How easyJet Passengers are Facing a ‘Bonk’ in Their Customer Experience

customer journey Nov 22, 2017

Firstly, I will explain for those unfamiliar with biking terms that ‘a bonk’ is cycling’s classic term for hitting a brick wall. My eldest son is into mountain biking in a ‘big’ way. Not only does he ride downhill extensively in Europe, but he has his own company specialising in titanium suspension springs for mountain bikes and nearly new bike parts. So no it's not me with familiarity with bonking but him!

Apart from some new biking terms, this post will teach you three things you need to consider when making changes to your organisation's policies.

Recently my son noticed that easyJet has changed their sports equipment weight allowance for passengers with bikes, impacting their customer experience. Previously, with an appropriate 32kg maximum weight, a bicycle could be packaged well and transported in a padded bicycle bag. Unfortunately, they have now have reduced the maximum weight by 9kg! The maximum weight is now just 23kg, meaning it's almost impossible to pack a bicycle without coming in overweight!

We are not exactly sure why easyJet have reduced the maximum weight allowance for a bicycle or even why by so much? We would assume that the majority of customers who travel with bicycles are either mountain bikers going on holiday, or cyclists with touring bikes. We are not sure if easyJe are aware of how much a bicycle weighs, so here are some facts and figures to help them:

  • A full suspension mountain bike on average will weigh around 18kg.
  • A touring bike with panniers on average will weigh around 23kg.

Now, with the 23kg maximum weight, for a full suspension mountain bike, that leaves just 5kg to package and securely box the bike, which is required as per their criteria which states:

''Bicycles are permitted for carriage provided that specific criteria is met: The bicycle must be packaged in a bicycle box or bag''

5kg to package and securely box a bike is simply not enough. The average bicycle bag will weigh around 7kg on its own! Let me break it down for you.

18kg mountain bike + 7kg bicycle bag = 25kg (2kg overweight!!) A 2kg overweight bag will incur a £20 penalty fee at the airport, each way as well!

The easyJet Experience Begins

So, imagine you are going on a mountain bike holiday to the Alps. As a customer of easyJet you will have to pay £70 return alone just to take the bike, then you pay an additional £40 worth of penalty fees at the airport for being 2kg overweight!

This will surely encourage passengers (customers) to drive to their holiday destinations instead of flying or choose another carrier. Because of the new maximum weight allowance, many of easyJet’s customers will have to replace their bicycle bags with a cardboard box instead, which offer little or no protection if mishandled. In turn, surely they will most likely see an increase in damaged bicycles, insurance claims, complaints and unhappy customers, which can only be bad news for their customer charter, something that surely easyJet does not want?

My son a regular easyJet flyer recently averted incurring the £40 worth of overweight baggage penalty fees on taking his mountain bike with him by resorting to using a cardboard box - which has resulted in a slightly damaged bike.

He also removed some of the parts from the bike frame itself and carried these in his hand luggage instead. (Surely more dangerous than in the hold – but ‘still’ on the same flight!) He actually removed the bicycle from the box at the check-in desk and did this in front of the check-in assistant to make a point of how ridiculous this whole thing was.

Unless they decide to increase the maximum weight allowance for bicycles back to a reasonable weight, they are going to notice a decrease in customers during the summer season if they have to spend extra for those overweight baggage penalty fees. At the time of writing this post, easyJet has acknowledged the issue on their Facebook page so it will be interesting to see how this develops. We'll keep you posted.

Question You Should Ask Yourself

But it does beg the following questions to be answered by other CEX managers:

  1. What policies have you changed that is causing a negative impact on the customer's experience?
  2. When you change policies does anyone actually consider the impact upon the customer journey and if so how is that reviewed?
  3. Are you about to make any policy changes and if so who is standing in the customer's shoes to consider the impact?

This change in policy has so far earned easyJet our 'One Odd Shoe Award' the first of the year. Let's see if they resolve it and win a 'GoldenShoe Award' instead.

It Didn't Take Long For easyJet To Back Pedal

Since releasing this post we have received an important update from easyJet which we received within 24 hours of our post being published.

Their bike weight limit is being raised to 32kg from Saturday 11th January. Although it will take a number of weeks to be applied to their systems no customers will be charged an excess for bikes between 23kg and 32kg.

Thanks to easyJet for taking the trouble to let us know of their change of heart, this moves them into our category of a Golden Shoe Award. On this occasion, it's awarded not for backpedalling (no pun intended) but for the rapid response they took and the fact the change is in-line with customer feedback.

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