A family has lashed out at easyJet, blaming the airline’s “complete lack of signage” for standing in the wrong place and missing their flight to Paris.
The Gray family from Yate, Gloucestershire, were travelling from Bristol airport to Disneyland on a surprise trip for their five-year-old son, Oliver, when they were “devastated” to discover the flight was departing without them.
Jack Gray, his partner and their son arrived at the airport at around 4.30am for their 7.30am flight on 9 December.
They had checked in and headed to the gate once it had been announced, Mr Gray told Bristol Live.
“We saw a big sign for the fast-track queue,” he said. “We had a normal ticket, so we were under the assumption they were doing fast passes first.
“We were sat there. It got to 7.05am and the board was saying the gate closed at 7am. I thought they must be running behind.”
It turned out the standard fare passengers were queuing behind a pillar.
“It wasn’t signposted,” said Mr Gray.
The family approached the easyJet desk at 7.06am once all the fast-track passengers were through.
As they got there, the doors were closing and the gate agent informed the family they’d missed their flight.
“We were like, ‘Oh OK – how?’ It was all down to a complete lack of signage,” he said. “There was no signpost for the normal queue.”
A member of staff radioed ground staff to try to get the Grays on the flight, but was refused.
“We were really frustrated. If we’d got to the doors five seconds earlier, we would have made it,” added Mr Gray.
An easyJet employee offered to book the family onto the 6.30pm Paris flight at a cost of £330, but Mr Gray chose to buy news tickets online instead, setting him back £244.
“We have lost a day at Disneyland,” he said. “We were going to have two and a half days there, now it will just be one and a half.”
While the Grays’ son had “a bit of a cry” when they left the airport, he perked up once he realised they’d be coming back later that day.
Mr Gray has claimed easyJet staff were “blunt and rude”, and feels the airline were responsible for the family missing their flight and should have offered discounted tickets.
CCTV footage shows that, while the Grays arrived in the departure lounge near their gate in time, they did not go through to the gate and present themselves for boarding until after the gate had closed.
An easyJet spokesperson told The Independent: “We are sorry to hear that Mr Gray and his family missed their flight. Unfortunately they arrived at the gate after it closed and all other passengers had boarded.
“We held the gate open longer than usual to try and accommodate any passengers who had not yet arrived, however the family did not present themselves during this time.
“Once the family did present themselves, our gate team did everything possible to try and get them through to the aircraft, however it was unfortunately too late for them to be able to board. At this time our team offered to help Mr Gray and his family with alternative travel arrangements.
“Punctuality is important to all of our passengers. We ask everyone to be at the gate at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure so we can get passengers to their destinations on time.”