On the day of easyJet’s latest results, did the wheel well and truly came off the cheap and cheerful airline?
Well, to be more precise, the wheel on the EasyJet aircraft I was sat on at Gatwick last week had to come off.
As the City scribblers were being told of the no-frills operator’s £24 million loss, my particular plane was undergoing some essential repairs.
Within minutes of being pushed back from the stand and take our place in the queue for take-off, the baggage handler came to have a chat with the pilot. Then we heard the Captain announce that the said baggage handler was not happy with the state of the tyre and an engineer had been called. Hint to EasyJet captains: don’t say that someone is not happy with a part of your airplane. It makes the passengers nervous! Just say that you have a flat and that a spare has to be found (and it’s not in the boot)!
Now, leaving aside why the baggage handler was making such observations (I still thought one of the pilots had to walk around the plane and kick the tyres so to speak), the engineers who came did a pretty impressive job. Changing a tyre of a Boeing 737 cannot be easy and they did it in 40 minutes, whilst we remained on-board. Which gave rise to another odd announcement from the cabin crew, asking all passengers to remain seated, as people moving around might cause the plane to fall off the jack!
Not so good was then having to wait another 30 odd minutes whilst they found a set of ground handlers to push back the plane and wave goodbye.
So, overall, about a two-hour delay. But, at least easyJet got the wheel back on!