a person wearing a protective suit and goggles holding a hose

Airlines are trying to find the right tone to lure passengers back in the skies, with announcements of stringent cleaning measures, hygiene protocols and HEPA filters, which trains, busses and underground transportation don’t even offer. But EasyJet took things a step further, picking up on the trend du jour a few weeks back where passengers seemed to like the idea of blocked middle seats, drumming up huge buzz for the airline by stating  plans to introduce a blocked middle seat on initial flights.

In a “SleazyJet” move, the airline is now backtracking, quickly.

CEO Johan Lundgren went as far as to specifically mention to the BBC that blocked middle seats were  “something that we will do because I think that is something that the customers would like to see, then we will work out with the authorities and listen to the customers’ views and points on what they believe is the right thing to do, particularly in the start-up period.”

The news spread nearly as quickly as the virus that prompted it, hitting news outlets around the world and garnering praise from travelers throughout Europe.

an airplane flying in the skyIt’s hard to imagine EasyJet wouldn’t have picked up quite a few extra bookings on the “good” health and safety news, as headlines of EasyJet blocking middle seats, while competitor Ryanair called the idea laughable went the other direction. Ryanair has consistently called for increased health and hygiene measures, including wearing masks and limiting contact points between staff and passengers.

EasyJet now states it will follow EASA (European Air Safety Agency) measures which do include mandatory face masks, cleaning and limiting of touch points in flight – aka contactless payment rather than accepting cash – but will not be blocking middle seats. The move will not be music to the ears of many booked onto EasyJet flights due to resume June 15th.

A fair question around cleaning has been levied against budget airlines reliant on quick turnarounds at airports, and EasyJet has an interesting answer on that front. Industry blog Paddle Your Own Kanoo states EasyJet claims their cleaning products protect surfaces for 24 hours, so there’s actually no guarantee any disinfecting will take place during these quick turnarounds, but rather once daily. It all remains to be seen.

Sleazy move from EasyJet?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. No not sleazy.

    They’re the only airline to have looked after ALL their staff.

    Now they have their chance to make money too right they should go for it.

    Blocking a middle seat is not 2m anyways. And BA haven’t blocked any seats so far.

  2. Easyjet said at the time it would only block the middle seat if it hadn’t sold enough tickets – so not too surprising to drop it altogether!

    1. They took full advantage of the buzz and never made any effort to have BBC, or any of the other publications change their tone. The quote in the article speaks for itself.

  3. Cleaning issues in the context of UK carriers are most definitely NOT limited to budget carriers. The dirtiest cabins I’ve experienced departing the UK are unquestionably those on BA (and that includes a range of carriers from emerging economies as well as a range of LCC’s).
    Things may improve and certainly there will be a lot of PR around this topic but based on track record and lived experience I am fare from confident cleaning will be effective in reality on board BestAvoided.

  4. I don’t think i’ll be flying Easyjet again. I don’t like the way they handled their flexi customers.

    I had paid for a flexi ticket, then they changed the rules so basically everyone gets flexi for free. No partial refund here though prior…
    – they could have offered flexi customers free cancellation
    – they could have given flexi customers extended options

    … but nothing, instead I had wait until they cancelled the flight and then go begging on their phone line for a refund using a second language as the english speaking phone line was consistently hanging up on me, pretty poor…

  5. Saying that they have no intention of honoring their own word doesn’t make me any more likely to fly Easyjet.

  6. EasyJet originally quoted that if my flight was cancelled I can change it to “any flight across our network.”
    After my flight my cancelled they adjusted the terms and conditions to “Within Europe”
    Is that legal? Can they adjust the terms of sale after sale is complete? And after it got cancelled?

    Can I legally request that they honour the original terms and conditions where it clearly stated (and I got it in written confirmation) “anywhere across our network”?

    Any help on this would be greatly appreciated

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