EasyJet passengers whip round before take-off

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EasyJet passengers are used to being asked to pay for all sorts of things on board. However, passengers flying from Liverpool's John Lennon Airport to Geneva yesterday morning were surprised to find themselves being asked to dig deep for a rather unusual extra.

The passengers held a whip-round to raise money to persuade people to leave the overweight plane.

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The whip-round

One passenger, Engineer Simon Lay, told the press about the odd incident. He said that the plane was delayed by an hour and a half because the combination of passengers and their luggage was 300kg over the weight limit.

He told the Liverpool Echo that the airline offered £100 to anyone prepared to leave the flight, but there were no volunteers. Then a group of passengers clubbed together to bump it up to £200 per person, and four volunteers appeared.

The rest of the passengers then passed around a collection tin to reimburse the generous passengers. The four who got off were then driven to Birmingham airport, where they caught a later flight that morning.

Shame?

Lay said it was an embarrassment for the airline. It's certainly not an ideal situation. It could be argued that if you add on a whip-round to the 'administration' fee to book your flight, a charge for baggage, a charge if you want extra leg room - and the cost of any food and drink you want, you could end up with a flight costing significantly more than you originally expected.

However, in its defence, the whip-round wasn't easyJet's idea. The airline has confirmed that the flight was overweight and that passengers had got off. However, it told the Daily Mail that it was not its policy to allow whip-rounds, and that they were unaware that one had taken place on this flight.

The level of compensation that was offered by the airline fits with easyJet rules. The airline also highlights that if no-one will voluntarily leave the flight, it can deny boarding against the will of the passenger. They are entitled to the same compensation and another flight, but they don't have the right to insist that they stay on board.

It seems, therefore, that in this instance, the passengers came up with a pragmatic solution to avoid anyone having to be removed against their wishes. But what do you think? Was this a sensible solution or yet another outrageous budget airline charge? Let us know in the comments.

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EasyJet passengers whip round before take-off

If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.

This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered. 

If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company. 

Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.  

Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.

If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.

If you are travelling within the EU you need an EHIC card, which gives you access to public healthcare. However, this won't necessarily be free, and if you need extra services such as accommodation for a carer, a helicopter home or a delayed flight, you could end up seriously out of pocket.

The only protection that will guarantee you will be looked after without running up a horrendous debt is by having travel insurance - which often covers up to £10 million of costs.

The most common form of theft is pick-pocketing, followed by theft from a car and bag snatching. Meanwhile, 752,000 of those surveyed had items stolen from their hotel room or villa.

If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.

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