A couple were ordered off an overbooked EasyJet flight – 24 hours after images of a doctor being dragged off a plane sparked outcry.
The pair, who paid £628 to fly from Luton to Catania in Sicily, say staff told them they had to get off because there were more passengers than seats.
They claim the budget carrier broke the rules by failing to offer them compensation or to inform them they were entitled to a flight on another airline.
The couple – identified only as Manoj, 38, and Viddha, 35 – were told there was not another flight for four days, which meant they reportedly lost out on £1,270 for accommodation and transfers.
The incident followed shocking footage of David Dao being violently removed from a United flight by heavy-handed Chicago Aviation Security officers.
The 69-year-old doctor lost two teeth, suffered a broken nose and was hospitalised with concussion after he was hauled down the aisle on April 9. He is preparing a lawsuit against the airline, which experts estimate could net him a multi-million dollar settlement.
In the latest case, the couple, from London, had boarded Flight EZY2383 on April 10 at the start of a planned six-day Easter break.
But as it became clear there were insufficient seats, they were ordered to go back to the terminal and collect their baggage.
‘This was an incredibly humiliating situation,’ Manoj, an IT consultant, told the Independent.
‘The airline had overbooked and we were involuntarily off-boarded from the aircraft by two airport staff in front of a packed plane.
‘The only difference between us and the chap involved with United Airlines is that we weren’t physically dragged off.’ Overbooking can occur because airlines often estimate a number of ‘no-shows’ and sell additional seats to cut wastage.
When more passengers arrive than available seats, they are able to legally offload passengers.
European regulations stipulate that volunteers should be sought and offered financial incentives in return for travel on a later flight. If insufficient volunteers can be found, those chosen by the airline should be given compensation and written confirmation of their rights.
A spokesman for EasyJet apologised, adding: ‘This should have been handled better at the airport on the day so this has been picked up with the individuals concerned.’ The spokesman said the company had never denied the couple alternative travel.
Eye drops could be used to treat jet lag following a discovery by British scientists.
The researchers found that cells on the retina can affect the human body clock. And they believe that manipulating the cells with liquid drops may influence responses to long-haul travel or irregular hours of work.
The University of Edinburgh team hopes eventually to reset the body’s master biological clock, allowing travellers to take a long flight and still arrive without feeling drowsy. Mike Ludwig, who led the study, said: ‘Our exciting results show a potentially new pharmacological route to manipulate our internal biological clocks.’
The professor, who is an expert in neurophysiology, added that it ‘could lead to developing eye drops to get rid of jet lag, but we are still a long way off from this’.
The results of the research, which involved rats, are published today in the Journal of Physiology. Separate studies show that night workers or poor sleepers are more susceptible to depression, cancer and obesity.
© Daily Mail