Travel blogger Jessica Batchelor from ‘Confessions of a Travel Freak’ shares tips, tricks and insight on how to effectively travel EasyJet on a budget – and have a brilliant holiday!
EasyJet have taken the UK’s aviation industry by STORM, making it increasingly accessible to travel on a budget as low as £16.99! But what is it really like to take a flight that costs less than a meal? You hear horror stories of overselling seats, major delays and hidden costs but honestly, it is nothing like that.
Booking in with EasyJet is just as simple as most other airlines however there are a few ways to make the most out of their website to make your flight experience better. When choosing your flight, you have access to month and day comparison on a bar chart so you can easily find the cheapest flights. It is usually between £4-£6 to choose your seats and you can even pre-order your food onboard for a lesser price than on the day; which is quite impressive considering the meal deal’s onboard are only £7.50 full price!
When boarding an EasyJet flight there are a few things you need to be aware of, they are one of the few airlines who are extremely hot on measuring hand luggage, I nearly got charged £60 when boarding in Rome Fiumicino because my case was 2cm over the set size! It is also good to note there is no ‘generic’ hand luggage size, shops and online stores will sell you ‘hand luggage’ but CHECK, CHECK, CHECK; if you are a frequent budget flyer with multiple airlines you will become aware that EasyJet for example allow bigger hand luggage than Ryanair. So always ensure your ‘hand luggage’ bag is the correct size for the specific airline you are flying with.
This issue is probably the most divisive, so EasyJet have more seats than they do room in the overhead lockers for your hand luggage, and 9 times out of 10 when you’re taking a short haul, budget flight you will be taking hand luggage with you. If by the time you are boarding, all of the space in the overhead is full your bag will be put in the hold for no-extra charge. Now personally, I want my bag to be above my seat for convenience and also safety – we have all seen those videos of people rummaging through your hold luggage and even if it is extremely rare it definitely worries me. But on the other hand, if you don’t want the added stress of dragging your heavy bag onto the plane and pacing up and down until you find a space, only to then have to battle your way back to it a few hours later when you’ve landed – having your bag in the hold sounds quite sensible. So really it is down to personal preference, which you can typically control from where you are in the queue at the gate and how busy your flight is. On any EasyJet flight it is first come-first board (excluding speedy-boarding) so on a busy flight if you are at the front of the queue you will be able to bring your hand luggage on, and vice versa for the back; therefore hang back if you would prefer your carry-on in the hold.
Aside from your hold luggage bag, you usually have a small bag with your most personal belongings in of which you’d like easy access to, for example your phone and purse/wallet. Putting these in your case is quite inconvenient as you use them so much, but EasyJet staff can be quite strict with people bringing 2 bags on board. This does not sound too trivial until you realise that if you were to purchase something from duty-free and bring that in a separate duty-free bag, that would be allowed. You may already see where this is going… but if you were to put your smaller easy-access bag into your duty-free bag, you could bring 2 bags on board! Thank me later for that one.
The last issue to consider before your EasyJet flight has even taken off is the plane itself, now this may sound irrelevant to some people, but I like to sit in the last row at the back. On the longer EasyJet aircraft (A320 or A321s) this is usually row 32 and on the shorter A319s may be around row 26. Say you want to sit in a specific place on the plane, you book your seats and board only to find your row does not exist. Imagine the confusion and fear that you may not be able to be on that flight, don’t worry if this happens. EasyJet assign specific aircraft for specific routes, but subject to how many people book onto the flight they are savvy to swapping aircraft with other routes in order to sell more tickets. For example, if are on an under-booked flight to BCN with your chosen seat in row 32, EasyJet may swap the plane with a popular, full flight to MAD in order to have the opportunity to sell more seats. An understandable business move, but an inconvenience if your row no longer exists – I have found if you stand your ground with requesting a similar area to the one you booked, even if people are already seated there, the airline staff will usually merge everyone so you can still have the position on the plane you paid for. Of course, if you have no preference with where on the plane you sit, provided you’re next to your partner/family, then this may be an irrelevant tip.
The plane itself is very basic, as you can imagine for a budget airline – but not horrendous if it is only for a couple of hours. The seats are very cosy to say the least, armrest to armrest measures at 17inches which means if you are in the middle it can be very tight. If you are surrounded by friends and family it isn’t as bad as may feel more comfortable stretching and fidgeting but I would definitely recommend getting an aisle or window seat if you are travelling solo/not next to your flying partner. In terms of leg room which is arguably the most important question surrounding onboard comfort, EasyJet offers 29” – putting that into perspective British Airways offers 31” and Virgin Atlantic 32”. So, for a cheap, short flight their legroom really is not drastically different to more prestigious airlines. Not only this but for myself at 5ft 7” I had the room to cross my legs, rest them on the feet rest and stretch my legs out under the seat in front; so not too constricting.
Around 30 minutes into your fight the on-board Bistro and Boutique is open and honestly the food is definitely not ‘budget’, the £7.50 meal deal includes items such as Falafel Wraps, Olives, Toasties, all sorts. The only issue I have faced previously is if the plane has just arrived from a previous location and has not been stocked up with food again, specific items onboard can run out quite quickly. A way that often gets around this issue is to sit at the front or back of the plane as this is where the foot trolley starts, therefore sitting in the middle aisles mean you will be the last to be served.
Having flown multiple times with British Airways, TUI, Norwegian, Thomas Cook (in the good ol’ days) and EasyJet, I can safely say that all the budget style compromises it entails to fly with EasyJet is 100% worth it for the remarkably low prices. The accessible costs, basic comfort and easy-going atmosphere make the EasyJet experience for sure.
If you enjoyed this article and want to find out more about Confessions of a Travel Freak, with much more advice on all things travel, check out the links below!