Please see bottom of the post for an update.
If you're a regular reader of my blog you will know that as a family we love traveling. We have flown all all over the world with our children and Eva took her first flight at 6 months old. She adores flying and normally relishes in the experience. However, what happened on our flight last week has tarnished her enjoyment. She was left absolutely distraught which was distressing for all of us.
We booked our flights to Turkey with EasyJet a few months ago for myself, hubby, Eva who is 3.5, Ophelia who is 8 months old and my dad. We hadn't given sitting together a second thought as EasyJet say they seat families together. It's the first time we have booked with EasyJet as a family.
The following is copied from EasyJet's website: It’s important that we know if you have children in your booking in order to make sure they get allocated an appropriate seat and are seated with you. When you make your booking for your family, please make sure you clearly identify any children in the booking. Just add the number of children and infants in your party in the relevant section and include their ages when prompted.
We had provided all the information that was required from us when booking and then received email confirmation to say that everything was booked and that our seats were auto allocated. To me that reads that they have allocated us seats together (I was clearly wrong).
It was only when we decided to check in online that we noticed that our seats were all separate. None of us were sat anywhere near each other. Not even on the same rows. Again we thought this must be some sort of mistake as surely a 3 year old wouldn't be placed in a row on her own, separated from family members. We decided to phone EasyJet to double check.
The first phone call was with a gentleman who was very blunt, very rude, very obnoxious and very unhelpful. He told us that those were our seats and that if we wanted to sit together we should have paid. He said he couldn't do anything about it and that it would have to be dealt with once we got to the airport. He also decided to point out to us that it is illegal for a 3 year old to sit alone on a flight and therefore if they can't place her next to us, we wouldn't be able to fly. This was obviously not what we wanted to hear and it started to cause us a lot of stress and worry.
I then decided to call twice more to see if someone else would be a bit more helpful and sympathetic but once again I was met with the same nonchalant response from them. I was getting very stressed about this situation. I also tweeted EasyJet a few times and I had no response.
The day came for us to go on our holiday. Eva was beside herself with excitement. We headed over to Bristol airport and waited in the bag drop queue. At that point my husband approached the EasyJet customer service desk to try and resolve our problem there. Once again he was brushed off and told they would sort it out for us at the bag drop.
I was still hopeful that this would be resolved (how silly was I for being so positive?). The woman at the bag drop told us she also couldn't resolve the problem and that it would have to be dealt with at the gate. She said that she couldn't see anyway that they could sit us together but they would try. Once again it seemed like the problem was being brushed off and left for someone else to deal with it.
We arrived at the gate and were then told that the cabin crew would have to try and seat us together. I said I did not want to get on a plane and have my daughter sat in a row on her own whilst they tried to find seats for us but we were told this was the only option.
We entered the plane and the cabin crew knew nothing about the fact that we weren't sat together. It was the first they had heard of it. We were told to take our seats and then they would sort something out. I sat down in mine. My dad then went to his row. As you can imagine Eva did not want to sit on her own next to two strangers and therefore stood in the aisle with her dad. Even though she is only 3, she is not stupid. She could understand everything that was being said and started to get very distressed. She stood there crying.
After about 15 minutes the cabin crew made an announcement and said that they had a child who was separated from a parent and can anybody swap seats. As you can imagine that was met with total utter silence (other than Eva still crying). They then had to inform the pilot as we were late taking off. A following announcement came over and said that we would be unable to take off until somebody moved. Again nobody moved. My poor daughter heard all of this and was distraught. This then made me very upset. It was truly a horrifying experience.
Someone eventually swapped seats with me which meant that a seat was free next to my dad. Hubby and Eva sat in those seats and myself and my dad went to the other two seats that were allocated to us (in separate rows). Eva was still hysterically crying as she now realised that she wouldn't be sat with her mum and sister. I went to take my seat in-between two older people. They had booked a window seat and an aisle seat even though they were travelling together, which I think is ridiculous and shouldn't be allowed. I went to get in and was told that they did not want to sit by a baby. They were not happy to have as sat by them (more fool them as little did they know that she was a frequent flyer and therefore was actually the best behaved child on the plane). I was totally humiliated. The cabin crew didn't stick up for me at all and allowed these people to speak to me like that after already experiencing half an hour of hell.
I took the other available seat which was in-between two men. This wouldn't be a problem ordinarily but I breastfeed Ophelia so I found that very uncomfortable. Eva was still crying and still very shaken up and terrified. She actually wet herself through fear and distress. She has been potty trained for a long time, so this is totally out of character for her. After we took off a lovely lady saw that I was breastfeeding and asked her daughter to swap seats with me (I was sat by her dad). I was so relieved as at least I could breastfeed next to a woman, rather than being sandwiched between two men.
As a family we have never experienced anything like this whilst flying. It was awful. We were humiliated. Eva was beside herself with fear and was beyond consolable and it has totally ruined her enjoyment of flying. I've never been so angry at the way we have been treated. EasyJet's customer service is without a doubt the worst we have ever experienced from an airline. They passed our problem onto whoever was next in the chain and they have ignored our cries for help.
I am so worried as we have to do this all over again when we fly home on Saturday. We are all separated. I am not happy for my little girl to be put through that again but EasyJet don't care. We are currently still on holiday so we have tried contacting them via twitter. The only response we've had is a link directing us to their flying with children page. This doesn't help us at all!
I appreciate that sometimes you can't seat families together. We understood that but our argument was the fact that they had allocated a 3 year old a seat on her own away from any parent.
After the way we were treated I will avoid flying with them again. Their lack of empathy and disregard for help was appalling. We still haven't even had an apology. I'm writing this to warn people so that your experience will not be ruined like ours. It seems to me that it is all a money making scheme by EasyJet to get you to pay for your seats which is not necessary if it is illegal for children to be seated alone. Paying for seats shouldn't even come into the equation when you are flying with young children.
Have you ever had an experience like this?
We are still away on holiday. I have finally been contacted by Easyjet who have apologised for the customer service we have received. Eva is now sat by us on the way home. Even though there was availability on the plane she was still separated from us. Anyway, that problem has been solved and she is sat next to us.
I also would like to clear a few things with my readers as I have received lots of abuse from people via email and social media. This post is my own personal opinion. I write a blog and share my experiences on my blog. I would have written about flying with EasyJet if it had been a positive experience too. This is by no means a complaint letter (I will be sending one separately). This was written to share my experience with my readers and to warn others of the terrible customer service we received.
I read and appreciate comments that have been left but I think lots of people have taken this whole post out of context. I have in no means written it for any financial gain. I will emphasise again, it was written to highlight the appalling customer service that we received from EasyJet before, during and after the flight.
I would also like to highlight that I had tried to resolve this issue on numerous occasions before boarding the plane.
If our experience home is a good one I will also be writing about that. I will be writing about my holiday, my apartment and everything in between like I always do. I have not written this for 5 minutes of fame, I am sharing my personal experience.
With regards to EasyJet and complaining as i've already said, my complaint letter will be written when I return home. The customer service needs addressing (before the flight) and after. I have spoken with them about their flawed booking system and they have agreed with the points I have raised. I have written proof of things that have been said to me by EasyJet which will be going in my letter.
Where I have discussed what happened on board. Again that is my personal experience. For the people attacking me over the breastfeeding comment, I will emphasise again, I was sharing how I personally felt. I am in no means demanding that I have to sit where I want because I breastfeed. I was simply saying that with everything that had happened on the plane before hand, everybody was staring at me and I felt self conscious. I was sat in between 2 men and everybody was staring and talking about me and my family. I wanted to cry. This will not be going in my complaint letter. Once again I will say it was my personal feelings. People that read my blog regularly will be able to relate to what I was saying as they will understand that I was simply sharing how I felt like I always do.
I am not a cheapskate and a chav as I have been called. I had at no point refused to pay for a seat. If you re read the post it was the first time we have ever flown with them as a family and it said upon booking our seats were allocated.
I also want to thank people for the lovely comments that have been left here and across my social media and by emails. There are plenty of people that were in the same situation I was who will now be checking their seat allocations also.