I hated Easyjet when they had free seating, I hated the rush and the pushing. Allocated seating is good but I want to chose my seat so I would pay Speedy Boarding, although because I know I will do enough flights (anything over 5 returns in a year) it is better value for me to by an Easyjet Plus card which gives me this for a year regardless of how many flights. In addition to the seating it gives me a frequent flyer priority queue at check in, again suits my preferred experience of travel.
In the last month I have travel a lot with Easyjet for both business and pleasure and thought I would explain the good and bad.
I went to Egypt for Easter diving. My dive holiday agent uses both charter and Easyjet flights depending on cost, but I have flown on charter to Egypt and the five hours from London is horrendous on the over cramped charter flights, customer service is not as good and I have seen more delays. On my last trip a friend flying back to Manchester was delayed 28 hours! yes 28 hours.
First though I had to fly from Belfast to Gatwick, again by Easyjet. I elected to fly the day before as I had a meeting in London but if it had been the same day then Gatwick have a through luggage system which would have been ideal.
Easyjet are very strict with hand luggage size but not weight. Charter airlines give another 5kg to qualified divers but only allow 5kg hand luggage. My guaranteed hand luggage (larger size again for speedy boarding), carried my PC, iPad, Underwater camera housing, Diving Regs and very heavy logbook which weighed almost 11kg. Now I know I am tall so fulfilling the 'you must be able to put into overhead luggage yourself' is easier for me.
There are no included refreshments but you can bring on-board or buy from them and certainly no more expensive than an airport café, but my tip, a Boots Meal Deal. The return home meant an overnight stay at Gatwick and I was lucky I had enough hotel points for a free night but Easyjet airports tend to have much cheaper hotels than the high cost ones such as Heathrow.
Lastweek I needed to be in Birmingham for the first UKOUG Next Generation Event so flew there Wednesday tea time and again no delays.
Easyjet can be very low cost if you have flexibility and know a long time in advance. I flew to Tel Aviv for ilOUG conference and this was approved for funding through the ACE Director program about 5 weeks out. Oracle travel priced my flights and it was over $1,000 which they would pay but I thought extortionate. Friday I was in Manchester and hoped I could get a flight from there but it was too early in the day and I was not flexible enough. However a quick train (booked in advance £26) to Milton Keynes and it was only a £24 taxi to Luton.
Did I mention my itinerary was a nightmare? Well I also had an EOUC meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria the following Tuesday, the day AFTER ilOUG. Direct flights from Tel Aviv to Sofia? No, well not quite true there is one on Mondays at 7am, no good, so then my options were via Frankfurt, Paris or London all with overnight stays. My fellow board member Fiona was also going to Sofia so I looked at Manchester and that worked. I landed back from Tel Aviv just before midnight Monday and flew out again at 7.30 the next morning with her to Sofia, again Easyjet. The flights to Tel Aviv plus the train and taxi was < $600, and the extra time was actually negligible.
Now I know you have to pay extra for bags, but I have included that in my comparisons and yes with BA I have lounge access but most airports allow you to purchase a one off visit an actually I am an IOD member and in most domestic airports that will give you lounge access.
Friday Ifinished the epic few weeks by flying home from Stansted airport with Easyjet., this was the Friday before a bank holiday and the airport was packed, or 'bunged' as they say in Belfast. I was really depressed that Easyjet wouldn't open the flight until 2 hours before boarding but then I had the same issue in Norway last month with BA, and there didn't appear to be enough staff, but that seemed to be a Stansted issue, all areas, all check in, security, shops all seemed to be struggling with not enough staff. My flight took off on time and arrived early, despite being a late evening flight.