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 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?


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.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor