How easyJet Is Responding To The Coronavirus Crisis

easyJet’s attempts to make ends meet during the current period of uncertainty has been met with anger from pilot and staff unions. The airline proposed a series of changes that would help avoid redundancies. However, unions have told their members that an agreement has not yet been reached and counter-proposals would be presented to the airline soon.

EasyJet getty images
easyJet proposals to avoid redundancy have been rejected by unions. Photo: Getty Images

The proposals

The budget airline has proposed a set of temporary changes for pilots and cabin crew which should save enough money to avoid laying off staff. Changes include a freeze on planned pay rises and three months of unpaid leave. The airline would also no longer provide food for cabin crew during shifts, just water.

While unions and staff insist that they are eager to find a middle-ground and avoid redundancies, the current measures have been rejected by unions. Talks are continuing today in a desperate attempt to find a solution. The airline is seeking financial aid from the UK government as the effect of coronavirus causes chaos.

Advertisement

The proposed changes mean that the pay rise would be restricted until 2021. Schedules are ever-changing at this difficult time and easyJet has asked that it be allowed to continue to make significant changes to working patterns. It also wants to defer pay increases for some promotions.

Advertisement
flybe easyjet getty images
Flybe couldn’t survive the impact of coronavirus and easyJet is trying to avoid the same fate. Photo: Getty

Union response

Pilots, cabin crew and unions all say the proposals are unnecessary. The BBC is reporting that unions believe that there is “no evidence that the current crisis warrants such an extensive change in terms and conditions for such a long period”.

easyJet has been forced to ground over a third of its fleet as travel restrictions mean many flights are canceled. Unions are arguing that once restrictions are lifted and the airline is operating at full capacity again there will be no need for such extreme precautions.

Advertisement

Some unions have even voiced concerns that the airline is using the current situation as an excuse to pass through money-saving measures. The deal, if accepted, would be inforced today and would continue until the 15th of November 2021.

Unions BALPA and Unite have both said they would be willing to strike a deal to help save jobs but that the current deal was not good enough. Unite went as far as saying that redundancies were currently the better option. In a statement the union said that talks were ongoing; “Unite is very much still in talks with easyJet and it is totally untrue to suggest the union has rejected all the company’s proposals”.

easyjet crew union talks getty images
Talks with crew unions have failed so far but the crew are willing to accept cutbacks to save jobs. Photo: Getty Images

Other measures

EasyJet has said that saving money is the main aim here. However, the airline’s chief executive also said,

Since we don’t know how long this thing will last we also think it’s appropriate that we’re also looking for financing being supported as well from the government.”

The airline recently found itself in a sticky situation when it emerged that it had paid a £170 million ($199m) dividend to shareholders. After coming under fire, the airline clarified that the dividends had already been signed off and therefore legally had to be paid.

Although several key figures within the business have agreed to pay cuts, the airline is clearly still in trouble. It is currently not offering refunds for canceled flights, instead choosing to allow customers to rebook for a later date. It even released its winter schedule early so travelers had a wider choice of flights. While this means it isn’t losing money on already-booked flights, it does mean there are several disgruntled customers. Those who no longer need flights are unlikely to be refunded.

What do you think of easyJet’s money-saving measures? Are they doing the right thing to stay afloat or should they be doing more for their staff and customers? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Advertisement

4
Leave a Reply

newest oldest most voted
Gerald Sacks

It’s wrong that they aren’t offering refunds. I could reschedule next summer but that’s not on offer.

Cat

I’ve had a nightmare experience with them! Stranded in London and easyJet kept canceling our flight back home (to Paris). No refund button at all but the chance to change to a flight the next day, which then got canceled later. It went on for nearly a week. Customer support wasn’t reachable (called both the French and the UK hotline, email, social media) so we eventually went to the airport just to be able to speak to someone. But they turned us away with no help and absolute carelessness.

Their website states that they either place you on a different means of transportation home within 24 hours of your original flight or provide you with accommodation until you can get on an operating flight. easyJet representative at the airport literally said “no we don’t do that” while I was holding screenshots of their website and email right in front of her. Eventually, we ended up booking an insanely expensive train ticket, which we could have done much earlier if easyJet had not pretended that flights would be going. And now we don’t know how to get a refund for the flight, as there’s no way to do it online and customer support is not reachable…

I get that the airline is struggling but they will not recover from this crisis if all their customers remember how terrible they were treated. It’s the opposite: if easyJet put a bit more effort into treating customers right, people would remember that and support them in the future. I read so many comments of people saying they will never take this airline again and so will their family, friends and colleagues. It’s one thing to recover from the COVID situation but their reputation will remain damaged, even after COVID.

Michael

EasyJet cancelled our flight from Madeira and then gave us the opportunity to have a refund which we accepted.When we sign in to EasyJet it says in the process of making a refund.Why does it take so long to make a refund when they get instant payment from us when we purchase our flights.

john cole

I booked return flights to Gran Canaria only to get an email 6 hours later saying the outbound flight, the following day, was cancelled.
Easyjet took the money from my account immediately and subsequently sent me an email to say they would be refunding in full within 4 to 5 days. That was 3 weeks ago and still no refund.
I contacted them, on the phone, one week later and after spending over an hour on the phone, was told by a lady in customer services that she would process the refund but that i had to stay on the line in order for her to process the repayment. Eventually she said she was having problems with their systems and would call me back the next day. This Never happened.
All further attempts to contact them have failed.
Easyjet appear to have disabled their online customers services and an automated telephone message tells me to call back at another time.
If Easyjets management think that customers, whom they rip off, will use them in future then they are just plain stupid.