Three-year-old nearly denied flight after being selected for involuntary offloading

Chloe Meacock, 3, ended up on the involuntary offloading list.
Chloe Meacock, 3, ended up on the involuntary offloading list. Photo credit: Getty

A budget airline nearly didn't let a three-year-old on board after her parents didn't check in online.

Chloe Meacock, her 18-month-old sister Charlotte and her parents Claire Quick and Chris Meacock, went on holiday in Mallorca.

But when they arrived at Palma airport to fly home to Liverpool, EasyJet staff told them Chloe was on the involuntary offloading list, the Independent reports. The list meant she would only be able to board the plane if there was an empty seat available.

Staff said the seat had been sold on because the family had not checked in online. 

Travel agency Thomas Cook, through which Quick and Meacock had booked their trip abroad, had advised them to check in before arriving at the airport but The Mirror reports they'd been unable to do so.

Fortunately for young Chloe, her father took her place on the involuntary offloading list. Once all passengers had boarded an empty seat was found for Meacock.

But the family had more problems once they got on the plane as Chloe wasn't seated near them, but alone at the front of the aircraft. EasyJet cabin crew had to shuffle around other passengers to ensure the four family members could sit together, The Independent reports.

While many airlines frequently overbook their flights, European law requires them to look for volunteers before they begin the process of forcing passengers off the plane. 

EasyJet has apologised to the family for the inconvenience. 

"Although Ms Quick and her family travelled on their flight, we are sorry if it was not communicated clearly at bag drop that volunteers would always be sought at the gate if sufficient seats were not available," a spokesperson said in a statement. 

"We are looking into this with our ground handling partners at Palma airport. We do our best to look after young families, including providing regular and specific information encouraging them to check in online as early as possible so they can be seated together before arriving at the airport."