I recently exchanged my normal airline, Flybe, for Easyjet. It's been a long time since I flew Easyjet, and the experience was not pleasant. In fact, only my experiences flying pre-Soviet-collapse Aeroflot with the Olympic-hammer-throwing squad for cabin crew were worse, and even then I was at least recompensed with plenty of dinner-party material.
Being very much older now than I was in my Aeroflot days, and more interested in maintaining my self-respect than I am in thrift, I have decided to vote with my air-pounds and never fly Easyjet again.
Why? Here are ten good reasons why:
- Passenger wranglers who redirect lost families by superciliously tapping an information board and slowly spelling out the words on it instead of politely giving directions.
- The it's-not-our-fault attitude - okay, so we're late because of striking French air traffic controllers - say it once and have done. Twice can be forgiven to ensure understanding. Eleven times on one 90-minute flight smacks of defensiveness. They're really saying, "It's usually our fault, but this time it's not and boy are you going to know it! Oh, yes, and God forbid we apologise..."
- Stewards who shout at passengers in English when it's clear the flight is packed with Italians and we might all get into the air sooner if a little intercultural competence were brought to bear.
- Stewards who make no secret of how much they despise the passengers - [Loud voice] "The passenger says this wine is corked. It's not of course, but the customer is always right, so please fetch another."
- The Priority Boarding system, which brings out the superiority complexes in all those stupid enough to pay 50% more to board first. On a 90-minute flight, only fools and giants care about where they sit. Oh yes, and don't forget, if everyone on your flight happens to have paid for Priority Boarding, you've been had.
- Boarding areas that are more like sheep runs - narrow corridors that get narrower and narrower until there's nowhere to go and no space to breathe and you wonder who is going to get killed in the stampede down the open-plan stairs when they call for the clowns with Priority Boarding to come forward. (I need smelling salts just writing about it.)
- Cabin crew who are too busy gossiping about the passengers to greet them or say goodbye.
- Cabins that don't have space for one piece of hand luggage, a Duty-free shopping bag and a coat for every paying passenger. Is it too much to ask?
- Queues for the computer-check-in baggage drop that are longer than those for people who haven't checked in. Why on earth do I waste good printer toner printing out my own boarding pass at home when I still have to do regular check-in at the airport?
- Staff who've forgotten who pays their salaries - and the consequent all-pervasive sense that the customer is at best a nuisance, at worst an illiterate cretin, and always wrong whatever, despite what Mister Onboard Wine-Expert may claim.
Easyjet, you may brag about being the Web's favourite airline, but if this is really true, why is it so hard for the people you are pleased to call passengers but treat like morons to get hold of a comment form?