easyJet doesn’t exactly deliver on easy, but it is cheap, which is the draw. It’s similar to shopping at Filene’s or TJMaxx; you have to keep in mind that you’re going for the bargain, since the shopping environment leaves much to be desired.
I recently flew easyJet to and from London’s Stansted airport on my trip to Amsterdam, Bruges and Luxembourg and did find their fares to be significantly lower than other airlines.
But, you’ll pay in other ways, most notably frustration. As a newbie, I learned these five essential tips for flying easyJet the hard way. I pass them on so you can avoid my rookie mistakes and hopefully have a less stressful (if not easier) experience.
1) Bring one carry-on: The catch here is that it’s not in addition to a purse or briefcase; it’s literally one carry-on only. And they’re militant about inspecting you, so plan ahead. Stuff your purse or small bag into your “carry-on” before you get to the gate or you’ll end up paying for an extra piece of luggage. If you know you’ll have more than can fit into the regulation-sized overhead, then make sure to add a bag to your online ticket purchase to save some bucks; it’ll cost you more if you have to pay at the airport.
2) Have patience: Long, slow lines are the norm at every stage: check-in, security and boarding (they’re collecting that extra baggage moolah). Also, there are no kiosks at check-in so you’re guaranteed a line. The one saving grace is that they seem to know that they’re slow, so don’t panic if your flight is dangerously close to take off, they’ll eventually move you to the front of the line to expedite your check-in.
3) They don’t wait for you: That’s their motto of sorts, it’s even printed on the boarding pass: “Please go straight to departures, if you’re late we won’t wait!” Oh, and you need to be at the gate 30 minutes prior to departure. Here’s where severe frustration can set in (refer to tip #2); check-in and security inefficiencies make it nearly impossible to get to the gate 30 minutes in advance. Take solace, everyone else on your flight is in the same predicament so don’t succumb to stress, they can’t take off with an empty plane. (And remember the flight is cheap!)
4) No seat assignments: Again, refer to tip #2. It can be a bit of a free-for-all at the gate. If you’re travelling with someone else and want to sit together on the plane, be prepared to throw some elbows (or get to the airport really early if you prefer the more civilized approach).
5) Expect surprises: Not necessarily pleasant, but most certainly random. Upon landing at Stansted, we deplaned on the tarmac and walked to the airport. It wasn’t until we cruised through the airport a bit that we were diverted and put on a shuttle bus to get to the main terminal area, why they couldn’t meet us at the plane is beyond me.
Really it should be called cheapJet, which would be much more accurate. But, forewarned is forearmed and you will be saving money.
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