EasyJet flight grounded after pilot bitten by mosquito

Passenger left unhappy with the delay but the airline claims ‘safety and wellbeing’ of customers was its priority

Benjamin Parker
Wednesday 18 October 2023 17:52 BST

Related video: Dragons' Den star Touker Suleyman rants at easyJet staff over flight 'delayed by four days'

An easyJet flight was delayed for more than five hours after one of its pilots was bitten by a mosquito.

The Airbus A320 was grounded at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport before it was able to fly to Manchester, leaving passengers waiting in the terminal, unaware of what was happening as the plane was cleaned.

Rachel Green, a 27-year-old veterinary nurse, was among those caught up in the delay.

“The departure time on the board kept going up and up. Eventually, the pilot came out and told us that he’d been bitten by a mosquito in the cockpit, so he wanted the entire plane deep-cleaned in case there were more bugs,” she told The Sun.

The flight, which only takes just over an hour, was due to depart the Netherlands at 5.05pm on 25 September. As the time got pushed back, passengers were allegedly initially told that the wait was due to “technical difficulties”.

The plane eventually landed in the UK at 10.30pm.

EasyJet confirmed to The Independent that the flight was delayed after insects were found in the cabin and “additional cleaning” was required.

“To be clear, at no point was the flight crew’s ability to operate the flight compromised, and the captain made the decision to operate as soon as the issue was resolved,” said a spokesperson.

“As this is an extraordinary circumstance outside of airlines’ control, in line with regulations no compensation is due. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority and we would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused.”

The Independent has contacted Schiphol Amsterdam Airport for further information.

Ms Green was unhappy with the way the incident was handled, suggesting that the airline “could’ve flow another plane” to carry the passengers. She claimed that those waiting were only given a food voucher worth £3.90 during the delay.

Under UK law, airlines must provide passengers with “care and assistance” if a flight is significantly delayed, according to the UK Civil Aviation Authority. For short-haul flights such as Amsterdam to Manchester, this is a delay of two hours or more, and includes offering “a reasonable amount of food and drink” – often provided in the form of vouchers.

Airlines have to provide compensation if a flight arrives at its destination more than three hours late and it is their fault. However, easyJet claims this is an “extraordinary circumstance” outside of its control, which means no compensation is due.

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