I have always been a keen observer on the human condition in all its glory, mostly people behave pretty well, in any given circumstance. However just occasionally I have watched people behave in a way that does not make mankind look good. One such experience befell me when I attempted to fly back from Greece on a planned chartered flight that should have seen us depart at 1125, arrive back in Gatwick at 1320 and then a pleasant two hour drive home to prepare for the working week.
All nice and easy with no problems, or so I thought as we checked the bags in and made our way through security to mill about with everyone else so that we could board our flight. But the Greek Gods were not smiling down upon us on this occasion, as all parties were hanging about a Greek lady announced in Greek and then in English that due to a member of the cabin crew being taken ill, they would only be allowing the first 150 people to board the aircraft with priority boarding and families with children being given first bite of the cherry. They then asked for volunteers to not board the flight who they would look after later, which they did by ignoring them completely.
What then happened was interesting, the Brits started to form an orderly queue expecting that fair play would mean that the ground staff would manage a fair embarkation. However, that worked on the assumption that people play by the rules of the game. What actually happened was that all non Brits just piled in by the boarding gate trying to get on. It was everyman for himself, except for the stoic Brits who waited for the staff to make the queue fair and straight. Except the ground crew were not bothered and basically just let these people push in. At that point aggrieved Greeks who were part of the fair queue process got very angry and aggressive and shouting matches broke out between passengers, ground crew staff, and to be honest it was a nasty atmosphere that soon descended into chaos.
Eventually Police and security people appeared but that made no difference as the abuse continued, in the meantime the “pushing in” people were getting on the plane, and the good old Brits were waiting patiently for fair play to prevail, which it never did. They then basically locked the doors leaving 50 of us standing there like lemons, we were not getting on that plane and that was the end of it. What then happened made a bad situation worse, first reassurances and promises were given that all would be fine and that Easy jet would get us back, then we had to wait two hours while they took the bags off the plane, all this time we were kept herded by the Swissport office like sheep. No information was shared and then once we had all been reunited with our bags they said right the next EasyJet flight direct will be on Wednesday, 3 days later. Yes you can stay in a budget hotel but you will need to claim your money back ring this number, nothing more to do with us.
It was appalling customer service and very cynical as well, let people down, drop them in it, tell them what they want to hear, then say sort yourselves out no longer a problem as far as we are concerned. So, we did just that, and we booked a plane ticket to Athens for 109 Euros and then insisted that Easyjet book us on a connecting flight to Gatwick. At first they were having none of it but persistence paid off and in the end we got the tickets. We then waited 3 hours caught the plane to Athens to find that the return flight was some three hours late and instead of leaving at 2025 would leave at 2355 getting back to Gatwick at 0130 UK time. As the car was due to be delivered back for collection at 1325, I had to ring the Company and explained the situation, and that it was going to cost more, obviously.
I eventually arrived back in Clent towers at 04 50am, absolutely shattered and really naffed off, as it had been a great break but this whole shoddy experience had truly put me off EasyJet as well as the rather unpleasant carrying on of some of the people who were waiting to board the plane. Sometimes humanity lets itself down, and this was one of those occasions. Strangers hurling abuse at each other, people crying and storming off, it was a bit like the playground to some extent, but these were not children, they were adults acting like children. Of course we Brits all kept our calm and the stiff upper lip was clear to be seen, as we kept our manners and our respect intact while these other people actually got on the plane. EasyJest allowed it to happen and for that reason I will not be using them again.