Much like its Irish competitor Ryanair, easyJet is a budget airline that operates across the larger majority of European countries. For many people budget airlines are something to turn their nose up, but in my opinion they’re an incredible way of making the world around us more accessible to more of us. They might not have private lounges or have a point rewards scheme like more luxurious airlines like Turkish Airlines or Hong Kong Airlines, but what they do offer is hundreds of routes across Europe for less than £30 one way.
The trick to using budget airlines and sticking to a budget is to be well aware of the potential extra costs they could add onto your air fare. Most of the grumblings about easyJet I’ve read online are about being charged at the desk for boarding passes or to check oversized or overweight luggage, so make sure before you commit to booking a ticket you’re aware of all the technicalities that could result in you paying more than you originally intended. Also, be realistic when booking with one. You’re not going to be pampered, or showered with free drinks and snacks when you board. It’s important to be aware of the bare minimum nature of budget flights before embarking on one, because I believe that’s where people’s disappointment in them stems from.
The most common way of avoiding additional charges is to make sure your bag is within the size limits set by the airline. Each airline is different, so be sure to search their official website first. This particular airline only permits one hold bag of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. If you wish to select your seats or to have extra legroom, you’ll need to pay between £1.99 and £19.99 to do so. The airline also now operates a mobile check-in and boarding scheme, which save on paper and means you can both check in and board your flight using your mobile phone.
The planes I’ve used with easyJet have always been clean, but they’re far from spacious. Thankfully, flying from A to B in Europe usually takes no more than 5 hours but if you know you’ll have difficulty spending several hours in a confined seat with little room to move around then extra legroom might be worth the investment. The staff are always pleasant, and will usually offer food, drinks and duty free items twice during the flight – depending on the duration. Hot food such as lasagne or paninis can be purchased as well as sandwiches and baguettes. They offer sweet and savoury snacks and a mix of soft and alcoholic drinks, also. Prices are often a little higher than you would expect to pay in a shop, but you’re permitted to bring your own snacks and drinks on board as long as they don’t contain alcohol. Quality of the food is average and by no means worth the money, so it is wise to buy in the airport beforehand.
I have used easyJet to fly to and from Paris and Berlin, the former costing £75 return and the latter £40, and in both cases the airport flew to airports with multiple form of private and public transport links in to the city centres. Thanks to the airlines online check-in system, it’s only necessary to arrive at the airport with enough time to clear security before your flight, and on the other side if you choose to only carry hand luggage you’re able to leave the airport directly after leaving your flight.
If you’re planning a European trip, and particularly if you’re intending to do so on a budget, then easyJet and Ryanair are worth looking into in more detail. Often, if planned far enough in advance, you can fly across Europe cheaper than you can travel on land with an Interrail pass, and at the very least on a plane you’re guaranteed an air conditioned – albeit compact – seat to yourself.