Passengers on delayed easyJet flight are given 86 years to browse duty-free shops
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 29 July 2013
Britain’s biggest budget airline cancelled a late-night flight – then told passengers to wait 86 years and one day for a replacement.
After waiting for a delayed departure from Geneva airport, 130 passengers booked aboard easyJet flight 8485 were told by email that they were grounded for eight decades.
The message from the airline read: “We are writing to inform you that your flight will depart as 9485 at 11:00 local time on 29/07/2099.”
The airline apologised for the “significant inconvenience” that a wait until the eve of the 22nd century might cause, and expressed the hope that passengers “will give us another chance in the future”.
The airline blamed bad weather at Geneva airport for the postponement. A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said: “Because the delay is weather-related, it is unlikely compensation will be due, but that does not affect your rights to accommodation, food and phone calls.”
If any passengers were fortunate enough to live until the summer of 2099, easyJet would be responsible for providing them with three meals and two international phone calls every day, plus a hotel room every night.
At current Swiss prices that is likely to cost £6m per passenger – 100,000 times the average fare paid.
The world’s oldest operating airline, KLM, is 94 years old; easyJet is a relative upstart, being in its 18th year. By 2099, easyJet will be 104.
A spokesman for easyJet said last night: “This was a systems error which only affected one flight. Even our new long-term fleet deal doesn’t take us that far into the future.”
As passengers settled in for a long wait, some called easyJet customer services to ask for their money back. Refunds were promised within 20 working days, rather than decades. Later, passengers were told that the original cancellation was, in fact, caused by a technical issue with the aircraft.
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