Wednesday, 1 September 2010

A tale of two airlines

We've just returned from a wonderful holiday in France. We flew there via the UK as the flight loads to Paris were looking pretty heavy. Doing this meant we got to stay with some friends either side of our trip, which was fantastic, although of course it meant a couple of extra flights, no mean feat with a baby in tow.

We decided to fly with EasyJet from London to France, as they were the cheapest on the day we wanted to fly (not CHEAP, by the way, just the cheapest... It was a popular day to fly!) Our experience with them was so bad, I must say we've made a resolution never to fly with them again if we don't actually *have* to. It was bad from the start - we did online check in but when we got the airport the line for "Fast" bag drop was longer than the normal check-in line - about 40 minutes of waiting! Then when we got to the desk we were told we were 2 kilos over the limit (we only had 20kilos each, and zero allowance for our baby, which is rare amongst airlines). So, we had to pay excess baggage. Fair enough if we were miles over, but come on guys, 2 kilos? (And incidentally, on the way back from France our bags weighed less than 20 kilos, with the same amount of stuff in them. I suspect some miscalibration on those scales. Is it deliberate? Hmmmmmm).

On board, we had the usual mad scrum for seats (I will never understand why not allocating seats saves money.) The seats were uncomfortable, and don't recline at all... Urgh. Then, when we got to France, we discovered that the airport had built a new "low-cost" terminal, which was basically a shed. There were no seats at baggage reclaim, and no toilets either, and we waited 45 minutes for our bags. Brilliant.

Contrast this to our return, which was BA - Club! We had managed to get an industry deal that cost as much as the Easyjet flights, yet this time we had 20 kilos allowance for all three of us (BA gives a full allowance, even to infants), lounge access at the airport, and a lovely comfy seat and champagne and dinner on the flight home. Granted, of course, this was club, but even people travelling BA economy get the same baggage allowance, a snack and drink for free (unlike EasyJet) and get to fly from a proper airport terminal that has things like oh, seats, toilets, that sort of thing...

So, EasyJet, the verdict is - NEVER AGAIN. The sad thing is we've flown EasyJet many times, and had a much better experience, but I just feel that the penny pinching - paying to check in bags, being very tight on baggage allowance, etc , has gone too far. Our days of flying low cost are over.

In my opinion at least, the discomfort and stress is simply not worth it. Particularly with a baby in tow!


  1. Sometimes I think that all the cost-cutter airlines have priced themselves out of having a half-way decent experience. I think there is a growing number of people who recognize that if they are going to spend 3, 4 or even 5 hours on an airplane traveling long distances to other countries, there are certain amenities that are must-haves - ie. decent baggage claim area, comfortable seats, etc. It sounds like a very unfortunate experience!

  2. Sadly yes the scrum for a seat when flying with Easyjet is not a pleasant one, this is why I always book speedy boarding, more money I know but I just can not deal with the hussle & bussle otherwise,

    As for the check in and the charging of excess baggage, again this also happened to me when flying with a baby, I was only 1KG over was on my own with a baby yet still they charged, I then found out it is not actually Easyjet but the ground handler Menzies who operate the check in and the boarding of the flights, and it is Menzies who charge for the excess baggage and I have been told that the check in staff receive commission on this so this pushes them to charge for every extra kg with no extra consideration for the passenger stood in front,

    So for this I would not throw Easyjet to the never again pile but just be aware that sadly the ground handler are not that good at customer care.




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