You might recall that last week Ryanair settled a legal action brought by Stelios. He was upset that he had been branded a cheat for not publishing easyJet’s punctuality record. Ryanair appeared to accept that Stelios was not personally involved in this and therefore paid up. The actual question of easyJet’s poor timekeeping was not part of the legal action.
Then, mysteriously, just a couple of days after the settlement, The Sunday Times published a damaging story about the serious timekeeping problems of easyJet. Even stranger, this article appeared in the Business section of the paper – it was really a general interest subject which should have been in the main section since there was no business or investment issue in the piece.
It is well known that much of the Business sections of the Sunday newspapers are based on PR “drops” from companies wanting to boost themselves or spread poison on their rivals.
Do you think there is just a vague possibility that an Irish company might have helpfully fed this story to The Sunday Times?
German newspapers are full of easyJet stories at the moment because of delays and cancellations at Berlin and we imagine the British press will soon follow, with or without any help from our Irish friends.
If you doubt that easyJet has problems just go to the Arrivals section of any UK airport where they operate and look at their evening flights. Yesterday was not a good day for any airline because of some go-slows by air traffic controllers in Spain and France. Delays were to be expected but it is worth looking at how the different airlines coped.
Most of British Airways’ Gatwick flights arrived on schedule with a few more than fifty minutes late. EasyJet had fourteen flights delayed by between an hour and four hours. They also had at least four evening cancellations – including a flight to Dalaman. This is not funny – it is one thing trying to rebook a flight to Amsterdam but try getting a seat on a flight to Dalaman in high season. Tabloid journalists should be queuing up to write some “easyJet ruined my holiday” stories.
Air traffic control problems will probably get worse in the next three weeks. This will give easyJet an excuse for its problems but, if you are delayed by more than three hours or have a cancelled flight, you should not accept this excuse. The airline must be compared with other airlines. Yesterday was fairly typical – other airlines managed with minimal delays, easyJet did not.
If you have a delay or cancellation, do not hesitate to go to Court – but evidence of other airlines’ performance will help your case.
Only by publicity and having to pay compensation will easyJet learn – let’s hope they learn quickly.