easyJet: the frugalfirstclasstravel guest review

Hi Frugalistas!  This week is guest post week on frugalfirstclasstravel.  I’m delighted that Clare Farrell from Need Another Holiday is kicking the week off with her review of easyJet, one of the largest budget airlines in Europe.  Clare is the queen of the weekend trip as part of her Take Twelve Trips series, so budget airlines are one of her key travel strategies.  So how does easyJet stack up?  Here’s Clare’s review…..

easyJet fly all over Europe and are one of the airlines that make  regular city breaks possible for me. I’ve flown with them several times  over the last year, so here’s my lowdown on this low cost flight  option.
easyJet plane pulled in at the airline gate

easyJet in action

At the airport…

easyJet has now gone completely online in terms of check in, meaning that you  need to print your boarding passes, or download them to your Android or  iOS device before you fly. Some airports only have the facilities to  deal with paper copies, so make sure you check.
The good news about all this is that if you’re taking a short break which  only requires carry-on baggage, you can whizz straight through security  to the departure lounge. If you need to check in any luggage, there are  bag drop desks for this – but you still need to check in online.
As part of the check in process, you’ll be given the option to choose your seats if you haven’t already done so as part of your original  booking. Naturally, with easyJet being a low fares airline, this is  going to cost you, but for a standard seat at £3 per flight, I think  it’s worth it if you want to make sure you sit with the rest of your  party. easyJet also offer their Speedy Boarding service – which is  included if you reserve their upfront seats near the front of the  aircraft (these are between £8-12 per seat per flight depending on  whether you choose extra legroom or not).
inside easyJet plane prior to take off

easyJet onboard action

Membership of easyJet Plus (£149 for a year) will automatically cover your  seat allocation costs and grant you Speedy Boarding to boot. I guess  this makes sense if you fly very often.
As far as I’m aware, failing to pay for your own choice of seat will see  easyJet allocate a seat for you as part of the online check in, though  personally, I’ve always coughed up and pre-booked.
It’s also worth noting hand baggage allowances at this point – 56 x 45 x  25cm is the standard size and any seat you book that comes with Speedy  Boarding will guarantee bags of this size a place in the cabin. However, the standard “cheap seats” only come with the same guarantee for bags  with the dimensions 50 x40 x 20cm. Choosing to gamble with the bigger  size will probably pay off, but you may see your bag going in the hold if  your flight is busy or full.
When  it comes to boarding, there’ll be two queues, and Speedy Boarding does  what it says on the tin – it gets you on the aircraft first.

In flight…

I always find the easyJet cabin crew to be professional, and generally  really friendly. Their uniforms are a lot less bright orange these days  which is helpful if, like me, you like to nap in-flight. I really can’t  comment on the quality of food available, as Mr Holiday Addict will tell you that I’m usually asleep when the trolley comes round. (Sleeping on  planes – a life skill I embrace. Maybe I should charge for lessons?)
menu for easyJet showing different food and drink options

easyJet inflight menu

The range of snacks on offer through the easyJet Bistro service is pretty  standard, and there’s likely to be an advert for some sort of snack  combo on the seat back in front of you (sandwich, hot drink, chocolate  bar for £6.50 for example).
cardboard advertising for snacks on the back of the plane seats

In your face onboard advertising

The  seats themselves are as ok as you’d expect and my 6’3″ husband has no  real problems in a standard row if the flight is only 2-3 hours. I don’t use the bathroom on short flights if I can help it, and as the flight  to Amsterdam was only just over an hour, I didn’t get to check the  facilities.

The Verdict…

I am actually an easyJet fan. I’ve never had any real problems flying  with them and do find the staff to be helpful and pleasant. But you do  need to know how to play the game. You need to do what you can to get on that plane as early as possible once boarding starts. That way, yours  is never going to be the bag that ends up in the hold, nor will you end  up with it in an overhead bin 20 rows away from you, which is entirely  possible if you’re late at the gate.
My advice would be to just pay for the upfront Speedy Boarding seats if  you want to avoid any stress. Though you could still find there’s no  room for your bag directly over your own row if you still choose to saunter to the gate too late.
My only  criticism this time round was the lack of consistency with regards to  the “extra bag” question. I took my small handbag no problem in addition to my carry-on from Manchester, but coming back in Amsterdam they made  me shove it in the case while I boarded – for all of 30 seconds while I  trudged up the steps. It came back out as soon as I got to my seat,  which frankly is ridiculous. It’s worth noting though, that a duty free  carrier bag seems to go through no problem, so next time I’ll just be  whipping a plastic shopper out and sticking my handbag into it, or maybe I’ll just fasten my coat over it instead . Either way it’s completely  nonsensical, but there you go. I think easyJet should make allowances  for small handbags as they tend to be what you keep your wallet and  valuable documents in, and it’s perfectly reasonable to think a passenger would want such items on their person.

This hasn’t put me off so far, though, and I’ll be flying easyJet again in  May. I do recommend trying them out if you plan on doing any hopping  around Europe yourself, even if you’re usually a fancy flyer. Just know  what to expect.

All Photos Clare Farrell

About Clare:

portrait of Clare Farrell with water in background

Clare

Clare Farrell works a full-time job which means she always needs another holiday. Originally from Liverpool in the UK, she’s a part-time traveller with a penchant for European city breaks and Mediterranean beaches. Clare adores  good food, good wine and good company. She loves visiting new places seeing the familiar through new eyes.Wherever she goes, Clare hunts for five star luxury and tries her best to get as close to it as possible – with a three star price tag.

Connect with Clare at:

http://www.facebook.com/needanotherholiday

http://twitter.com/holidayaddict23

http://instagram.com/holidayaddict23

http://www.pinterest.com/holidayaddict23

http://plus.google.com/+ClareFarrell

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10 Comments on “easyJet: the frugalfirstclasstravel guest review”

  1. jpilkington09 10/03/2014 at 5:34 am #

    I’m a big easyJet fan.

    Think it’s also worth noting how good and user-friendly their website is – much better than Ryanair’s and other budget competitors’. Their planes to Moscow are also much roomier – it’s like flying in luxury compared to the standard!

    • holidayaddict 11/03/2014 at 4:19 am #

      I definitely agree with your comments on the user friendly website. The mobile app us great, too. I can price a ton of trip options up with it while I eat lunch at my desk!

      • jpilkington09 11/03/2014 at 7:33 am #

        Will have to check it out – thanks for the tip!

  2. Anne @ Pretraveller 10/03/2014 at 5:49 am #

    Clare, thanks for sharing your easyjet experience. This is great information for when I next visit Europe.

    • holidayaddict 11/03/2014 at 4:33 am #

      Glad you found it useful, Anne. They’re definitely worth trying out if you fancy hopping between European cities.

  3. A year in Périgord 11/03/2014 at 7:30 pm #

    Give me easyJet over Ryanair any day!

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 13/03/2014 at 6:27 pm #

      I have heard that said! I just look at the Ryanair website and book elsewhere – it’s bewildering!

  4. The Travel Hack 13/03/2014 at 6:17 am #

    I’m an easy Jetfan when I’m over in Europe and want to hope place to place. My only anxiety moments are when I travel with my kids and worry about not sitting with them. We just get to the airport extra extra early to get in front of the waiting line. I’m trying to remember…I could have paid extra to board early. With such a low cost, paying a little extra is no big deal. It kills me that we don’t have something like this in the US. I fly from SFO to Vegas every other month and a ticket is anywhere from $250 to $500 roundtrip…for a ONE HOUR flight! Crazy.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 13/03/2014 at 6:29 pm #

      I’ve never had the opportunity to try them, but based on Clare’s advice, I’ll definitely be giving them a go next time

  5. The Guy 09/01/2015 at 3:44 am #

    Hi Clare, thanks for an honest and fair review of Easyjet. I think you highlight quite a few of the changes easyJet have made since I reviewed them a couple of years ago.

    In particular the luggage size change has been a negative for many travellers as has the boarding ticket issues.

    I was honestly sceptical of flying with a discount carrier after once trying Ryanair. Thankfully easyJet are a lot more appealing and I’ve flown with them a few times since.

    I agree the staff are very professional. And that advice of putting one bag inside another is actually helping you get around their strict rules.

    I do dislike the feel of being “nickle and dimed” for all the extras or forced costs such as luggage and seat choices. The Speedy Board is a nice idea but the annual pass cost would require you to fly a few times to get the benefit.

    More recently I found the printing of your boarding pass beforehand to be reasonably user friendly compared to RyanAir. A couple of weeks ago my father was taking a week long trip with the Irish carrier. He could print out his out going boarding pass before going to the airport. However they had restrictions (unless he paid a fee for seat reservation) which meant that he could not print out his return boarding pass until 7 days before the day of his return flight. If you are going away for 2 weeks this can be a nightmare for the passenger if they can’t access the internet to print a boarding pass.

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