easyJet selects three-year-old girl for offloading on overbooked flight

A three-year-old girl from Chester was selected for involuntary offloading from an easyJet flight after the airline overbooked it.

Chloe Meacock had been with her family on a Thomas Cook package holiday to Mallorca. Chloe and her 18-month-old sister Charlotte had been on holiday with their parents, Claire Quick and Chris Meacock. The trip included flights on easyJet.

Thomas Cook advised them to check in ahead of reaching the Palma airport before the flight home to Liverpool, but the family were unable to do so.

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Ms Quick said: “When we got to the airport they told us that because we hadn’t checked in online they had re-sold Chloe’s seat and that she might not fly.

“Then the check-in manager rejigged things so that it was my husband who was overbooked.”

Once everyone else had been boarded there was a seat empty and Mr Meacock was finally allowed on the plane.

But before the flight could depart, another check-in problem had to be solved.

While Ms Quick and her baby were allocated seats at the rear of the plane, three-year-old Chloe was assigned a seat on her own at the front. As Civil Aviation Authority rules require, easyJet cabin crew had to move other passengers so the family could sit together.

The holiday paperwork seen by The Independent makes it clear that three-year-old Chloe is a child.

As a scheduled airline, easyJet is free to sell more tickets than there are seats available on the plane. Many airlines practise overbooking, but European air passengers’ rights rules require them to seek volunteers before selecting people to offload against their will.

The Independent has asked easyJet for a response.

When tour operators such as Thomas Cook sell packages with “third-party” airlines doing the flying, there is usually an understanding that their customers will not be involuntarily denied boarding due to overbooking.

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said: “We are very sorry that Mrs Quick and her family experienced this issue on their return flight and have asked easyJet to look into what happened.”

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