An angry passenger who took Easyjet to court is believed to be the first person in Britain to win compensation from the airline.
Giles Instone won a total of £5,000 in a landmark ruling after he took legal action to claim compensation for a booking error which left him out of pocket and without a flight.
Mr Instone was not able to get his flight to Geneva for a ski break because the airline had cancelled his booking without telling him. He was forced to pay for another flight later that day.
He used European Union rules to argue that the airline broke the law by failing to inform him of the error two weeks in advance.
Mr Instone, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, told how he had to legal action after his attempts to contact the airline were met with a wall of silence.
The court ruled that EasyJet had acted 'unreasonably' and Mr Instone was awarded £600 to cover the flight he had to buy from another airline plus compensation, and his £4,438 legal costs.
This is thought to be the first time the airline has been forced by a British court to pay compensation to a customer for failing to meet its legal obligations. Experts believe it could mean a green light for passengers who want to make similar claims.
Speaking in the Daily Mail, Mr Instone said: 'I like using budget airlines like EasyJet. I think they give good value for money, but they need to improve their customer service.
'They were clearly in the wrong – they held on to my money and made it incredibly difficult for me to get them to put things right and pay me back.
'I know this experience happens to lots of other people so I really hope my victory will stop budget airlines from behaving badly towards their customers.'
Mr Instone, 59, who now lives in the US, had booked his ticket on a credit card two months in advance.
He said: 'The major issue for me was that when I tried to complain to easyJet it was impossible to get through to anyone to discuss the matter.
'They hide behind an impenetrable barrier of no phone numbers and only automated email replies.'
Tjitze Noorderhaven, of EU Claim, which helps passengers claim compensation from airlines, said:' Airlines have done everything possible to avoid paying out the compensation that is due to passengers, but this case shows that they can no longer get away with it.'
An EasyJet spokesman said: 'We got it wrong. We would like to apologise to Mr Instone for his experience.'
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