Easyjet investigates after 15-year-old left at Gatwick

Casper Read was asked to disembark the flight to Toulouse due to overbooking

Budget airline Easyjet is investigating after a 15-year-old boy travelling alone was asked to leave a London-Toulouse flight due to overbooking.

Casper Read, who is half French, half English and lives in Worthing, East Sussex, was asked to disembark the flight on Thursday July 20, and was left alone at the gate in Gatwick as the plane took off without him.

He had boarded with a ticket for seat 9A, but was asked to disembark after another passenger - who had checked in earlier than him - boarded with the same seat number, due to overbooking.

It was only the boy’s second time flying unaccompanied, and his mother had helped him check in and accompanied him up to security.

Read’s grandparents, who he was going to visit in Toulouse, had already started their two-hour round trip to pick him up when they learned of the delay.

After his mother was able to return to Gatwick to help, the boy was eventually re-booked onto the last flight of the day at 18h40 (which was itself said to be overbooked, and delayed by over three hours) and arrived in Toulouse after midnight.

In a statement, Easyjet apologised for “any inconvenience caused” and said “sorry” for the overbooking. The airline, which has started an enquiry into the issue, continued: “We are investigating why he was able to board the aircraft as he should have been informed at the gate.”

Defending its overbooking policy, the airline said: “We don’t see an overbooking issue. We don’t tend to overbook in peak periods”, and added that it usually sees an average of five ‘no shows’ on every flight.

French law states that airline passengers should not ever be asked to disembark a plane once they have boarded, and should instead always be informed of any problem or overbooking at the gate beforehand.

In the event that passengers are forced to leave a flight, EU regulations require that they are paid immediate compensation, and states that they should be flown to their destination by the same, or another airline, on the same day.

Overbooked passengers should also take priority over passengers on later flights, with airlines required to ask for volunteers on later flights to give up their seats to earlier overbooked passengers, in return for compensation.

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