Britain’s biggest budget airline has cancelled 32 flights between the UK and Italy ahead of a national strike on Friday 25 October.
The easyJet groundings affect an estimated 5,000 passengers – but the airline has failed to give travellers a proper picture of their rights.
The Independent has been contacted by passengers booked on the Friday afternoon departure from Catania in Sicily to Gatwick, one of the cancelled flights.
They have been told: “You can transfer onto a new flight.”
But half-term for many schools begins or ends at the weekend, and so demand is strong, with many flights fully booked. With no space on easyJet services for days, there is no mention of using another airline.
Under European air passengers’ rights rules, as spelt out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), if easyJet cannot provide a suitable alternative flight on the same day then it must buy seats on another airline.
The Independent has asked easyJet why it has not offered passengers the option to travel on different carriers.
Fares from Italy are soaring, with one seat left on the British Airways departure from Rome to Heathrow at 8am on Friday for €441 (£381); other fares are much higher.
Travellers on the cancelled easyJet flight from Catania have also been told: “We would like to offer you a hotel room for the night of the 25 October.”
One customer, who did not want to be named, said: “It makes us worry that there is a one-night limit.”
Yet easyJet is obliged to provide accommodation – and meals – for stranded passengers until they get home.
The same rules apply to passengers booked on Alitalia, which has cancelled more than 200 domestic and European flights on Friday.
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