Easyjet was under fire on Monday (17 April) after it emerged the low-cost airline had removed a couple from an overbooked flight without offering compensation they were entitled to under EU law. It transpired the events came just a day after footage of Dr David Dao being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight and returning after being apparently beaten by police officers stunned the world.
The British couple had already boarded the flight from Luton to Sicily on Monday, as Dao had in Chicago, when they were asked to leave. However, the airline then told the couple the next available flight was four days later, despite having booked non-refundable accommodation at their destination.
The couple are reported to have said: "We were asked to offload 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."
Consequently, the couple decided to cancel their trip.
However, they should have been offered a flight on the same day with another airline or a full refund if they decided not to fly after being bumped off the flight.
EU regulation 261/2004 entitles passengers who are involuntarily denied boarding at a EU airport or by an EU carrier bound for the Union from outside the EU, and up to €600 in compensation.
Easyjet apologised on Sunday and told the BBC the mistake was as a result of human error. A spokesperson for the company said: "Whilst [the passengers] were emailed a link to the web page for EU261 compensation applications and the website clearly outlines our policies, we accept that our agents could have pointed this out more explicitly."
The spokesperson added they would provide more training for staff. The incident, however, is unlikely to garner the same level of attention as the case involving Dr Dao, in which he lost two front teeth, broke his nose and suffered a concussion after being manhandled off a United Airlines flight.
United was hit hard by the incident, with shares in the company dropping by 6% at one point.
Though Dao's lawyers have expressed his intention to sue the company, under US law airlines and captains of aircraft are legally entitled to remove passengers from an overbooked flight.