EasyJet 'genuinely sorry' after couple ordered off overbooked flight

The easyJet situation happened one day after a passenger was dragged off a United Airlines flight in the US. Credit: PA

EasyJet has said it is "genuinely sorry" after two passengers were ordered off an overbooked flight and told they would have to wait four days before they could travel again.

The couple, who are understood to have paid £678 for tickets from London Luton Airport to Catania in Sicily, are understood to have been told to leave the aircraft after boarding because there were no seats left.

The Independent reported the pair had planned a six-day Easter break, and had booked £1,270 of non-refundable accommodation and transfers to the island.

The incident happened a week ago, just one day after a doctor was forcibly dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight.

Dr David Dao was dragged from the United Airlines plane. Credit: @JayseDavid

The couple described the easyJet situation as "incredibly humiliating", said they were told their only option was to get a flight four days later.

They were not informed they were due compensation or that they should have been flown to Italy by another airline on the same day, the newspaper said.

Like many other airlines, easyJet predicts the number of "no-shows" and overbooks some flights, selling seats that do not exist.

However, under EU regulations, airlines are required to pay immediate compensation if a person is forced off a flight.

First, staff must seek volunteers prepared to travel on a later flight in return for a financial inducement.

EasyJet described the incident as "very unusual".

A spokesperson for the budget airline said: An easyJet spokesman said: "We are very sorry about the situation that the couple experienced due to the overbooking of their flight.

"Whilst they were emailed a link to the web page for EU261 compensation applications and the website clearly outlines our policies, we accept that our agents could have pointed this out more explicitly.

"The circumstances were very unusual and resulted from a manual error at the gate. We have listened to our call recordings and at no point did we refuse alternative travel or EU261.

"We want to reassure our customers that we will be providing additional training to our contact centre agents to make sure that future customers are not put through a similar experience.

"This should also have been handled better at the airport on the day so this has been picked up with the individuals concerned."

Around 50,000 passengers a year are bumped off British flights, many of which have been deliberately overbooked, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.