Simon Calder: easyJet free flights Q&A

 

Q&A: easyJet promises business passengers a free flight if they arrive more than 15 minutes late. This guide explains how it works

In summer 2010, easyJet was plagued by cancellations and delays: barely half its flights took off on time (or no more than 15 minutes late, the industry standard for punctuality). To show how the airline has improved, it has launched an unprecedented offer which awards a free flight to delayed passengers – so long as they have the right sort of ticket (ie an expensive one). “Unlike our competitors,” says the airline, “We don’t think delays can be smoothed over with a bag of peanuts and an apology – while you sit on the Tarmac”.

When does the scheme take effect – and who stands to benefit?

It applies to all easyJet flights in October and November 2011. Only passengers travelling on a “flexi” ticket, easyJet’s new business-travel fare, can qualify. Those tickets cost two or three times more than the typical ordinary fare, but include one piece of baggage, speedy boarding and the right to switch flights between one week before and three weeks after the original departure.

How do you define the arrival time?

The expected time is whatever it says on your confirmation email. The actual time is “The time at which the seatbelt sign is switched off on arrival at the destination airport,” according to easyJet. This makes it more stringent than some airlines that time their arrival from the moment the wheels touch down.

Are all delays included?

No: easyJet says it won’t pay out if the delay counts as “Excluded Circumstances”, which “includes any significant external factors causing delay which are outside of easyJet’s control”. The airline says that these include, but are not limited to, “major weather disruption, snow, strike action, ash clouds etc.” That seems to be a fairly broad “get-out” clause: if your evening flight from Amsterdam to Gatwick is half-an-hour late, for example, the airline may simply explain it as air-traffic control delays, beyond its control, earlier in the day.

How do I claim my free flight?

Within four weeks of the delayed flight, send an e-mail to freeflight@easyjet.com that includes the booking reference and details of the delayed flight, and your phone number. The easyJet Contact Centre checks these details and then gets in touch to book the free flight.

How free is the “free flight”, and what are the restrictions?

easyJet will pay taxes, but if you want to check in a bag (or insist on speedy boarding) it will cost you extra. The three significant restrictions:

1. You must travel between have to book at least two weeks before travel

2. You must take the free flight by 31 March 2012.

3. There are some “blackout dates”, starting with all bank holidays, and also the main school holiday periods: 22-30 October, 22 December-3 January, 11-19 February.

I can’t take advantage of a free flight between now and the end of March next year. Can I give it to someone else?

No.

The free flight is only one way. How do I get home?

However you like! Naturally easyJet will hope that you will buy a flight, but you are free to choose any other carrier.

What do easyJet’s rivals have to say?

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Europe’s biggest low-cost airline, said “Ryanair remains Europe’s number one on-time airline, beating easyJet’s punctuality every week for the last five million years.”

A spokesman for British Airways said “Flying is always sweet with British Airways. No charge for food and drink. No charge for choosing your seat the day before you fly. No charge for checking in a 23 kilo bag. No charge for booking by debit card. And no gimmicks.”

And Alex Cruz, chief executive of Vueling, said “At Vueling, we don’t need to do that. Our punctuality record has been consistently the highest in Spain for the last three years, including in the bad ash-cloud and ATC-strike days. We have a large percentage of business customers (41%) and many of them already choose us because we are dependable.”

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: MI Developer

    £35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...

    Recruitment Genius: Fitness Manager

    £20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Manager

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...

    Recruitment Genius: Learning Team Administrator

    £17500 - £20500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for a great te...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence