Easyjet. Ryanair and Monarch, not that is another story!

Anonymous said...

Gatwick IS a third-world airport, just like Heath Row.

The Grim Reaper said...

Erm... yeah.

So hello again, Iain. When are you going to be showing us your holiday snaps?

Autonomous Mind said...

Iain, it is not the airport operator, it is the staffing of the handling agent at that time of the morning that delayed you.

At that hour there would be a skeleton staff and if a number of delayed flights arrive together there are not enough hands to get several aircraft on stand, opened up, passengers into the terminal baggage unloaded at the same time.

Unknown said...

Time to spare? Go by air!

Cynic said...

Welcome back.

An abiding memory of Gatwick in BAA days was arriving downstairs in a lift with a luggage trolley to find Departures was so crowded we literally couldn't get out of the lift.In the end we had to jam the doors open and force our way out through a huge queue. It was like the descent into Hades. It was hot and people were bickering and fighting, pushing and shoving.

By the way, if you are outbound and its busy the Servisair lounge is about £14 with free drinks and a degree of quiet and sanity

Paul Halsall said...

Welcome back. I missed you....

Osama the Nazarene said...

Never had any problems with Easyjet though O'leary seems to think they constantly run late. Must be in the last year. What is concerning is your tale of woe at Gatwick. Maybe BAA provided a more customer freindly service after all though @Autonomous Mind above may have an explanation but not an excuse.

Dick the Prick said...

We got stuck in Zurich for a bit last summer and they had tellies, boozers and ...... smoking rooms where we could sit, get pissed and watch Wimbledon - it almost felt like we were being treated like citizens. Ah, bliss, couldn't happen here. Weasels.

janestheone said...

oh bum. am flying easyjet into Gatwick from Basel in two weeks' time and have a train to catch - but will not be checking in bag and is daytime flight

Not a sheep said...

According to Sunday papers EasyJet has a worse take-off punctuality record than Air Zimbabwe.

I avoid "budget" airlines, preferring to fly with national carriers especially BA. The non-budget airlines cost hardly any more and usually treat one like a human rather than a wallet to be emptied by charging for 'extras'.

Welcome back!

Matthew Dear said...

Arriving at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airways (and checking in to return) were my most seamless and efficient experiences of air travel. Seriously.

Shame that I had to suffer LHR on my return.

Iain Dale said...


I was sorry to hear of your experience this weekend when travelling with easyJet. As a result of an Air Traffic Control dispute we were forced to delay the inbound flight to Heraklion, which in-turn caused a knock-on delay to your flight back to the UK. Whilst the circumstances are outside of the airline’s control, I can assure you that we did everything possible to minimise the delay.

I note the comments about the lengthy delay in the baggage hall at Gatwick, and will take this up with Menzies, our ground handler.

I sincerely hope that this experience will nto deter you from travelling with us in the future.

bewick said...

Welcome to the real world.
Not just Easyjet. For a long time I was regularly flying BA from Gatwick on Friday evenings.
The flight was regularly delayed which meant that my pre-booked taxi from Newcastle couldn't pick me up. He had the nous to check on the internet and texted me when he knew that he could no longer collect me.
The flight actually started in Switzerland and was regularly delayed. Despite the flight number being the same BA always denied that. At least I got a couple of free flights as a result - quite right too.
Stop carping Iain and accept what we all have to accept.

Unknown said...

Gatwick is the THIRD WORLD country airport, today they are leaving people on the planes for 3 hours because there is NO way to clean the snow.
Guess what? It is winter and guess what? it snows, like in Denmark/Germany/Switzerland and many other civilized countries..

Gatwick is the worst airport in the world, avoid it or use it at your own peril!