Tried & Tested

Easyjet A319-320 economy class

15 Sep 2009 by Mark Caswell

CHECK-IN I arrived at Faro airport at 1725 for my 1925 flight to London Luton. I couldn’t check in online as I was putting a bag in the hold, so I made my way to desks 48-49, which were set aside solely for my flight. Both queues were about 20-strong and took 15 minutes to clear. Security was very well organised and I was through quickly.

BOARDING After a drink and a browse in the shops, I started making my way to Gate B55 at 1835, just before the flight was called to board, as there was a queue for passport control to clear en route – this took ten minutes. The flight started boarding at 1900 – speedy boarding and special assistance first, followed by boarding group A, then B (me). By then a queue had built up on the airbridge and down the aircraft, and I struggled to find a seat on this full flight, finally grabbing window seat 21F (I couldn’t sit with my travelling companion).

THE SEAT The one-class aircraft had 26 rows configured 3-3 (ABC-DEF) - for the seat plan click here. The seat was upholstered in grey fabric with an orange pattern and grey plastic armrests. There was a magazine rack and a fold-down table in the seat in front. There didn’t appear to be any way to recline the seat and there was considerably less legroom than on the B737 aircraft I had flown out on – my neighbour’s legs were flat up against the seat in front, and when I dropped my pen I nearly put my neck out trying to retrieve it.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Rows one, ten and 11 are the emergency exit rows – row one has much more legroom than the others, but you might have to invest in speedy boarding to nab a seat here. Rows ten and 11 have marginally more space, though on this aircraft every centimetre counts. Aisle seats are the best as you can stretch your legs into the aisle and reach the toilet without asking your neighbours to get up. There are galleys at either end of the aircraft and the drinks service begins simultaneously from the front and back, so people in the middle have to wait the longest.

THE FLIGHT We took off ten minutes behind schedule and drinks and snacks were served shortly afterwards, with a list of what was on offer in the “Bistro and Boutique” magazine in the rack in front. The selection included a ham and cheese melt (£3), a bag of cashew nuts (£1.50), a Kenco coffee (£2) and a can of Stella Artois lager (£3.50). Service was friendly but it took a while for the trolley to reach me. Owing to the lack of legroom I found the flight uncomfortable and I was glad when we landed at 2200, 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

ARRIVAL The queue at immigration took only a few minutes to clear and my bag was on the carousel after a short wait.

VERDICT A budget offering that is okay for a short flight, but don’t expect much legroom – Easyjet’s B737 is a more comfortable aircraft.

PRICE A return flight from Luton to Faro in September started from £86 online (speedy boarding costs a further £14).


Michelle Mannion

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