When I told people that I had booked flights with Easyjet their reaction was almost to feel sorry for me. It even got to the stage where I was making excuses for my decision. (“We’re on a budget”. “It’s the only airline that flies to where we want to go from Heathrow or Gatwick”.)
Why does Easyjet have such a bad rep then? Sure, you have to pay extra for your hold luggage and the service probably won’t be as good as if you book through an airline such as BA. Is the Easyjet experience that bad, though?
I’ve flown with Easyjet once before and I recall it being pretty painless. That time, however, someone else booked and organised the trip so I just had to pay up, and then turn up, on the day.
This time I was booking our trip to Valencia – including the hotel – through Easyjet. Here are my thoughts on the entire experience – from booking to landing in Spain.
Booking and checking in
I’d actually planned to buy our flight and hotel as a package through another travel website. As part of this, I had a look around on a few sites to see if the total price differed and decided to check out the Easyjet site as I knew that it was the only airline that flew directly to Valencia from convenient airports. In the end, the flight and hotel package was about £50 cheaper through the Easyjet site.
Booking online was easy and the site was simple to use. The only blot was confusion about the online check in invitation I received in the confirmation email – the system didn’t recognise my booking reference. So, I had to call the Easyjet customer centre for help.
It turns out I was entering the reference number for my holiday rather than the Easyjet booking reference. The rep on the line – who I assume was based offshore – was helpful. But the email could have been clearer about this.
It didn’t help that there was also no booking listed when I logged in on the Easyjet website. This induced a mild panic as I thought I might have somehow ended up on a rogue website to make my booking. However, it looks as though the holiday booking was made through a subsidiary company that’s branded as Easyjet. Hence why my booking wasn’t listed on my account as it would have been if I had booked only the flight through Easyjet. Everything else on the confirmation email was clear enough though.
Once I’d worked out how to check in online, I was able to get a PDF of our boarding passes to print out later. (You can use the Easyjet app instead if you don’t have access to a printer.) You can’t check in at the airport – you simply go straight through security when you arrive using your printed boarding pass (of phone, if you have the app).
Airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair are famous for their limited free baggage allowances – most passengers on Easyjet are allowed only one bag each unless they pay extra on top of the standard fare. But the policy on baggage is clear from the outset and it’s not that expensive to book hold luggage (£18 for a bag or suitcase up to 20kg on our flight if we had booked online).
We managed to fit all of our clothes for the trip into our hand luggage – you’re allowed bags of up to 56 x 45 x 25 cm in size, which is surprisingly large. Embarrassingly, Tiff managed to get all her stuff in a smaller suitcase while I needed a larger case. Easyjet does state however that handbags, rucksacks and laptop bags are also included in the one bag allowance. This is because one of the perks of becoming an “Easyjet Plus” member is a better hand baggage allowance. That said, many people on our flight looked to have a handbag or laptop bag in addition to a bigger bag and had no issues boarding. Tiff certainly had no problems with her case and her handbag on the way out. But, she did have to put her handbag in her hand luggage on the return flight.
As we were some of the last people to board the plane, we had to drop off our cases as we boarded as there was no room left in the overhead lockers – there’s no charge for this and Easyjet makes it clear that bigger bags may need to go in the hold on busy flights. This process was simple – the steward who checked our boarding pass and passports labelled up our bags and gave us a receipt so that we could drop them off just before getting on the plane.
The staff greeted us with a smile and cheerful “good morning” when we boarded the aircraft and I was impressed with both the space we had in our seats and the general cleanliness of the plane compared to flights we’ve had in the past with companies such as Thomson and Virgin Atlantic.
As you’d expect on a short budget flight, refreshments weren’t free. However, the price of snacks and drinks didn’t break the bank – hot drinks were around £2.50, chocolate bars such as KitKats and Twixes were around £1 and alcoholic drinks were no more expensive than in the average London pub. There was also a good selection of reasonably priced hot sandwiches, which looked quite nice.
I also couldn’t fault the service from the staff. A young lad called Connor was particularly friendly and helpful.
I’d have no qualms about flying with Easyjet again. The service – from booking to getting off the aircraft – is great and the costs of extras such as additional baggage and onboard refreshments is fair.
My only recommendation is that they review the process for booking holiday packages to make it clearer which reference number you need for online check in. That would have saved me calling them up.
Well done Easyjet!