Last week I travelled to Mallorca with my wife and son. We paid easyjet a not insignificant sum, but blimey did they feel like we were paying in blood!
1. We arrived early to be rewarded with an hour long queue. People arriving late were rewarded by being whisked to the front. That made everyone in the queue feel like valued customers.
2. We paid for three seats, but when we got on board we discovered there were only three separate seats for us. There policy of having unallocated seating often backfires apparently. And is it really any faster. We delayed them 10 mins trying to get seated. Eventually my wife sat three rows ahead with my son on her lap. Breaking airlIne regulations in the process and causing no little discomfort.
3. On the return leg we arrived early to avoid a repeat failure. We queued at an unspecified easyjet check in desk, and when we reached the front were told we had 10 mins to wait. And no, we couldn’t wait to the side, we had to re-queue. So we did, and 25 mins later we reached the front only to be told by the same guy that he was going on his break and would be replaced shortly. He said to wait where we were. A queue of people built up so after 20 mins we asked another easyjet employee when someone would be coming and they said our desk was now closed and we should join one of the, now considerably longer, queues.
My wife has the patience of a saint but she put her foot down. After 5 mins arguing we were taken to the front of the queue and checked in. Great for us but rubbish for everyone else waiting, who felt we were getting preferential treatment.
All these failures were avoidable but stemmed from a service designed around company targets and not experience targets – fast boardings to maximise airline use. Poorly resourced desks to minimise overheads. Overall neglect that this experience has anything to do with a pleasurable leisure activity.
Is it a case of you get what you pay for? Am I asking for it from the first week of the shool holidays? Do we British ask for poor service because we so blithely accept it? All those arguments are unacceptable excuses when you talk about a modern, profitable company like easyjet. Unfortunately I will only find out what they really believe from their complaints department.