How’s it going? Received any complaint letters lately? No? Better head to your spam folder then, as I can only assume the lack of response is because you’ve not yet come across my beautifully composed and slightly restrained letter. Don’t worry, I know you’re pretty busy creating new fees and reducing the leg room on your planes, and so I will lay out my issues below so you and the internet can read at your leisure. Only I can’t promise this letter will be so restrained.
In fact, let’s address the elephant in the room. You’re shit. And you know you are. And before you think this is some kind of weird football chant, let me elaborate.
The cost of air travel has rocketed over the past few years – and now airlines have the old Brexit excuse it seems to be getting more and more costly. Gone are the days of super cheap travel. Now we need to contemplate flogging family heirlooms to “Cash for Gold” to afford an overseas jaunt. These days, you’re charged for a ticket, tax, an admin fee (WTF?), luggage, to reserve a seat and finally for paying using a credit card. And that’s before even leaving the house.
These add ons are sold as added extras, except you can’t fly without paying tax, you generally need luggage, it’s nice to sit with your fellow traveller/s and you need a credit card to afford the £6,000 family ticket. So really they are necessary extras, just spread out in nonsense categories to justify the extortionate cost of a flight out of old Blighty.
Of course, us punters know all of this but as you have us by the knackers, we booked with you anyway and decided to try and swerve some of these bullshit extras. As we are now a family of 4, and soon to be beholden to school holidays, we decided to get clever. Luggage? Nahhhh. We can take minimal clothes, buy toiletries over there and cram everything into two cabin suitcases and two rucksacks. Boom. Screw your £35 per case, we’re going basic. And as for £4.99 for a pre booked seat, we set an alarm to check in one month prior to departure and grab a seat then for free. Double boom. We even avoided our standard travel panic and arrived at the airport 4 hours prior to departure, and so by the time we got to boarding we were feeling pretty relaxed and happy – for a family travelling with a 3 and a 4 year old.
But upon boarding, the lady at the gates told us we had to check our mini suitcases as the plane had no more room for cabin baggage. Apparently, other travellers were also £35 fee dodgers. She then tagged them quick smart and then told us to ensure we had anything we needed on board in our rucksacks. So basically repack. At the boarding gates. With two excited toddlers. Dick move EasyJet.
We pissed off passengers behind us by attempting to do the bag reshuffle after the boarding desks but before the exit to the tarmac, and had pretty much the contents of all 4 bags out whilst frantically trying to keep the kid’s tablets, colouring books, cuddly toys etc in the right bags. My 4 year old son thought this would be an appropriate time to wear my bra and dance around shouting ‘boobies.’ My 3 year old daughter was distraught that the pink top she wanted to wear, the one for 30-degree heat and not suitable for the climate at London Gatwick, was now in view but still unattainable. In summary, shit show. Thanks, EasyJet. Thanks.
After leaving the newly packed cases at the bottom of the aeroplane stairs, we were greeted by an air stewardess who was clearly enjoying a game of snake on her handheld retro phone thingy, as she barely registered our presence. When we attempted to show her our boarding cards her expression was one of disgust. Like she had just noticed a skid mark on a hotel towel. We found our seats and immediately noted that not only was there room in the overhead lockers for cases, but there was a shit ton of room. They were emptier than a Kardashian’s moral handbook. So we tried to retrieve our bags from the tarmac and place them in the void of nothingness, only to be told that once tagged, you can’t go back. What utter bollocks. And pretty frustrating when the next 6 or so people who board after you joyfully fill the expanse of space with their cabin suitcases. Another dick move EasyJet.
I could continue with other minor rants. The state of the plane for example. I wasn’t aware students live on planes in-between flights. That’s the only explanation for the Maltesers and Supernoodles stuck to the carpet. And the general attitude of the staff. At one point I wanted to stop one of them during their stomp up and down the aisle and say ‘your heart isn’t in this job, is it flower?’
But my main gripe with the flight was the sheer lack of understanding and compassion for people travelling with toddlers. In case you’re as unfamiliar to the perils we parents face when travelling, as apparently your air crew are – let me enlighten you. Travelling with children is an endurance race. It’s like a marathon. You start off excited, nervous and keen to get going. Your enthusiasm wanes as you get more and more death stares from fellow passengers. You get tired of saying ‘stop kicking the seat’ and ‘stop pulling your sister’s hair’ and you have NO TIME to rest/ read a book/ listen to music. Halfway through the flight, you’re counting the minutes until landing and already questioning your decision to attempt a holiday with children of this age. Basically, you’re on the edge and using all any remnants of patience in your Mum bank to hold your shit together.
So when my child said ‘I need a poo’ and the seatbelt signs are on, but the plane is level, I wanted to avoid forcing him to sit in shit covered clothes. The backup clothes I thought would be easily accessible during the flight are now in the hold, as are the wet wipes I forgot to transfer and Anadin Extra I need to quell the growing stress headache. So I lifted him over the chairs and started heading for the toilet, only to be stopped by an air stewardess who had such disdain for me and my son she couldn’t be arsed to talk, and simply pointed a finger at us and then pointed back at our seats.
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. I get enough attitude from my kids thank you very much, I do not need your agg directed at me just because you’re forced watch people get pissed at 6 am every day in a flying metal cylinder. When I finally managed to get some words out after the shock of being silently chastised by Stacey (I’m guessing, she conveniently wasn’t wearing a name tag) – I tell her that my son is pretty desperate, and am told in response that EasyJet is not insured for us to be out of our seats whilst the seatbelt sign is on. I’m also told I can take him at my own risk. I weigh up the risk of turbulence versus the risk of cleaning shit off a child with a Captain America cap and so head down the aisle past Stacey and her snake playing mates, who by this point I’m pretty sure are whispering about me and calling me a slag.
My son’s pretty hardy, he can poo on command, so he was fine and crimped one out despite the threat of the plane being a bit wobbly. But when we returned to our seats, we saw a little boy sitting two seats back crying and visibly shaking, as he had wet himself in the aisle having been stopped on his way to the toilet.
Again – if it’s unclear let me emphasise how hard it is travelling with toddlers. It’s harder than Conor McGregor. It’s harder than Vin Diesel. It’s double well hard. But let’s take a minute to think about it from the kid’s point of view. It’s scary and exciting and new and almost unreal. So for you to refuse a kid to go to the toilet when there is clearly no danger posed [since the crew were all still firmly planted on the floor], well that’s just unforgivable. And to have such glaring inconsistency in the messages from staff, as we were allowed to go ‘at our own risk,’ but the peeing child had been flat out refused, well that’s a dick move hat trick. Slow hand clap EasyJet, slow hand clap.
What if it was peeing child’s first flight and you scarred him for future journeys? What if his parents had paid for the optional extras and were therefore under the impression you guys are actually providing a service? What if, and it’s a big one, what if your staff put aside their hangovers, their distaste and hatred of the general public and showed a little compassion?
And what if you reply to your complaints emails huh? Then maybe we wouldn’t have to take this shit online.
A Mum, A Customer, and a never again EasyJet Traveller.