easyJet Cancels Some UK Routes As English Lockdown Begins

As the United Kingdon prepares for a four-week lockdown, the countries biggest low-cost carrier, easyJet, has announced cancelations on several of its routes. Rather than operating what will likely be near-empty aircraft during November, the London Luton Airport-based airline has decided to ground its planes.

easyJet Airbus A320
easyJet is grounding most of its UK fleet during November. Photo: easyJet

One of the cancellations affects easyJet’s 5hr 40min flight from Manchester Airport (MAN) to Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (SSH) on the Sinai Peninsula. The MAN to SSH is easyJet’s longest flight and could see holidaymakers stranded in Egypt.

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easyJet has given passengers three options

According to Britain’s Independent newspaper, UK holidaymakers already in the Red Sea resort have not been informed how to make their way home on other airlines. The airline’s email to holidaymakers in the Egyptian resort failed to clarify their entitlement to be routed home on other carriers.

easyJet passengers
Some easyJet customers in Egypt will have to book other flights to get home. Photo: easyJet

The easyJet email to its customers in Sharm El Sheikh gives them the following three options:

  • Switch to another flight for free. You can change onto any easyJet flight yourself via Manage Bookings
  • Accept an easyJet voucher
  • Get a refund

One family who contacted the Independent about what was going on said they were under the illusion that they would need to stay in Egypt until easyJet resumed flights.

“We have been told to rearrange the flight, but the next one is in December … Where do we go from here? Surely there is a responsibility to repatriate?”

easyJet is required to pay other airlines

European air passengers’ rights rules stipulate that passengers are entitled to be flown home on other airlines at easyJet’s expense. This could be achieved by flying on low-cost Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) and then connecting to Manchester.
A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority said,

“Passengers who have seen their flights canceled should be offered the choice of reimbursement for canceled flights, alternate travel arrangements under comparable conditions at the earliest opportunity, which includes flights on other airlines, or a new flight at a later date at the passenger’s convenience.

“We also expect airlines to proactively provide passengers with information about their rights when flights are canceled.”

An easyJet spokesperson told us,

“We are operating our planned schedule up to and including Thursday 5 November, and as advised in the email between then and Sunday 8 November, we will continue to operate some flights to ensure all customers who need to return to the UK can do so.

“The schedule we have planned should suffice to repatriate customers who need to return to the UK. We urge customers to return before the end of the weekend as flight options will reduce after that time.”

You can travel for work or education

Under the United Kingdoms‘ lockdown legislation, anyone who starts their holiday before 00:01 on 5 November will be allowed to complete them. The government has not released the full details yet on who will be allowed to fly from tomorrow. However, the consensus is that you will be allowed to do so if you are traveling for work or education.

Regarding easyJet rival, Ryanair and its policy regarding refunds, chief executive Michael O’Leary confirmed that passengers would not be entitled to a refund if their flight was operating. They could, however, move their booking to another date without charge.

easyJet Airbus
London Luton Airport is easyJet’s main UK base. Photo: easyJet

Flying is such a precarious business these days and especially so internationally as you never know or not if you could become stranded. The UK government’s message is only to travel if it is absolutely necessary as the country tries to combat COVID-19.

What do you think about easyJet canceling flights while people are on vacation overseas? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.