i am in spain at the moment, but would like to share my experience and subsequent emails. Please remember to book your special assistance pre flight.
I travelled from Luton to Alicante on Monday 7th September on the 7.40pm easy jet flight. I had booked special assistance as I have Parkinson's disease and don't know how it's going to effect me at any given time.
I fortunately felt I did not require a wheelchair, but arranged assistance from the lounge to the gate as I can only walk short distances.
When I arrived at the special assistance bay at 6.40pm, the staff seemed stressed by the fact that 12 passengers on the flight needed assistance. It became obvious that there was indeed a major staff shortage. Staff were lining up wheelchairs in 3,s and pulling them towards the lifts together. I felt compelled to help and pushed two chairs to the lifts myself.
When we were 'loaded' onto the bus the driver also seemed stressed. When we got to the plane door he got angry whilst rising the but to the correct level, using choice language.
When I got to my seat on the plane, I felt stressed.
I just wanted to share my thoughts that this experience was degrading for those involved, stressful, and above all dangerous because had there been an emergency situation it would have been disastrous.
I hope my points raised help to make others experiences better.
With kind regards
Hello Ms Prentice,
Many thanks for your feedback and observations. This refers to EZY2227 I believe. We are in fact already aware of this matter as the Airline Despatcher attributed a 3 minute delay to the flight due to "Large volume of WCH pax to board into the cabin" [verbatim quote from the handling agent's ramp report – and “pax” is industry short-hand for passenger by the way].
The issue is not actually a lack of staff - indeed it is the complete reverse here now, in that our provider - OCS UK; tends to over resource the 'people' side of the operation now.
The problem actually tends to be around instantaneous peaks in customer demand, and particularly to and from certain destinations (for example Alicante) where typically many of the customers requiring assistance pre-notify us of their needs - but many regrettably do not. Regardless of whether a customer has pre-notified or not, we do not discriminate and expect OCS to deliver to same level of service to all.
OCS also have to deal with off-schedule operations by the Airlines (early and late) and are expected by them (and of course our customers) to provide a safe and expeditious service in all cases.
So for example, I can tell you that yesterday (9th September) OCS unexpectedly had to service 17 x flights within a single one hour time slot - this being a combination of in and outbound flights and on and off schedule operations (and of course a proportion of un-notified customers). OCS successfully achieved this with the staff they had available and with all their material resources deployed. As a result I actually intend to send them a message of congratulation for their efforts in that regard later today.
You mention that there were 12 x customers on the same flight to Alicante who required assistance, which is actually quite an exceptional number - most usually we would expect to see up to 8 or 9 special assistance customers on a single flight.
Thus you will see there is of course a potential for our colleagues to get (and appear) stressed at these times, particularly as they are always operating under the triple pressures of providing a safe, customer friendly and on-time service (the latter being a particular concern of our Airline partners). So for any manifestation of that on the 7th, I do of course apologise on behalf of the Airport and OCS.
However the matter of the 'choice language' is one that I will be raising separately with OCS management, because they can easily identify personnel from job sheets, and they will assuredly be speaking to the people concerned to remind them of the proper behaviour that is expected of them.
I do hope that this has not dissuaded you too much from choosing to use London Luton Airport again in the future and if there is any way that I can assist you in this or any other matter please feel free to contact me.
Many thanks again for your observations – and indeed for any assistance that you offered our OCS colleagues that day.
London Luton Airport Operations Limited
Good afternoon Ian and thank you for you're quick response.
I take on board what you are saying and completely understand.
Just as an onlooker, had I been aware that the departure gat was within 100m of the lounge, I would have in no way bothered you're team and in fact given them one less headache. If this information were available at checkin I feel it would lead to a much more streamline operation.
As I said before, having a disability, or disease is enough to cope with, what happened in the lead up to this flight was degrading.
I'm pleased that you're staff managed the high turnover of WCH pax to board on cabin yesterday, it's always nice to tick off data and feel successful. But please bear in mind, we are still people!
is it me??