Passenger furious at easyJet compensation denial after ‘prisoner’ treatment

A holidaymaker is convinced she’s owed compensation she spent five hours stuck onboard an eventually cancelled flight with no food and only one cup of water.

Valerie Coules ended up trudging back to her home in Clerkenwell, London after her very delayed easyJet flight from Gatwick to Bodrum, Turkey was eventually cancelled.

The budget airline has denied the 72-year-old’s compensation request, claiming that “air traffic control restrictions” stopped the plane from taking off – meaning the flight was affected by “extraordinary circumstances” and easyJet is not liable.

Valerie remains highly sceptical of the company’s claims and believes that the service was cancelled for different reasons.

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Valerie has visited Bodrum many times before (

Getty Images/iStockphoto)

These included the luggage not being loaded onto the plane, and the cabin crew and co-pilot later becoming over hours, she claimed.

“I am not concerned about the compensation money, it’s the principle,” Valerie told The Mirror.

“EasyJet should take full responsibility for the cancelled flight.

“I am 74 years of age. I boarded the plane at about 4.15pm and along with other special assistance passengers we were basically kept prisoners on that plane until 9pm.

“We were not offered food or drink and when we disembarked we still had to wait for our luggage. Passengers were not offered a place on the next flight nor were we given accommodation.

“It was impossible to find a hotel, all were full, and taxis could not be found. I had no alternative but to return by train to my home and find a new flight myself for the following day.”

Valerie had been looking forward to her trip to Turkey to stay in a hotel she’d visited with her now late husband many times in the 14 years before.

During her almost decade and a half of travel to the Turkish resort town on easyJet planes, she’d never had a flight cancelled until June 4 this year.

“I thought it probably wouldn’t be that bad,” Valerie said of her airport experience.

“It was a breeze to get checked in, there were no queues. I was pleasantly surprised how quick it was.”

When the plane Valerie was on was fully loaded and ready to depart, the pilot told the waiting passengers that their bags weren’t on the plane, she claimed.

“The captain welcomed us aboard and told us our flight would arrive in good time to Bodrum as we would have tailwinds and we had a slot for take off,” Valerie continued.

“Then the captain said ‘terribly sorry but the luggage is standing by the plane on the tarmac.’

“He said ‘I’m doing my best to get them here because we don’t want to miss our slot.’ After a while he told us we’d missed the slot.”

The pilot told the passengers that he hoped they’d be able to fly in a 6pm slot, but the cabin crew went out of hours before they were in the air, Valerie claimed.

Roughly an hour later – once a back-up crew had been found – the pilot said his co-pilot was also out of hours and that he couldn’t “fly this plane alone”, she said.

The 72-year-old is convinced she should receive compensation (

Valerie Coules)

“To quote the captain ‘I cannot fly this plane alone therefore the flight is cancelled’,” Valerie claimed.

While the other passengers filed off at around 7.30pm, Valerie says she had to wait until 9pm until a mobility assistant was free to take her off the plane.

Exhausted after a long day of waiting on an uncomfortable plane, the former City University worker said she was “shaking and trembling” by the time she got home.

Under UK law, passengers who are delayed due to their flights being cancelled can claim compensation often totally hundreds of pounds, according to Citizens Advice.

The airline is not required to pay if the delay is caused by things out of its control, such as weather or air traffic control.

According to law firm Bottonline, extraordinary circumstances only relate to those that the airline can prove are not inherent in the normal running of operations.

As the pilot specified so clearly that their slot was missed due to luggage not being loaded onto the plane, Valerie is convinced the circumstances are not extraordinary.

After sitting on a plane for more than five hours with “no food and only a small cup of water”, she wants compensation.

EasyJet has said that no compensation is forthcoming as air traffic control was to blame for the delays – an explanation seemingly at odds with Valerie’s understanding of events.

A spokesperson for the airline said: “We are very sorry that flight EZY8833 from London Gatwick to Bodrum was cancelled due to ATC delays which caused the crew to exceed their legally permitted hours.

“We notified customers directly and provided hotel accommodation and meals where required. Our customer service hours and hotel accommodation sourcing have been extended to support impacted customers and help get them to their destination as soon as possible .

“Nonetheless we fully understand the disruption this will have caused to their plans and we are very sorry for this.”