Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN

I had checked in online before my outbound flight, selected my seats for free (I recently joined Easyjet Plus, which costs £170 a year) and printed my boarding passes, so all I had to do on arrival at Copenhagen airport was drop my suitcase off.

It was about ten minutes’ walk from the train station to the two assigned Easyjet desks (153 and 154) in Terminal 2, but there was only one person ahead of me at each desk so it didn’t take long to be processed.

(Easyjet Plus members can bring one cabin bag with a maximum size of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, as well as one small under seat bag (handbag/laptop) that must be placed under the seat in front. Checked luggage costs £26 a piece.)

I then headed upstairs to security, which was five minutes away on a mezzanine level. There were long lines so it took about 15 minutes to get through screening, with all electronic items required to come out, along with liquids.

Some people had to take shoes and belts off as well, and there was a member of security staff holding a baton and using it to direct people what do to, which seemed a little confrontational. It was crowded, hot and quite exhausting. (Easyjet Plus members can go through fast-track security at select airports but Copenhagen isn’t one of them. Click here for details.)

BOARDING

Once airside, there was a good choice of duty-free shops, and nice cafés such as Joe and the Juice.

My Easyjet flight, departing at 1625, was leaving from Gate F4, right at the other end of the airport. I headed down there at 1540 – it took about 15 minutes to get there via moving walkways and down escalators.

When I got there, people had already started filing through into a ground-level waiting area but the plane hadn’t actually arrived yet. I decided to take a sit until the last moment instead of standing in a long queue for ages.

By 1615, the aircraft had appeared and inbound passengers were disembarking down steps from the front. I had my documentation checked and was directed to join the shorter Speedy Boarding queue (a benefit of Easyjet Plus) on the left.

We were allowed to exit the building first and get on the plane before anyone else. A friendly member of crew welcomed passengers and directed them to their seats, saying whether they were window, middle or aisle, and on which side of the aircraft.

THE SEAT

I promptly took my seat, 2A, and tried to make myself comfortable (it can feel quite claustrophobic when wearing bulky winter clothes and coats so an aisle might be a better choice).

The A319 aircraft is configured with arranged 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) across 26 rows, with A-B-C in row one offering the most legroom. (1D-E-F has a bulkhead in front of it so is less spacious. The exit row seats were ten and 11. Unlike on some Easyjet aircraft, the seats on this flight were the older product.

Tray tables fold down and are supportive enough to type on. There were no headrest covers on the backs of seats 1A-B-C but other seats did have them and they advertised drinks (£1.80 for a Pepsi), menu deals (£6.20 for a soft drink and sandwich) and booking.com. Boutique and Bistro magazines are in the seat-back pockets, and list prices for refreshments and snacks. A bottle of still water, for example, costs £1.80.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Avoid middle seats as they feel quite claustrophobic – if you are tall, make sure you get an aisle seat, or even better, choose to sit in row one A, B or C, or an exit row. If you are a member of Easyjet Plus, you can choose any seat for free, subject to availability. It can cost up to £15.99 each way to pre-book, otherwise.

The further back you are, the longer you will have to wait to disembark (assuming it is only from the front of the aircraft). Avoid the last row, 26, as it has no windows and the seats are cramped. They are also close to the washrooms.

THE FLIGHT

The captain came on at 1635 to say the flight time to London Gatwick was estimated to be one hour 40 minutes, with a temperature on arrival of nine degrees, plus wind and rain.

After a safety demo from crew, the plane pushed back 15 minutes late at 1640, taking off shortly after. Once at cruising altitude, after about ten minutes, a trolley service of paid-for refreshments began from the front. The crew were warm and professional.

ARRIVAL

The aircraft landed at London Gatwick’s South Terminal on time at 1730. My suitcase appeared quite quickly and it only took a few minutes to get through immigration. Annoyingly, trains from the airport weren’t running to London Bridge that Sunday night so I had to get one to Victoria.

VERDICT

Security at Copenhagen airport was quite stressful and crowded but the flight itself was fine. Having Easyjet Plus, which allowed me to sit in row two, for free, was a benefit, as was Speedy Boarding and the extra piece of hand-luggage.

FACT FILE:

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
  • SEAT WIDTH 17.5in
  • SEAT RECLINE 0in
  • SEAT PITCH 29in
  • PRICE Internet rates for a return midweek flight in May started from £46.
  • CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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four × three =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN

I arrived at London Gatwick airport by train at 1050, turning right into the South Terminal departures hall to where the Easyjet self-service bag-drop machines are in Zone H. (Next year, Easyjet will move all it’s operations to the North Terminal, where a a proportion of its flights already go from.)

I had already checked in online and printed my boarding pass – I also recently joined Easyjet Plus which costs £170 a year, so was able to select where I wanted to sit for free.

Despite there being about 20 people ahead of me in the queue for bag-drop, it moved quickly. A member of staff was on-hand to check documents and help with any problems checking in luggage via the touchscreen monitors. I placed my bag on the conveyor, which also weighed it, and then went through the simple process of scanning my boarding pass and applying the self-adhesive bag tag that printed out.

(Easyjet Plus members can bring one cabin bag with a maximum size of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, as well as one small under seat bag (handbag/laptop) that must be placed under the seat in front. Checked luggage costs £26 a piece.)

Once this was done, the case whizzed away and I took the escalator up to security. It was quite busy, with screens informing passengers that all lanes would take about five minutes to get through. There were free plastic bags available for liquids and automated gates that open when you, again, scan your boarding pass.

There was a new set up at screening whereby passengers were assigned a coloured spot to stand on with a number so that a several lines of people could simultaneously put their items in trays. They then pushed their tray forward on to the moving belt but it was a bit chaotic and I found it hard to get my tray into a gap as there was a backlog of them behind. Laptops and iPads came out, belts, coats and (some people’s) shoes off. Some passengers were also called to one side for full body scans.

I was through after about seven minutes and was pleased to find a new unit of 16 repacking stations, which made putting everything back into your bag a bit more efficient. However, not everyone was impressed, with people writing comments like “WTF?!” and “Nightmare” on the feedback whiteboard provided. I didn’t think it was that bad… (What I had forgotten was that Easyjet Plus cardholders can use fast-track security lanes at 37 airports including Gatwick.) I was in airside departures by 1125.

BOARDING

My gate (25) appeared on screens at 1210, and I headed straight down there as soon as I saw. It was a fairly long walk away, right at the far end when following signs for gates 10 to 28. It wasn’t a busy flight and I had Speedy Boarding (thanks to Easyjet Plus) so was straight through and on to the airbridge as soon as boarding began at 1220. There was a short wait until we were able to get on the plane, but I was in my seat by 1225.

THE SEAT

I was sitting in window seat 2A at the front of the plane. The A319 is configured with seats arranged 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) across 26 rows, with A-B-C in row one offering the most legroom. (1D-E-F has a bulkhead in front of it so is less spacious. The exit row seats were ten and 11.

Unlike on some Easyjet aircraft, the seats on this flight were the older product, and although it was all quite clean, the upholstery was pealing away from the back of the seat in front of mine.

Tray tables fold down and are supportive enough to type on with a small laptop. Headrest covers advertise drinks (£1.80 for a Pepsi), menu deals (£6.20 for a soft drink and sandwich) and booking.com. Boutique and Bistro magazines are in the seat-back pockets, and list prices for refreshments and snacks.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Avoid middle seats as they feel quite claustrophobic – if you are tall, make sure you get an aisle seat, or even better, choose to sit in row one A, B or C, or an exit row. If you are a member of Easyjet Plus, you can choose any seat for free, subject to availability. It can cost up to £15.99 each way to pre-book, otherwise.

The further back you are, the longer you will have to wait to disembark (assuming it is only from the front of the aircraft). Avoid the last row, 26, as it has no windows and the seats are cramped. They are also close to the washrooms.

THE FLIGHT

The plane pushed back on time at 1255, taking off five minutes later after a safety demonstration. The captain gave a nice welcome to everyone on board, informing us that the journey would be one hour 35 minutes, and what the weather would be like upon landing in Denmark.

Once airborne, above the clouds, the cabin crew began the trolley service. There was also the option of duty-free, with an announcement made that a number of perfumes were being discounted by 25 per cent. I didn’t buy anything to eat or drink, simply using the time to do some work.   

ARRIVAL

We landed at Copenhagen airport on time at 1530, after which there was a short taxi to the stand. Disembarkation was immediate, via steps at the front. Passengers then walked across the tarmac to the airport. All in all, there was a long walk to baggage reclaim via immigration, taking about 30 minutes to get landside. Trains run frequently to the city centre and take about 15 minutes to the main station.

VERDICT

Having Easyjet Plus made a difference to the ease of my journey, and for anyone travelling frequently with the carrier, will probably make sense to sign up (it works out at £14.16 a month). With allocated seating now standard across all Easyjet flights, having Speedy Boarding isn’t always an advantage (before, it was a race for the best seats), but dedicated bag-drop desks, fast-track security and free seat allocation are a benefit. The extra item of hand-baggage is also good.

FACT FILE:

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
  • SEAT WIDTH 17.5in
  • SEAT RECLINE 0in
  • SEAT PITCH 29in
  • PRICE Internet rates for a return midweek flight in May started from £46.
  • CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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four × five =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN

Before my outbound London-Milan flight, I checked in online and printed my boarding pass for my inbound Milan Malpensa to London Gatwick flight. If you want to pre-select your seat, this ranges from £3.49 to £12.99 each way.

On the day of my return, I took the express train from Cadorna station to Milan Malpensa airport (Terminal 1) – it cost €12 and took 29 minutes nonstop (going from Centrale takes twice as long).

Once I arrived at 1600, I took the free shuttle bus from outside the terminal to T2, where my Easyjet flight was leaving from at 1800. There were three bag-drop/check-in desks open and a short line of people waiting. My case was processed within seven minutes and I was directed to Gate E25.

Less than a minute away, I found the security area to be very badly designed, with snaking barriers forcing you to take the longest route possible to get to it, and then no space at all for unloading belongings into the trays and on to the conveyors (there were two available and staff were on hand to check documents).

Liquids did not have to come out but laptops did need to be removed, as did jackets, boots and chunky jewellery.

BOARDING

I followed signs to the E gates and, after killing time sitting on a bench reading, headed to Gate E25 downstairs at 1705. When I arrived, a long queue had already formed. I should have taken a seat and waited it out there, but instead, joined the back of the line and then felt committed to keeping my place in it, which was a mistake as it wasn’t moving.

There was a large number of passengers beyond the desk where staff were checking documents but nowhere to sit so they were just being held in a pen by the doors. There was no progress until 1735, when the doors were finally opened and people with Speedy Boarding were allowed out to cross the tarmac and board the plane. I was out by 1745 and, as I was sitting in row 25, headed for the steps at the back of the aircraft.

THE SEAT

As there were only 26 rows on this A319, I was almost at the back, seated in 25E, a middle seat. (I had been pre-assigned it and didn’t want to pay extra to change it so just made do.)

It was a full flight so I had someone either side of me – a number of people were also forced to stow their hand-luggage in the hold as there wasn’t space on board for all the suitcases. (Cases up to 50cm x 40cm x 20cm are guaranteed to stay with you.)

The seat was the older of Easyjet’s economy products – it is in the process of rolling out its new slimline Recaro economy seat, which is much better designed and looks smarter. Tray tables fold down from the seat-backs and are of a decent size.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Avoid middle seats as they feel quite claustrophobic – if you are tall, make sure you get an aisle seat, or even better, pay extra to sit in row one A, B or C (D-E-F have a bulkhead in front of them so legroom isn’t as generous), or an exit row (ten or 11) as these offer extra space to stretch out in.

The further back you are, the longer you will have to wait to disembark (assuming it is only from the front of the aircraft). Avoid the last row, 26, as it has no windows and the seats are cramped. They are also close to the washrooms.

THE FLIGHT

There was a safety demonstration at 1805 and the plane pushed back at 1810. After taxiing for a few minutes, the aircraft took off at 1820. At 1845, the captain came on to inform everyone that we had reached our cruising altitude of 38,000ft and would be expecting to land 20 at Gatwick minutes early.

He also gave details of the weather in London (showers and wind), and which route we would be taking (over Geneva, Paris, Hastings and Eastbourne on the south coast of England, then up to London).

A refreshment service started not long after, followed by the sale of Gatwick Express train tickets.

ARRIVAL

The aircraft landed at Gatwick’s South Terminal at 1920 (1820) local time, with disembarkation taking place from the front only. It took a good 25 minutes for everyone to get off the plane and down the steps in the rain to the tarmac, where people walked to the terminal.

It was then about 12 minutes on foot to immigration – I used one of the e-gates and was into baggage reclaim just after 1900. There was about five minutes delay until the cases started coming out on the carousel but I didn’t have to wait long for mine.

VERDICT

Boarding for this flight took a long time, as did getting off the plane, which made the whole experience much more exhausting and stressful than it needed to be. Having to take a shuttle bus from the station to Terminal 2 was also a bit of a pain. The flight itself was fine though, and the timings good.

FACT FILE:

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
  • SEAT PITCH 29in
  • SEAT WIDTH 17.5in
  • PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return flight to Milan Malpensa in December started from £129.
  • CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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four × 3 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN

I checked in online at easyjet.com the morning of my flight, accepting my assigned seat and printing the boarding passes for both my outbound and return hops from London Gatwick to Milan Malpensa. If you want to pre-select your seat, this ranges from £3.49 to £12.99 each way.

After taking the Gatwick Express train from Victoria (note that gold cardholders who have an annual travel card can get a third off the fare), I headed up the escalators, through the ticket barrier and into the South Terminal, before turning left to the Easyjet self-service bag-drop area (checked luggage costs £31 per bag). It was 1545 – my flight was departing at 1735.

There were about 20 people ahead of me and eight kiosks, five of which were operational, as well as several members of staff on hand to help passengers and check documents. It was the first time I had tried this automated process and was impressed at how quick and easy it was.

The line moved quickly and the touchscreen system was intuitive – you first have to scan your boarding pass, then weigh your luggage on the conveyor next to it and, finally, attach the self-adhesive ticket that prints out, before seeing your case whisked away. The only thing the kiosks didn’t provide was a printed receipt for my bag so I kept my fingers crossed it wasn’t going to get lost (presumably the computer system would connect my bag with my booking though).

At 1600, I headed upstairs to departures. This revamped area is wide and spacious, with fully automated gates where you scan your boarding pass before being allowed through into the screening area. (There are also stations to unload small bottles of liquids into plastic bags provided free of charge.)

There were screens overhead showing how long it was taking people to get through (two minutes was the longest). After removing my laptop, belt and coat, I was soon through the metal detector and retrieving my belongings. I noticed there were paper flip-charts for passengers to write their opinions and experiences on – most were positive.

Departure boards stated that gate information for the Milan Malpensa flight would appear at 1645 so I had 45 minutes to spare airside.

BOARDING

My gate (20) flashed up as predicted – it took about five minutes to get there using the moving walkways. Upon arrival, a queue had already formed as staff checked documents and ushered people onwards to join another line on the airbridge.

I was in my seat by 1705. As the flight was going to be full, crew asked passengers to keep as many items as possible under the seats in front of them to allow room in the overhead bins for suitcases. After a lot of shuffling around and rearranging of lockers, the cabin was secured and a safety demonstration conducted.

THE SEAT

This A319 has 26 rows of economy seats arranged 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F). As I was travelling alone and it was only a short flight, I decided it wasn’t worth paying extra to choose my seat. I was in middle seat 8E, which had the benefit of being near the front of the plane but was a middle seat, which is not ideal.

The product was the older of Easyjet’s economy seating, although it is in the process of rolling out its new slim-line Recaro version, which is much better designed. Tray tables fold down from the seat-backs and are of a good size.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Avoid middle seats as they feel quite claustrophobic – if you are tall, make sure you get an aisle seat, or even better, pay extra to sit in row one A, B or C (D-E-F have a bulkhead in front of them so legroom isn’t as generous), or an exit row (ten or 11) as these offer extra space to stretch out in.

The further back you are, the longer you will have to wait to disembark (assuming it is only from the front of the aircraft). Avoid the last row, 26, as it has no window and the seats are cramped. They are also close to the washrooms, which isn’t very nice.

THE FLIGHT

It was announced that the flight time to Milan would be 90 minutes. The aircraft pushed back at 1730, with the cabin lights dimmed, taking off not long after at 1745.

Once airborne, at 1800 a refreshment service began with snacks and drinks for sale from Easyjet’s Boutique and Bistro trolley. Headrest covers advertised coffee for £2.50, mixed nuts and seeds for £1.80, and car rental discounts with Europcar. You can pay in British pounds or euros.

Crew were friendly and professional, coming around to collect rubbish at 1820.

ARRIVAL

The plane landed into Milan Malpensa’s Terminal 2 at 1910 (2010 local time), 20 minutes early. Disembarkation was from both the front and back of the plane, down steps to awaiting shuttle buses.

Once full, we were driven to the terminal where there was a rush to passport control. There were two channels (EU and “all passports”) and the lines moved quickly, mainly because one of the officers was waving everyone through without even checking their IDs.

I was in baggage reclaim by 2030 and my suitcase emerged moments after. I was staying at the Moxy hotel, which was just across the road from the arrivals terminal, so was very convenient.

VERDICT

A good short-haul service into my Milanese airport of choice, Malpensa (BA mainly flies into Linate.) The flight schedule also offers a choice of times throughout the day that are convenient for business people. It was a bonus that we landed early.

FACT FILE:

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
  • SEAT PITCH 29in
  • SEAT WIDTH 17.5in
  • PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return flight to Milan Malpensa in December started from £129.
  • CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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twenty − twenty =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN

I checked in online for both my outbound and return flight between London and Dubrovnik the day before the first flight (click here to read the review). I changed my pre-assigned seats (this was at a fee of about £6 in total) and printed my boarding passes.

Dubrovnik airport is 25-30 minute’s drive from the old city, and I arrived at 0810, with plenty of time before my 1000 Easyjet flight to Gatwick. The departure area was quite small, with 17 check-in desks in front of the entrance. There were about eight open, plus two for Star Alliance passengers (business and economy).

I waited a few minutes to drop my case off and then turned right to take a ramp up to international departures (gates 3-9). There was a long queue in the corridor, with staff checking boarding passes before letting people through to security (there were two channels open). Progress was reasonably quick (laptops and liquids out) and I was airside in duty-free by 0830.

BOARDING

Gate 9 was upstairs on the mezzanine level, which meant boarding was via airbridge as opposed to bus. I noticed that the flight status screens were confusingly showing departures for the present as well as the following day, which meant it took some time for the status of my flight to reappear.
There was plenty of seating upstairs by the gate and natural light coming through the windows.

The boarding process, which started at 0935, was painfully slow. Speedy Boarding passengers were called first – normally this is a plus as it means you will be in your seat quicker than anyone else, but in this case it merely meant you were first in line for 25 minutes.

I waited until last, reading my book. Beyond the desk where a member of staff was checking boarding passes, was a long snaking line. I joined it at 1000 (the flight was obviously going to be late departing). Passengers filtered downstairs to then cross the tarmac to the plane, where they ascended steps to both the front and back (I had been instructed to take the rear ones). I was in my seat (19A) by 1010.

THE SEAT

There were 26 rows on this A319, configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F). Unlike the outbound flight, which was served by an A320 with new Recaro seating, this aircraft had Easyjet’s standard economy product.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Passengers have to pay to choose a seat. Rows one, ten and 11 are Extra Legroom; rows two to five Upfront; and the rest Standard. Avoid middle seats B and E if travelling alone. There are washrooms at both the front and back of the plane. Rows seven to 15 are over the wing.

THE FLIGHT

A safety demo was conducted at 1020, as the plane pushed back. The cabin was crowded and a baby was screaming. Take-off was at 1030. Not long after, the crew came around selling newspapers and copies of Hello! magazine. This was followed by refreshments at 1100.

I ordered a Deli Delights Snack Pack for £4.40, which contained a small Bel Paese cheese, pumpkin and sesame seed crackers, a 40g pot of hummus, a mini bag of sun-dried tomato flavour bruschetta bits, some honey and mustard crunchy pretzel pieces, a couple of Nature Valley honey and oat bars, a packet of organic raisins and a chocolate. Good value but anyone who ate all this in one go would probably feel quite sick.

Sandwiches, coffee, tea, soft and alcoholic drinks were also available for a fee. Rubbish was collected at 1135. A duty-free trolley rolled passed me at 1220. The rest of the flight was uneventful.

ARRIVAL

We landed at 1250 (1350 local time), with a ten-minute taxi to the terminal. Once inside, immigration and baggage reclaim were efficient.

VERDICT

A very slow boarding process delayed the departure of this flight somewhat, but the journey itself was fine. The snacks on board are good value. The seat is not as good as the new Recaro product, though, which offers a little extra space.


FACT FILE

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
  • SEAT WIDTH 17.1in
  • SEAT PITCH 29in
  • PRICE Internet rates for a return flight from London to Dubrovnik in October started from £96.
  • CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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five × 5 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN

Passengers flying with Easyjet have to check in online before their flight and print their own boarding pass (or download it to their smartphone via the airline’s app). Seating is also pre-assigned, so unless you have paid extra to select where you want to be placed, you will be seated wherever there is space.

I had checked in for my inbound flight to London Gatwick the day before my outbound journey, so already had a print-out of my boarding pass. I had also paid an extra £34 to check in a piece of luggage (including the return journey). With all the ancillary charges, Easyjet can rarely be considered a low-cost airline for the passenger these days, unless you have packed incredibly light, don’t mind where you sit and have brought a packed lunch with you.

I arrived at Venice Marco Polo airport by Alilaguna boat from the Rialto bridge – the orange line just takes just 45 minutes. You can get tickets on board (€16) but I had bought a return ticket for €27.

My Easyjet flight was due to depart at 1810, so I allowed plenty of time, getting to the terminal at 1600. There was a fairly long line at baggage drop, which took about 15 minutes to get to the front of. I then took a set of escalators up to the departure level, where I went through security (laptops out but no one seemed to concerned about liquids). This didn’t take more than a few minutes, even with a pat down.

Duty-free was right in front of security, along with numerous shops and cafes spread through the terminal – there were more on the upper mezzanine level too.  

BOARDING

I kept an eye on the screens, which showed boarding as taking place from Gate 19, just beyond passport control, where there were no queues. I went through at 1750, and waited ten minutes to start the boarding process at 1800. I was in my seat by 1810 (an airbridge joined the terminal to the aircraft), and a safety demo took place shortly after, as the plane was taxiing.

THE SEAT

This A319 has 26 rows of economy seats arranged 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F). I had chosen seat 7F by the window, just in front of exit rows ten and 11, which have extra legroom. Funnily enough, a recent poll from Easyjet revealed 7F to be the airline’s most popular place to sit among its passengers, so apparently I got lucky. Click here to find out more.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

What is so good about 7F? It is considered to be a “Standard” seat on the A319, so is not as expensive as “Upfront” or “Extra Legroom” seats, and yet it is near the front. I was pleased to be near the front of the plane as this meant I could disembark quickly, and be offered food and drink relatively soon after take-off.

It also meant any luggage I had didn’t have to be dragged all the way to the back, with the risk of lockers being full, and I could board earlier. The only downside was that my seat had crumbs on. If you like being by a window, 7F is also a good choice as the view is not obscured by the wing. If you’re tall, you’d be more comfortable in an Extra Legroom seat though in exit rows one, ten or 11.

Avoid the last row, 26, as it has no window and the seats are cramped. They are also close to the washrooms, which isn’t very nice. Also avoid middle seats B and E as they feel a bit claustrophobic, especially when you are stuck between two people you don’t know.

You may want to avoid sitting in the middle so that you are not the last to disembark – provided they are using both doors on the aircraft. If they are only using the front door, then seat as near to the front as possible to get off first, but note that you will probably have to pay for the privilege. All head-rest covers advertised drinks and snacks, or Vodafone roaming deals.

THE FLIGHT

Take-off was at 1825. A paid-for refreshment service began once airborne, at about 1840, with snacks including bacon sandwiches (£4.50), ham and cheese melts (£4.40) and Pringles (£1.80). New products included Cawston Press “vintage lemonade” cartons cost £2.50, Big Tom Bloody Mary Mix £1.50 and This Juicy Water for £2.50. Spirits cost £4, beer £3 for 330ml.

Crew then came around selling Gatwick Express tickets at 1900 and, shortly after, scratch cards giving you the chance to win up to £10,000. Crew were friendly and smiley. The captain came on at 1930 to our ETA was 2005 (1905 local time), with a ten- to 15-minute taxi to the stand for disembarkation.

ARRIVAL

Landing was as predicted, with disembarkation to Gatwick’s South Terminal via an airbridge at the front. There was a long walk to passport control (about 15 minutes), where there was then a 12-minute wait for the staffed desks (the automatic gates for biometric passports looked much quicker). My case appeared in baggage reclaim to long after got through.

VERDICT

This was a very good short-haul flight that felt like it went quickly. I was happy in seat 7F, and curious to discover that it is considered Easyjet’s most popular place to sit on board, according to a recent poll it conducted.

FACT FILE:

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
  • SEAT PITCH 29in
  • SEAT WIDTH 17.5in
  • PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return flight to Venice Marco Polo in July started from £112.
  • CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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eighteen − 9 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN

Passengers flying with Easyjet have to check in online before their flight and print their own boarding pass (or download it to their smartphone via the airline’s app). Seating is also pre-assigned, so unless you have paid extra to select where you want to be placed, you will be seated wherever there is space. I had chosen seat 9A by the window, just in front of exit rows ten and 11, which have extra legroom.

I made sure my advance passenger information was complete before checking for both the outbound and inbound services, and printed out boarding passes for each of them. I had also paid an extra £34 to check in a piece of luggage (including the return journey). With all the ancillary charges, Easyjet can rarely be considered a low-cost airline for the passenger these days, unless you have packed incredible light, don’t mind where you sit and have brought a packed lunch with you as food and drink comes at a price.

I arrived at London Gatwick’s South Terminal at 1235, and turned left to reach the Easyjet check-in area in Zone C. (Note that some Easyjet flights depart from the North Terminal so make sure you check.) There was a quite a long queue for bag-drop, but there were plenty of desks open so it didn’t take long to be seen.

I then took the nearby escalator upstairs to security, which is now a beautifully wide-open area with desks and free plastic bags for packing liquids, and automatic gates to let you through into the screening area after you have scanned the code on your boarding pass. (The new landside Bloc hotel recently opened next to security, which is very convenient.)

There was a short waiting to get through security, with laptops and liquids out, and jewellery and belts off. In some cases, shoes too. There was also a number of new body scanners in place, with screens showing the outline of the person being scanned, but not a “naked” image. The tech guys have finally overcome this afront to human dignity.

The airside retail area in departures seemed to be complete, with heaps of new shops open including Harrods, and a Caviar House and Prunier bar. Everything looked shiny and new, and there appeared to be new signposting to the gates, which are all on the main level (there is also an upper mezzanine floor with more shops and lounges including No1 Traveller, which anyone can pay to use.

BOARDING

The gate (17) for my flight didn’t show up until 1445, at which point I headed down there. It was about five minutes’ walk. On arrival, staff checked passports and boarding passes, before ushering people into the spacious waiting area with lots of seats. After a few minutes, passengers were called forward, starting with rows to the front of the plane. Boarding was via an airbridge, and I was in my seat by 1415. It was a very busy flight, though there were a few exit row seats left empty.

THE SEAT

This A319 has 26 rows of economy seats arranged 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F). To find out which are the most popular places to sit, click here. I was pleased to be near the front of the plane in window seat 9A so I could disembark quickly and be offered food and drink relatively soon after take-off.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Avoid the last row, 26, as it has no window and the seats are cramped. They are also close to the washrooms, which isn’t very nice. Also avoid middle seats B and E as they feel a bit claustrophobic, especially when you are stuck between two people you don’t know.

If you need extra legroom, you will probably want to pay extra to sit in exit rows one, ten or 11. You may want to avoid sitting in the middle so that you are not the last to disembark – provided they are using both doors on the aircraft. If they are only using the front door, then seat as near to the front as possible to get off first, but note that you will probably have to pay for the privilege.

THE FLIGHT

Once everyone was on board, at about 1425, the plane began taxiing and there was a safety demonstration. There was then a 30-minute delay for take-off, as we waited for a slot alongside the runway. Not long after being airborne, the captain released the crew from their jump-seats for duty.

The trolley arrived at my row at 1535 – I paid £5.20 for a G&T. The flight went quickly (just over two hours in total) and we started our descent at 1620. There were two rubbish collections, with one just as we were making a rapid descent into Venice Marco Polo, where landing was at 1645 (1745 local time), ten minutes late.

ARRIVAL

After a short taxi, we disembarked from steps at the front of the aircraft to an awaiting shuttle bus that took us to the terminal, and I made an effort to then make sure I entered the terminal swiftly so as to get to the front of the line for passport control. I succeeded, and was in baggage reclaim in just a few minutes, by about 1805. It took about ten minutes for my suitcase to appear.

I then bought a return ticket from one of the transport desks in the airside arrivals lounge for €27 on the Alilaguna boat into Venice. You can take the blue or the orange line (the latter is a bit quicker), but for me the journey on the blue line to San Marco took 90 minutes via Murano and Lido. You can also get tickets on board but they cost a bit more (€16 each way.)

VERDICT

Despite some delay to take-off, time was made up en route and the flight itself went quickly. The crew were friendly and efficient, and the seat fine for this short leg. Flying into Marco Polo is far more convenient that going into Treviso, as Ryanair does from Stansted, as it’s much closer to the city.

FACT FILE:

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
  • SEAT PITCH 29in
  • SEAT WIDTH 17.5in
  • PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return flight to Venice Marco Polo in July started from £112.
  • CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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five × four =

Easyjet A319 economy class

BACKGROUND Easyjet flies between London Luton and Reykjavik four days a week – Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. 

CHECK-IN Taxis from Reykjavik city centre are expensive, at about £75 for the 45-minute journey so it is better (though less convenient) to take a shuttle bus with a company such as Iceland Excursions. They only leave on the hour, and as my flight was at 1130, I got the 0830 bus from the depot near the harbour. (Tickets cost about £9.)

I arrived at Keflavik International airport at 0915 and went straight to the Easyjet check-in area, where desks 12 and 13 were for Easyjet Plus members and 14-18 for bag-drop. Staff were very efficient, processing people rapidly, so even though there was a queue of about 20 people ahead of me, I was rid of my suitcase within a few minutes. (I had already checked in online and printed my boarding pass.)

Security was accessed by taking a lift up a level and, after a five-minute wait, I was going through the screening process – laptops and liquids had to come out, jackets and belts off. My bag was searched, adding another couple of minutes on, but by 0930 I was airside. Keflavik airport advertises that it is one of the few that sells both duty- and tax-free shopping for discounts of up to 50 per cent on city centre prices. The terminal was modern, clean and attractive with numerous cafes and retail outlets.

BOARDING At 1040, departure screens showed that passengers for the 1130 EZY2296 flight to London Luton could go to Gate 29 for boarding. I set off at 1045 – signs showed the gate was up to 15 minutes away on foot but I found it took less than that, though it depends on how many people are queuing for passport control en route – I was through in less than a minute.

By the time I got to the gate at 1155, the flight said it was on its final call, but there was still a long line of people waiting. Boarding passes and passports were checked again and passengers travelled by escalator up a level to board via an airbridge to the front of the plane. I was in my seat (14D) by 1108.

THE SEAT I had been assigned aisle seat 14D, just behind one of two exit rows (12 and 13), and as it happened, no one had booked to sit in any of the exit row seats (D-E-F) in row 13 so I was asked if I wanted to move so that someone would be there to operate the door in an emergency. I gladly obliged, as it meant I had no one sitting next to me and was by a window. (I had to keep my belongings in the overhead locker, though, for take-of and landing.) The cabin was clean and the seating was the usual Easyjet product though without a recline.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Avoid the last row, 26, as it has no window and the seats are cramped. They are also close to the washrooms, which isn’t very nice. Also avoid middle seats B and E as they feel a bit claustrophobic, especially when you are stuck between two people you don’t know. If you need extra legroom, you will probably want to pay extra for an aisle seat either in row one (£12), 12 or 13 (£8). You may want to avoid sitting in the middle so that you are not the last to disembark – provided they are using both doors on the aircraft. If they are only using the front door, then seat as near to the front as possible to get off first, but note that you will probably have to pay for the privilege.

THE FLIGHT The aircraft pushed back at 1120 and took off at 1130. With a huge storm brewing in the UK for later that day, the captain warned of bad weather and turbulence on flying into London.

The refreshment service began at 1140, with crew running through a long list of items that could be ordered from the Boutique and Bistro magazine in the seat-back pocket – from muffins (£2.50) and Moma porridge (£1.80) to “meal deals” such as a sandwich and a coffee with a free Twix for £6.50. Crew went through the cabin collecting rubbish several times throughout the journey. I was tired, so slept for most of it.

ARRIVAL The plane started its bumpy descent over Manchester at 1335, touching down in London at 1400. Disembarkation was via a flight of steps from the front of the aircraft, with passengers then having to walk a short distance across the tarmac and into the terminal. There were long queues for passport control – in fact biometric gates looked even more crowded than staffed desks. I was, however, through within ten minutes as the lines moved quickly. I then waited a further 15 minutes for my suitcase to appear. Buses outside transfer people to the train station frequently and tickets cost £1.60.

VERDICT I was pleased to have been moved to an exit row window seat with extra legroom, which made the journey more comfortable. A decent short-haul hop.

FACT FILE:

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return flight to Reykjavik in November started from £159.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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five × three =

Easyjet A319 economy class

BACKGROUND Easyjet flies between London Luton and Reykjavik four days a week – Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  

CHECK-IN I arrived at London Luton airport at 0450, with about two hours until my Easyjet flight (EZY2295) to Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport at 0645. I had already checked in online but had a suitcase to drop off so waited ten minutes until the bag-drop desks for my flight opened at 0505. There was fairly long queue for the check-in desks, despite me being one of the first to join the line for the Reykjavik flight when it was announced. My flight was supposed to be served by desks 54 and 55. However, only 54 was staffed and passengers on other flights were also using this one, so it took about 15 minutes to be processed.

There were new double cage gauges at check-in for measuring hand-luggage – Easyjet’s new policy allows people to carry one piece no bigger than 50cm x 40cm x 20cm, but doesn’t guarantee that this may not have to be put in the hold free of charge on a busy flight. Smaller cases measuring 56cm x 45cm x 25cm are, however, guaranteed to stay with you.

I already had my boarding pass printed out so after I dropped my case off, went straight upstairs to security. Before taking the escalator up (there are also lifts), there was a holographic member of staff instructing people to make sure all liquids were in an airport-approved plastic bag.

Once my documents had been checked again, I was able to join the short line for security screening (if facing long delays, you can pay £4 for fast-track at one of the computer terminals here – or £3 online) and was through with minimal fuss (laptops out, belts, jackets and scarves off). I then entered the airside departures area where I stopped for breakfast for half an hour. 

BOARDING Luton has a “silent” airport policy so flights don’t tend to be announced unless they are closing, so I kept an eye on a nearby screen, which said how long it would be until my gate opened. At 0600, when Gate 20 flashed up, I made my way down there – it was only a minute’s walk around the corner, downstairs.

There were two lanes – one for Speedy Boarding and one for regular passengers. Quite a lot of people were already waiting – they must have been very quick off the mark – and there was a 15-minute wait until boarding got underway. Once Speedy Boarding passengers had been processed, everyone else had their boarding passes and passports checked and followed them downstairs to an awaiting bus outside on the tarmac.

At 0630, this drove everyone to the plane and boarding commenced from steps up to both the front and the back of the A319. As I had been assigned a seat in row 25, the check-in agent had written on my boarding pass that I needed to board from the back. This was the second to last row on the aircraft, and I was in middle seat B.

I would have preferred a window seat but when I went to check in online a few days before, there weren’t any of the cheap window seats left so I didn’t bother. (Assigned seats cost from £3 to £12.) Judging by the seat map the flight was very full. The plane was filled with two coach loads of passengers and, once everyone was in their seats at 0645, the captain came on to announce there was a small technical fault that had to be dealt with and there would be a delay of ten to 20 minutes.

THE SEAT Seats are the usual Easyjet economy product upholstered in navy blue and orange fabric with adverts on the back of the headrests – this time for Heinz tomato, and chicken and vegetable, “squeeze and stir” sachets of soup. Tray tables are of a good size, folding down from the back of the seat in front – I was able to work relatively comfortably on my Macbook Air though there wasn’t much elbow room for typing.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Avoid the last row, 26, as it has no window, the seats don’t recline because of the bulkhead behind, and I heard a fellow passengers complaining of how cramped they were. They are also close to the washrooms, which isn’t very nice. Also avoid middle seats B and E as they feel a bit claustrophobic, especially when you are stuck between two people you don’t know. If you need extra legroom, you will probably want to pay extra for an aisle seat either in row one (£12), 12 or 13 (£8). You may want to avoid sitting in the middle so that you are not the last to disembark – provided they are using both doors on the aircraft. If they are only using the front door, then seat as near to the front as possible to get off first, but note that you will probably have to pay for the privilege.

THE FLIGHT The plane took off 25 minutes late, at 0710, and at 0730 crew began serving drinks and snacks. I bought a bottle of water for £1.80 with a £20 note but as the service had only just begun from the back, the crew didn’t have any change so I had to wait until they returned with it later in the journey. The cabin was clean and staff were friendly, returning with my money at 0800 when they had done their rounds. The two-hour 35-minute journey to Iceland began with a beautiful sunrise.

At 0810 it was announced that crew would shortly be passing through with Easyjet Fun Cards – scratch cards that cost £1, giving you the opportunity to win up to £10,000. It was added that “only just the other week a passenger on a flight to Manchester won the jackpot, leaving with a lovely big orange cheque to pay into their bank account”. You have to be in it to win it but, nevertheless, I declined. There were then announcements for all manner of duty-free items – gadgets, fragrances and gifts to take home – followed by numerous rubbish collections.

ARRIVAL The aircraft began making its descent into Keflavik International over the sea at 0920, landing on time at 0945 (0845 local time). The airport is located on a barren coastal plane, 50km from Reyjavik and, after taxiing a short distance across the tarmac, we were met with an airbridge to the front of the plane. I had to wait 15 minutes to disembark as was seated right at the back.

Inside the terminal, I then walked downstairs, through a hall, up a set of escalators and along a corridor to passport control. I then went down another set of escalators to baggage reclaim, where there was also a large duty- and tax-free shopping area – billboards advertised prices that were “50 per cent less than in the city”. By 0915, my suitcase had appeared, and I able to exit through customs promptly.

On the other side is a kiosk selling Iceland Excursion bus tickets for 1,800kr (£9.35). I bought one and boarded an awaiting vehicle, which departed for the city centre shortly after. It couldn’t have been easier – or cheaper. Taxis cost about £75.

VERDICT A painfully early departure but worth it for a full day ahead on arrival. There was a short delay to departure but we made up time en route, and service was decent.

FACT FILE:

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return flight to Reykjavik in November started from £159.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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twenty − eleven =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK IN I arrived at Agadir airport at 1825 for my 2015 flight to London Gatwick (EZY5150). Bags were immediately screened at the entrance, and check-in for all flights was just to the right once I was through. 

Passengers need to fill in an immigration card before checking in, so I grabbed one and did so before joining the medium-sized queue at Easyjet’s check-in desk. I had checked in online already – Easyjet lets passengers do this from 30 days and up to two hours before their flight – and so just needed to drop my bag. Service was reasonably efficient, and I queued for 15 minutes.

Passport control and security was a short distance to the left of check-in (there is also a café in this area). The queues at passport control were moving slowly considering there were only a couple of people in each – it seemed as though passports were checked quite thoroughly – and it took over 15 minutes to get through. Security was fast.

I was then straight through to Duty Free, where there were a couple of World Duty Free Shops, a jewellery store and a pizza and charwarma restaurant, and there was another café beside the gates.

If you have currency to use up, the shops accept both dirhams and euros, but at the pizza restaurant, there is a 100-dirham (£7.76) minimum charge for card payments, with pizzas priced at 90 dirhams (£6.98). The eatery also serves salads, chips, chocolates, crisps, beers and wines.

There was a departure screen a short distance from the restaurant – but the gate for my flight didn’t appear for a while – though for each flight, there was a weather update for its destination.

BOARDING My flight finally appeared on the screen at 1945. It indicated that I should go to Gate 6, which was just to the left past the screen. A lot of passengers were queuing at the gate, but boarding didn’t begin until 2005. I walked a short distance across the tarmac to reach the plane.

THE SEAT I was assigned seat 12D, an aisle seat behind the two middle exit rows of the plane. As with the inbound flight, there were 26 rows of seating in this A319 configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F). See the inbound review for details about the seat.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? If you are prepared to pay extra for more legroom, then go for a seat in row one, ten or 11. (£12 in row one, £8 in rows ten and 11, as row one has the extra benefit of disembarking first).

If in row one, I thought a seats D,E and F would be preferable, as they were on the other side from the toilets, and had a divider in front, offering more privacy from the galley and less disruption from toilet-goers, though, on this late flight, people were quite settled in their seats and there didn’t appear to be queuing near toilets. If you go for rows ten or 11, bear in mind that you are among the last to be served food, and it could be that by the time the trolleys reach you, your preferred snack may have run out (some options such as salads and egg rolls had gone by row 12).

If you’d rather not pay for the extra room, go for a window seat (A or F) to avoid being climbed and served over in rows two to nine, as you’ll be among the first to disembark the plane.

THE FLIGHT Before take-off, the pilot announced that we’d be in a queue to take off for up to ten minutes, and he apologised for the wait, saying that he would try to make up the lost time. The late boarding meant we didn’t push back until 2040 (25 minutes late).

Once the seatbelt sign was off, magazines and newspapers were offered to those who wanted to buy them. Food trolleys begin service from the front and back of the plane bout 30 minutes into the flight.

Cabin crew were pleasant – patient when taking orders and were professional when dealing with a couple of passengers asking what sounded like demanding questions.

When the trolley reached me, I ordered a ham and cheese toasty (tasty), salt and vinegar Boxerchip crisps (packaged in brown card box) and a bottle of water – there’s an offer where you can get a sandwich, a snack and a drink for £5.80, and there is a £5 minimum charge on cards). While not very healthy, I thought the quality of the food was perfectly good.

About halfway through the flight, lights were switched off. There was a spare seat next to me, and the person in seat 12E was already sleeping, leaning against the window, so I moved to seat 12E and lay my head on seat 12D for a semi-sleeping position, my feet still on the floor. It wasn’t particularly comfortable, but fine for short flight, and I was tired enough to fall asleep for a little while.

ARRIVAL We touched down at Gatwick South at midnight and then taxied around for about ten minutes before parking at the gate. Passengers disembarked from the front of the plane, and then it was about a ten-minute walk to passport control, where there were no queues. Then, it was up an escalator to baggage claim, where I waited ten minutes for my case to appear.

VERDICT A calm flight with good service and a speedy exit from the plane, which is always appreciated on a late flight.

FACT FILE

CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

FLIGHT TIME Three hours and 50 minutes

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

PRICE Internet rates for a return Easyjet flight from London to Agadir in August started from £440.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Rose Dykins

 

 


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20 + twelve =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK IN I arrived at Gatwick South Terminal for at 1415 for my 1550 flight (EZY5149). I had checked in online beforehand (Easyjet reminds you to do so by email, and asks you to print off your boarding pass, but there is no penalty fee if you don’t) so headed to automatic bag drop (zone H) where there was a very small queue considering the number of holidaymakers at the airport at this time. I reached the front in five minutes.

I hadn’t dropped a bag in myself before but found it very simple with clear instructions – you just scan your boarding pass, place the bag on the belt, print off the label and attach it, which takes under a minute.

Easyjet charges £37 for one bag of checked luggage. Bags of up to 56cm x 45cm x 25cm can be carried on board as hand luggage, but the airline recently introduced a rule that if a bag is more than 50cm x 40xm x 20xm in size, it may be placed in hold luggage during busy times (at no extra charge).

I then took the escalator up to security, where I scanned my boarding pass and went through to the bag scanning area. All the queues were moving quickly, with screens displaying their waiting times (all one minute or under).

My bag was randomly selected for inspection – a pleasant member of staff ran a chemical swab over it, which took less than a minute. I then went down the escalator to Duty Free where I spent some time browsing.

BOARDING At 1525 I checked a departure screen and saw that my flight was being called for boarding (Gate 24) and was closing at 1530. I rushed as the signs indicated it was a ten-minutes walk (it took just under this, with a couple of travelators to help me on my way).

At the gate, I joined the end of the queue and had my passport checked (service was a little abrupt here). Once on board, I was greeted and directed to my seat.

THE SEAT Easyjet has been operating with allocated seating since November, with the option to select your seat for £3. I was allocated seat 9C, an aisle seat just in front of the first middle exit row. There were 26 rows on this A319 aircraft, configured 3-3 (A,B,C-E,F,G). 

The seat was upholstered in navy fabric with orange square patterns and a rectangle of orange fabric behind the head. An elasticated magazine rack was on the back of the seat in front, as was a grey fold-down plastic table with a  shallow circular groove for placing drinks in. The seat pitch (29in/73cm) was decent, even with my large handbag under the seat in front, and there was space between my knees and the seat in front.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? If you are prepared to pay an extra £12 for more legroom, go for seats in row 1 (you will be the first to disembark, and among the first to be served food, which is why these seats cost more than the £8 extra legroom seats in rows ten and 11). Avoid the aisle seats, though, as the trolley service and toilet queues could get annoying.

It’s probably better to just pay £3 to choose a seat near the front (rows one to nine, the nearer to the front, the better) avoiding aisle seats (a bit tight when being served over), unless you really need the extra legroom.

THE FLIGHT We pushed back on time at 1550, and once the seatbelt sign was off, the food trolley came from the front of the cabin soon afterwards.

I thought Easyjet’s menu offered a good range of snacks with some quality boutique brands, such as Mrs Crimble’s giant chocolate macaroon (£1.20), Love Da Pop’s premium sweet honey and sea salt popcorn (£1.50), and Feel Good snack boxes with Mediterranean vegetable spread, flatbread, crackers, cherries, cranberries, roasted and salted almonds a Nakd fruit bar and Green and Blacks dark chocolate (£4).

Rubbish was collected promptly and politely, so passengers weren’t left sitting with it for ages. Service was smiley, and cabin crew appeared to banter with passengers a little.

A second trolley service commenced about half an hour before landing – it was a little rushed. I ordered a Starbucks Tazo tea and a muffin, which came to £3.60 – the minimum charge was £5, so I paid for my companion’s Eat Natural bar (£1.20) and bought a bottle of water (£1.80).

ARRIVAL We landed 20 minutes early at 1950 local time. Passengers walked across the tarmac to reach arrivals, where we were required to fill in an immigration card. After I done so, I queued at passport control for about five minutes, and then the member of staff there took a while inspecting my passport (over five minutes). Once through, my luggage was waiting for me on the carousel on the other side.

VERDICT The flight sped by thanks to the early landing, and the operations at Gatwick were incredibly efficient. A smooth journey with an appropriate onboard product.

FACT FILE

CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

FLIGHT TIME Three hours and 20 minutes

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

PRICE Internet rates for a return Easyjet flight from London to Agadir in August started from £440.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Rose Dykins


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eighteen + one =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at Rome Fiumicino airport’s Terminal 2 at 1800 with exactly two hours to spare before my flight (200-2140) to London Gatwick. The Easyjet bag-drop desks were to the right upon entering the departure hall, and although there appeared to be four desks open and one for Speedy Boarding (178-182), there was a very long queue of about 100 people. I joined the line at 1810, as I had a case to drop off.

I already had my boarding pass as had checked in online before my outbound flight. I had also paid £3 extra each way for assigned seating (I opted for window seat 22A) and £30 for a checked suitcase. (It would have cost £60 at the airport.) As the queue slowly inched forward, I noticed staff were processing luggage very slowly and, at one point, three of them disappeared altogether – finishing their shift possibly, as they were then replaced by others. I finally got to a desk at 1842, and my case was tagged and whisked away on the conveyor belt.

Security was close by – boarding passes were scanned and passengers then filtered into four lanes. Liquids and laptops came out as usual, and jackets and belts came off. This didn’t take too long and I was airside by 1855. I then had to take an escalator upstairs, following the signs to G gates, which I had been warned by the check-in agent take at least 20 minutes to get to.

After walking down several corridors I then arrived at a hugely long queue of hundreds of people at immigration, though fortunately for me, this was for non-EU passengers and I was able to join a far shorter line of about eight people holding EU passports. Once on the other side, I then had to go upstairs via a set of escalators and take a shuttle train. This took a few minutes. I was glad I had left myself two hours before my flight, as had I cut it any finer, I would have been worried about missing it.

BOARDING I got to my gate – G1 – at 1920. There was a large crowd of people waiting, and, although boarding was scheduled to start at this time, it seemed there was a delay. At 1925, there was an announcement that because there were too many pieces of hand-baggage, Easyjet was looking for volunteers to put their cases in the hold. There was then another announcement that Aer Lingus passengers would actually be departing from Gate 5 (or maybe 9 – I didn’t quite hear) instead of Gate 1, and a flurry of people left the area.

The flight flashed up as delayed until 2010, but I suspected that it was going to be even later than that, as at 1935 boarding still hadn’t begun. Eventually, people with Speedy Boarding were called at 1955, followed by parents with young children. After passengers had their boarding passes scanned again, they went downstairs to board via an airbridge, which also had a long queue on it. I finally got to my seat at 2015.

THE SEAT I was sitting in row 22 near the back (row 26) of the A319. The upholstery was clean and there were adverts on the back of the headrests for food and drink. The in-flight magazine in the seat-back pocket was very crumpled and old but I read it anyway. The aircraft is configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) and seats are upholstered in grey and orange fabric. Tray tables come out of the armrest in seats in row one. Exit rows are ten and 11.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? With Easyjet’s assigned seating policy, passengers have to pay to select seats they want in advance, otherwise they are assigned a seat automatically at check-in for free. If travelling with companions, it is advised to pay for seats together otherwise it is likely you will be split up. Paying £3 to sit in rows six to nine is the best-value option as you are near the front so can disembark quickly, and are also the cheapest.

If you are tall or claustrophobic, seats 1A, B or C are good options as provide heaps of legroom. (Seats 1D, E, F have a bulkhead in front of them so have less legroom but are a bit more private.) Otherwise, I would avoid row one altogether. Row two and three are much better options if you want to be near the front to disembark quickly. Exit rows also provide more legroom.

As I found on a previous flight, 1A/B/C aren’t necessarily the best option as are directly by the front door of the aircraft so although you don’t have to fight to get to your seat by shuffling down the aisle, you have to sit and wait for everyone to file past in front of you. It also means you have to stow bags in the overhead lockers during take-off and landing.

The only real advantage to paying extra for a seat at the front of the plane is so that you can disembark first, and if you have to wait for a checked luggage at the other end, this doesn’t really gain you much. With assigned seating, having Speedy Boarding isn’t much of a benefit either, as there is no longer a race to choose the best seats. Saying that, it is good to have first pick of the overhead bins and avoid the risk of not being able to keep your hand-baggage on board.

THE FLIGHT There was a safety demonstration at 2025, as the plane was taxiing and an overhead announcement about Easyjet’s new cabin baggage policy, but no apology or explanation as to the delay. Take-off was at 2045. Once airborne, at 2055, a refreshment service began with snacks and drinks from the Boutique and Bistro menu available.

I didn’t order anything but options included Gaea pitted green olives with lemon and oregano for £1.80, 50ml bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin for £4.40, 330ml cans of London Pride for £4 and 330ml bottles of Perrier sparkling water for £1.50. Service seemed friendly and efficient. The flight was estimated to be two hours, ten minutes, and with the late departure meant we would probably land at Gatwick just before 2200 local time.

ARRIVAL The aircraft landed at 2255 (2155 local time), and made a five-minute taxi to the stand. Disembarkation via an airbridge was fairly quick, but as I was seated near the back of the plane it took about ten minutes to get off. It was then a long walk (about 15 minutes) to passport control, which was very quick, and then upstairs to baggage reclaim where my luggage appeared shortly after.

VERDICT The whole check-in and boarding process was tiring and stressful, and appeared to be because of a lack of staff and inefficiency on the ground. No apology or explanation was given as to why the flight was delayed. The onboard product was the same as usual and staff seemed to be doing their job perfectly well.

FACT BOX:

CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a return midweek flight from London Gatwick to Rome in July started from £170.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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two + 8 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I had checked in online the day before my outbound flight, selecting and paying for assigned seats 1A for both legs of the journey. These cost £12 each and included Speedy Boarding and extra legroom. (Rows two to five, and ten and 11 (exit rows) cost £8, while six to nine and 12-26 cost £3.) I also printed my boarding passes.

When booking, I had paid £22 for one piece of checked baggage (max 20kg) in advance. Passengers can take one item of hand-baggage no bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, but the airline recently announced new rules stating that only bags no bigger than 50cm x 40cm x 20cm will be guaranteed to be carried in the cabin (sometimes, if the plane is too full, some people’s cases have to be stowed at the last minute – although it is at no extra charge, it is an inconvenience). Click here for our news story.

I arrived at Berlin Schonefeld airport’s Terminal B, which is dedicated to Easyjet, at 1930, with just over an hour and a half until my 2105 flight to London Gatwick. There was some construction work going on in the small terminal so it was a little untidy. There were about seven desks open of the 11 available (B19-29). There were no other people waiting so I was able to quickly check my suitcase in a join the line for security, on the right-hand side of the hall.

It was a bit of a shambles but was I through in about ten minutes (liquids and laptops out) by 1945. Passengers then walked upstairs to airside departures, where there are duty-free shops, a Burger King, a market foodhall and an Irish pub, which was packed with rowdy drinkers. It was also very close to my gate (65) at the far end, downstairs.

BOARDING The gate number (65) was revealed at 1950, and boarding showed as starting at 2000. A member of staff checked passports and boarding passes and ushered those with Speedy Boarding to a separate lane in the waiting area. I noticed he was being very strict with people about the size of their hand-luggage, charging about a dozen people whose cases were too big to fit in the gauge. One women had a particularly small looking case, and another, I was told had transferred some of her belongings to her companion’s case so that it fitted, but he still insisted on charging her to put it in the hold.

Boarding began at 2015, with people walking across the tarmac to steps at both the front and back of the plane. As I had bumped into friends and was chatting, I didn’t rush, even though I had Speedy Boarding, and I discovered that being in seats 1A/B/C are not advantageous in this respect as you have people filing directly past you the whole time and have to stow your belongings in the overhead locker to keep them out of the way.

There was a couple of minutes’ delay when everyone was seated as there was a latecomer – when she got on board, she had a giant lampshade wrapped in plastic with her that she was unable to find space for in the overhead bins. (I wondered how she had been allowed through with it as hand-baggage in the first place.) The crew were very nice about it, though, and a member of ground staff promptly came up the steps to take it off her and put it in the hold. There was no mention of her having to pay.

THE SEAT The A319 is configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) and seats are upholstered in grey and orange fabric. Tray tables come out of the armrest in seats in row one. Exit rows are ten and 11 and the back row was 26.

I quickly realised that sitting in 1A (or 1B/C) isn’t necessarily the best option as it is directly by the front door of the aircraft so although you don’t have to fight to get to your seat by shuffling down the aisle, you have to sit and wait for everyone to file past in front of you. It also means you have to stow bags in the overhead lockers during take-off and landing.

It was a bit cold during the flight, right next to the door, and I found it wasn’t very relaxing having to watch people hanging around waiting for the washroom the whole time (it also didn’t smell so great), as well as cabin crew clattering around in the galley. It was nice to be able to chat to them though as they were seated opposite during take-off and landing.

The only real advantage to paying extra for a seat at the front of the plane is so that you can disembark first, and if you have to wait for a checked luggage at the other end, this doesn’t really gain you much. With assigned seating, having Speedy Boarding isn’t much of a benefit either, as there is no longer a race to choose the best seats. Saying that, it is good to have first pick of the overhead bins and avoid the risk of not being able to keep your hand-baggage on board.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? With Easyjet’s assigned seating policy, passengers have to pay to select seats they want in advance, otherwise they are assigned a seat automatically at check-in. If travelling with companions, it is advised to pay for seats together otherwise it is likely you will be split up. Paying £3 to sit in rows six to nine is the best-value option as you are near the front so can disembark quickly, and are also the cheapest.

If you are tall or claustrophobic, seats 1A, B or C are good options as provide heaps of legroom. (Seats 1D, E, F have a bulkhead in front of them so have less legroom but are a bit more private.) Otherwise, I would avoid row one altogether. Row two and three are much better options if you want to be near the front to disembark quickly. Exit rows also provide more legroom.

THE FLIGHT The cabin doors were closed at 2045, and there was a safety demonstration as the plane taxied to the runway. Take-off was at 2100. When airborne ten minutes later, the crew turned the lights back on and started the refreshment service. I tried the cous cous and lentil wholesome pot (£2.50), which was a bit bland but okay, and a can of 4 per cent Stella, which was not cold so had to ask for some ice to go in it.

Shortly before the duty-free sale began at 2200, there was a bit of a commotion as one male passenger in row three stood up and started speaking loudly and aggressively to the crew because of a disagreement he’d had with a female passenger in the row in front (something about moving her seat back too far). The crew were quick to calm him down with good humour, though did gently threaten him with being greeted by the police on landing if he did not behave.

They also comforted the woman, who by this point was crying, and took her to the front to give her a glass of water. Everything settled down again by about 2210 and sales of Lady Gaga Fame perfume were able to commence without further hiccups.

ARRIVAL The plane landed at London Gatwick’s North Terminal at 2230 (2130 local time) – normally it would have landed at the South Terminal but I was told that because of runway work they had to change. Disembarkation via an airbridge was swift and, after a seven-minute walk, I arrived at immigration at 2145. There was no one ahead of me so I was straight through – all I had to do was wait for my case to appear downstairs in baggage reclaim. This arrived at 2200. I then took the monorail to the South Terminal where the train station is located.

VERDICT Although I decided I didn’t really like sitting in 1A, I enjoyed chatting to the friendly crew and was impressed by how well they dealt with problematic passengers. A professional, efficient service.

FACT FILE:

CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek flight from London Gatwick to Berlin ranged between £55 and £143 in June (not including assigned seating or checked baggage).

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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13 − 4 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I checked in online the day before my flight, selecting and paying for assigned seats 1A for both legs of the journey. These cost £12 each and included Speedy Boarding and extra legroom. Rows two to five, and ten and 11 (exit rows) cost £8 and also included Speedy Boarding, while six to nine and 12-26 cost £3. I then printed my boarding passes.

When booking, I had paid £22 for one piece of checked baggage (max 20kg) in advance. Passengers can take one item of hand-baggage no bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, but the airline recently announced new rules stating that only bags no bigger than 50cm x 40cm x 20cm will be guaranteed to be carried in the cabin (sometimes, if the plane is too full, some people’s cases have to be stowed at the last minute – although it is at no extra charge, it is an inconvenience). Click here for our news story.

I arrived at London Gatwick at 0650 and headed straight for the Easyjet desks in check-in Zone C, in the South Terminal. There were about a dozen desks open for bag-drop, and a long snaking line of people, so it was about 0710 when I was seen to. I then headed upstairs to departures – before going through to security you need to scan your boarding pass at automatic electronic gates.

There were about eight lanes open and there were helpful displays showing how long the wait was for each of them – I turned right and walked to the far end where it was only supposed to take three minutes. It actually took a couple of minutes longer, but that was no big deal. (Liquids and laptops out, jackets off as usual.) Before making it airside, I was also asked to stop to have my bag swabbed for explosives, but this only took a moment or two. It was then downstairs to airside departures. There was a lot of construction work going on so the terminal looked a mess.

BOARDING Departure screens showed that he flight was on time and that the gate would be revealed at 0750, which it was (Gate 20). This was about eight minutes’ walk away and I got there by 0802. There was a short line of people ahead of me, waiting to get passports and boarding passes checked. Staff were not being too strict about letting people through with two bags, though did ask a couple of women to make sure they put their handbags in their suitcases before getting on the plane. There was a spacious waiting area with lots of seats, but it wasn’t long until boarding started via an airbridge at 0815. I was in my seat my 0820 though missed the initial call for Speedy Boarding.

After about three quarters of the passengers had boarded, crew informed latecomers that there was no more space left for their hand-baggage so remaining cases had to go in the hold. A few people rightly seemed put out by this but generally didn’t kick up a fuss. The cases were tagged and then taken away.

THE SEAT The A319 is configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) and seats are upholstered in grey and orange fabric. There were a few crumbs on my seat that I had to brush off before sitting down. Tray tables come out of the armrest in seats in row one. Exit rows are ten and 11 and the back row was 26.

I quickly realised that sitting in 1A (or 1B/C) isn’t necessarily the best option as it is directly by the front door of the aircraft so although you don’t have to fight to get to your seat by shuffling down the aisle, you have to sit and wait for everyone to file past in front of you. It also means you have to stow bags in the overhead lockers during take-off and landing and, in my case, was asked to either put my laptop in the overhead in or behind my back on the seat (which I chose to do) for take-off.

It was a bit cold during the flight, right next to the door, and I found it wasn’t very relaxing having to watch people hanging around waiting for the washroom the whole time, cabin crew clattering around in the galley and people plonking themselves down on the crew seat opposite.

The only real advantage to paying extra for a seat at the front of the plane is so that you can disembark first, and if you have to wait for a checked luggage at the other end, this doesn’t really gain you much. With assigned seating, having Speedy Boarding isn’t much of a benefit either, as there is no longer a race to choose the best seats. Saying that, it is good to have first pick of the overhead bins and avoid the risk of not being able to keep your hand-baggage on board.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? With Easyjet’s assigned seating policy, passengers have to pay to select seats they want in advance, otherwise they are assigned a seat automatically at check-in. If travelling with companions, it is advised to pay for seats together otherwise it is likely you will be split up. Paying £3 to sit in rows six to nine is the best-value option as you are near the front so can disembark quickly, and are also the cheapest.

If you are tall or claustrophobic, seats 1A, B or C are good options as provide heaps of legroom. (Seats 1D, E, F have a bulkhead in front of them so have less legroom but are a bit more private.) Otherwise, I would avoid row one altogether. Row two and three are much better options if you want to be near the front to disembark quickly. Exit rows also provide more legroom.

THE FLIGHT The plane doors closed at 0830 and there was a safety demo as the plane pushed back shortly after. At 0840 the aircraft began taxiing to the runway, and took off at 0857. After just ten minutes, it was at cruising altitude, and the crew unclipped themselves from the seats opposite me and began the refreshment service.

The Boutique and Bistro magazine lists all the snacks and drinks available – options included Starbucks Espresso-style Via coffee (£2.50), chocolate and blueberry muffins (£2.50), cous cous and lentil wholesome pot (£2.50), Moma porridge (£1.80), 50ml spirits (£4), and 37.5cl Nicolas Feuillatte champagne (£16). At 0930 the captain came on to give an update about the weather in Berlin and the estimated arrival time. Cabin crew were efficient and friendly.

ARRIVAL At 1030 (1130 local time), the aircraft landed on time, with a bump, at Berlin Schonefeld airport and made a short taxi to the stand where disembarkation from both the front and rear of the plane took place down steps to an awaiting transfer bus. I was the first person off but there was then an eight-minute wait for all the other passengers to board.

After a short drive to the terminal I went straight to immigration, which was immediately inside and was empty (three desks open). I was then promptly through to baggage reclaim on the other side, where my suitcase was already going around on the carousel at 1150.

VERDICT A very good short-haul flight – punctual and stress-free. I wish I had chosen a different seat though as didn’t like being right at the front.

FACT FILE:

CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek flight from London Gatwick to Berlin ranged between £55 and £143 in June (not including assigned seating or checked baggage).

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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five × 3 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at Vienna airport at 1900, with just under two hours until the departure of my Easyjet flight (EZY5360) to London Gatwick at 2055. Easyjet flights were in the section of the terminal with desks 201-209, but as I had already checked in online before my outbound flight and printed a boarding pass, and was travelling with hand-luggage only, I was able to go straight through into the duty-free area. (Boarding passes needed to be scanned at the automatic gates to gain access, but passport control and security were after.) There were a number of shops in this part of the terminal but only one dreary café so I would advise people to continue straight through to the airside area where there is a more appealing eatery selling sandwiches, bagels and coffee.

BOARDING At 2010, screens advised passengers to go to the gate (D25), so I headed first for immigration (the officers didn’t even open my passport – just glancing at the cover before pushing it back) and then security. Laptops and liquids came out as usual. I was also asked to take my cardigan off and show my boarding pass again. The process was fairly quick but a little chaotic as there wasn’t much space and travellers then had to have their boarding passes checked again, before shuffling into the packed waiting area by the gate. There was some seating available but a lot of people were standing.

As I was entering the waiting area, an abrupt member of staff told me to put my small handbag in my suitcase, which I had meant to do but forgotten to in my haste coming through security. I had done this on the outbound flight and countless more before with Easyjet and the same case, but on this occasion my expandable case didn’t quite fit in the orange measuring cage when my handbag was inside as I was bringing back more stuff than I left with. I was then told in no uncertain terms that I would have to check the case in and pay a €50 charge as a consequence. I was escorted to a nearby desk to pay my fee and have my case tagged.

Easyjet clearly states that passengers are only allowed one piece of hand-baggage (no bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm including wheels) per person, and each piece has to fit “comfortably” inside the measuring cage. Unfortunately, on this occasion, my case was a little too broad to fit in.

Boarding in the form of a rather hot and stressful scrum commenced at 2040 via an airbridge. There was some congestion as people made their way on. Boarding passes were checked one final time as passengers entered the aircraft, and by the time I was on, most of the seats had been taken.

THE SEAT I managed to get a seat on the aisle (23D) near the back of the plane by 2055. The A319 is configured 3-3 across 26 rows, with exit rows offering the most legroom. Seats in the very back row do not offer a view out of a window. Seats were upholstered in the airline’s usual grey and orange upholstery, and a battered copy of Traveller magazine was slotted in the seat-back pocket. The fold-down tray table proved stable and solid for working on with my laptop. Headrest covers advertised sandwiches, Red Bull and Nestle water, Orangina and meal deals.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Since Easyjet decided to introduce allocated seating across all flights in November 2012, the new policy means passengers now have to pay from £12 to book extra legroom seats in row one and exit rows, from £8 for seats in rows two to five on A319s (rows two to six on A320s), and £3 for any other seat. Otherwise, travellers have to try their luck during boarding and get whatever seat they can on the day.

Given the choice, you should opt for window or aisle seats nearer the front of the plane so you can disembark quickly. It will be up to you to decide whether paying for extra legroom is worth it. (I didn’t pay for Speedy Boarding or allocated seating.)

THE FLIGHT The plane pushed back at 2100 with a quick safety demo given as the aircraft taxied to the runway. Take-off was shortly after and, once airborne, it was only about ten minutes until the crew began the trolley service of drinks and snacks. Cabin crew were professional and friendly.  

ARRIVAL The aircraft landed as scheduled at 2215 local time. It ten to 15 minutes to disembark but immigration was relatively quick. However, I then had to wait about 20 minutes for my bag to come through, which added to my annoyance, as I should have been straight through into arrivals.

VERDICT The problem with my hand-luggage at the last minute made the journey very stressful and much more expensive than it should have been. Other than that, it was a decent short-haul flight.

PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight from London to Vienna in December ranged between £139 and £403 depending on flexibility.

CONTACT easyjet.com

FACT FILE

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

Jenny Southan


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  • Jenny,

    Fortunately £139 is not the cheapest price for a return ticket to Vienna with Easyjet! Prices start under £75

  • Thanks for your comment christopheL – we should have added that these were the rates obtained for travel in December – the copy has now been amended accordingly.

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two + 7 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at Gatwick’s South Terminal by train from London Bridge at 1057, making the short walk upstairs and straight to security as I had already checked in online and printed my boarding pass and hand-baggage only. (Check-in Zone C is assigned to Easyjet in this terminal, and it looked very crowded when I walked past.)

My Easyjet flight to Vienna was scheduled to depart at 1205 (landing at 1520 local time). I arrived at security just after 1000, and passed through the automated barriers that scan your boarding pass with ease. Electronic screens indicated the estimated queuing time for each lane (the longest was five minutes) and I turned left for the channel at the far end. There were only two people ahead of me. Liquids and laptops came out as usual, and I was airside by 1007.

BOARDING The gate was due to open at 1120, so I passed the time having a coffee and checking my emails. As anticipated, screens showed Gate 27 as open from 1120, at which point I made the eight-minute walk along travelators to the assembly point. There was a huge line for the Easyjet flight to Rome, and a somewhat shorter one for Vienna. Boarding began at 1130, with passports and boarding passes checked.

Unlike on previous flights, I was not asked to put my handbag in my carry-on case – sometimes Easyjet can be very strict about the one-piece rule but on this occasion staff didn’t seem to mind. Passengers entered the plane via an airbridge, and there was a short wait as a woman in a wheelchair was given priority to board. 

THE SEAT By the time I was on board, most of the window seats near the front of the plane had been taken so I headed for the back where I found one available in row 21 (21F). The captain came on to welcome passengers once everyone was seated at 1150, and apologised if some people had not been able to sit next to their friends or family as the aircraft was full.

The plane was configured with 26 rows of seats in a 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) configuration. Seats were upholstered in the airline’s usual grey and orange upholstery, and a battered copy of Traveller magazine was slotted in the seat-back pocket. The fold-down tray table proved stable and solid for working on with my laptop.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Since Easyjet decided to introduce allocated seating across all flights in November 2012, the new policy means passengers now have to pay from £12 to book extra legroom seats in row one and exit rows, from £8 for seats in rows two to five on A319s (rows two to six on A320s), and £3 for any other seat. Otherwise, travellers have to try their luck during boarding and get whatever seat they can on the day.

Given the choice, you should opt for window or aisle seats nearer the front of the plane so you can disembark quickly. It will be up to you to decide whether paying for extra legroom is worth it. (I didn’t pay for Speedy Boarding or allocated seating.)

THE FLIGHT There was a slight delay to take-off, at 1220, even though the plane pushed back from the gate on time at 1205. Once airborne, the crew commenced their duties at 1230, starting from the back of the plane and the front. The Boutique and Bistro guide listed 250ml Lipton ice tea for £1.80, Nestle Pure Life water for £1.50, Starbucks coffee for £2.50, and “menu deals” such as Boxerchips, bacon sandwich and water for £5.80. I had grabbed a wrap and drink from Pret en route so didn’t order anything.

ARRIVAL The plane landed a little ahead of schedule at 1410 (1510) local time, and passengers were disembarked via an airbridge from the front. It took some time for everyone ahead of me to get off, but I was at passport control by 1535 (there were very few people ahead of me as they had already gone through) and  exiting through the landside arrivals doors. Taxis cost about €40 to central Vienna.

VERDICT The flight was busy but I managed to get a window seat, which I was happy about. A good short-haul service.

PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight from London to Vienna ranged between £139 and £403 depending on flexibility.

CONTACT easyjet.com

FACT FILE

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

Jenny Southan


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seven − one =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN Flight EZY8544 was scheduled to depart at 1010, with a flight time from Prague to London of one hour, 35 minutes. After a 25-minute drive from the city centre, I arrived at Terminal 1 at 0815. Although I had checked in online and printed by boarding pass the day before my outbound flight, I still had to check a case in (Easyjet has a strict one-bag rule for hand-luggage, which is annoying as I can’t always get everything into a single piece).

There were long queues for the two check-in desks that were open (121 and 122) and no bag-drop – just one desk for Speedy Boarding that no one was using. It took 20 minutes to reach desk 121, but by 0840 I was walking to passport control. There was a five-minute delay while I waited for my documents to be checked and then let into airside departures. I found a seat and read my magazine for about 20 minutes until I noticed that my gate (A2) was open, at which point I went to security. It took about ten minutes to get through and the staff were very rude – one girl nearly smashed a tray into my finger but I whipped it out of the way just in time.

Jackets and belts came off and liquids had to be presented, as usual, in a clear plastic bag. The metal detector beeped when I went through so had to try again, this time removing my watch and bracelet. It then went off a second time, and I was searched and asked to remove my boots. Finally, I was allowed to pass through and collect my belongings. Once in the waiting area I took a seat and continued reading my magazine. 

BOARDING Through the floor-to-ceiling windows I could see the plane arrive at the gate at 0940 and the arriving passengers disembark at 0950. My fellow passengers and I were called to start boarding at 1000 (talk about a quick turnaround), but had to wait for ten minutes on the tarmac to gain access via a single set of steps to the back.

THE SEAT Although Easyjet is trialing assigned seating on certain routes (click here to see which routes and how much it costs) most travellers (including those on this service) have to get whatever they can – unless they pay extra for Speedy Boarding. Once on board at 1015, I chose seat 8A by the window, just in front of the engines. Good-size tray tables folded down from the seat-backs in front, and upholstery was the usual grey and orange. It all looked quite clean.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? There were 26 rows of seating on this A319, and unless the plane happens to be disembarking from the back as well, it is better to choose a seat near the front if you can. If you want to take your pick, get to the gate as early as possible and get in line, or book Speedy Boarding. If you are tall, opt for seats A, B or C in row one as they offer the most legroom. Exit row seats in ten and 11 are also a good bet.

THE FLIGHT The captain came on to welcome passengers and introduce crew (by name) at 1020, with the safety demo performed shortly after. Take-off was later than anticipated, at 1040, with the pilot explaining that the reason was there had been a delay leaving Gatwick. I slept for most of the flight, ignoring the refreshment service and duty-free.

ARRIVAL Landing was at 1205 (1105 local time) – meaning we were about 20 minutes late. Disembarkation was easy and I was through immigration and into baggage reclaim by 1130.

VERDICT Although security and boarding was a little shambolic, and the flight 20 minutes behind schedule, it was a perfectly decent short hop. If you are paying as little as £69 return for this trip, it represents very good value for money.

FACT FILE:

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight with Easyjet from London Gatwick to Prague in October ranged between £69 and £188.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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1 + 12 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN It was a 20-minute drive from the centre of Madrid to the airport’s Terminal 1, and as I had checked in online and printed my boarding pass all I needed to do was drop my case off. I arrived at 1835 for the 2030 Easyjet service to London Gatwick, and check-in desks 329 to 336 were assigned to the airline (including one for bag-drop and one for Speedy Boarding). I only had to wait two minutes to hand over my bag and then make the one-minute walk to security.

There were multiple channels open so it didn’t take more than five minutes to get through (laptops/jackets off). I then turned right for passport control and B gates. There was no one waiting at passport control so, again, I was through swiftly. There were a few duty-free shops and a couple of cafés in the airside departures area. I bought a bottle of water and took a seat on one of the benches by my gate (30) at 1900. At 1945 a long queue formed and as I wanted a seat nearer the front of the aircraft, I joined it.

BOARDING Boarding via an airbridge started on time at 2000. There was some commotion ahead of me at 2005 as a couple of passengers were told their cases were too big to take as hand-luggage and they then proceeded to try forcing them in the measuring rack and making a fuss about it.

THE SEAT Although Easyjet is trialing assigned seating on certain routes (click here to see which routes and how much it costs, most travellers have to get whatever they can when they board. I was on the A319 by 2012 and chose window seat 7F. It was a full flight and many people seemed to be finding it hard to find enough space to stow their bags in the overhead lockers. Good-size tray tables folded down from the seat-backs in front, and upholstery on the seats was the usual grey and orange.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? The single-class cabin is configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F), with 1A-B-C being the best if you want extra legroom and swift disembarkation. Exit rows seats are also a good bet if you are tall but you have to keep your luggage stowed in one of the overhead lockers.

THE FLIGHT The cabin crew (Laura, Jan and Adam) were introduced at 2030, followed by a special welcome to Easyjet Plus passengers. There was a safety demo at 2037 and the aircraft pushed back at 2039. Copies of Time and Hello! magazines were offered (for a price) and a baby started screaming as we started taxiing at 2042.

Take off was just before 2100, with the flight time estimated to be two hours. Drinks and snacks were offered once airborne, with options including spirits for £4 (50ml), beer for £3.60 (330ml can), wine for £4 (18.5cl bottle), sandwiches for £4, Feel Good Snack Boxes for £4 and Moma porridge for £1.50. Rubbish was collected at 2140 followed by the sale of Gatwick Express train tickets.

ARRIVAL The aircraft landed at 2155 (2255 Spanish time) and then taxied for ten minutes to the stand. Passengers then had to wait 15 minutes for some steps to be bought to the plane for disembarkation. Once inside the terminal, there was a five-minute walk to immigration, where there were long queues for the staffed desks, and shorter ones for the four e-gates.

I joined a line for one of the latter gates, as I have a biometric passport. It took about 30-40 seconds for each person to get through – longer for those who obviously hadn’t used them before and didn’t know how to position their passport on the scanner. My case was waiting for me on the carousel by the time I got to baggage reclaim at 2240.

VERDICT I had no complaints about this flight except for the rather chaotic and time-consuming boarding and disembarkation experiences. All in all, a good short-haul evening service.  

FACT FILE:

PLANE TYPE A319

SEAT CONFIGURATION3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight with Easyjet from London to Madrid in October ranged between £79 and £251 in July (not including the cost of checked baggage at £26).

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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15 − 3 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN Flight EZY5477 from London to Madrid was departing from Gatwick’s South Terminal at 0930. I arrived at the airport by train at 0715 and turned left for check-in Zone C, which Easyjet shares with Virgin. I had already checked in online and printed my boarding pass so all I had to do was drop off my case, which, annoyingly, was small enough to take as hand-luggage but due to Easyjet being extremely strict about only taking one piece on board this was not possible as I had a fairly large handbag as well.

There was no queue at the desk so I was seen to promptly and, at 0725, I was walking upstairs to the new security area. There was plenty of space and large counters to sort liquids into plastic bags. After scanning my boarding pass, an automated gate let me through to the screening area where there was only a short three-minute wait as the handful of people ahead of me went through. I was into airside departures by 0730.

BOARDING My flight was due to start boarding at 0840 and the gate (24) opened on time. It took about six minutes to walk there and, when I arrived, there were only a few other passengers hanging around. However, in just a few minutes a large line had formed. Boarding began at 0900 via an airbridge. Passports and boarding passes were checked as per usual, and I was on board by 0920.

THE SEAT Although Easyjet is trialing assigned seating on certain routes (click here to see which routes and how much it costs), most travellers have to get whatever they can when they board.  As I was among the first 20 or so passengers to get on I had a good pick of the seats, opting for 6A near the front. Seats 1-C-D-E are behind a bulkhead so have a little less room. This A319 had 25 rows in total.

Good-size tray tables fold down from the seat-back in front, and upholstery on the seats was the usual grey and orange. The headrest covers displayed adverts promoting “The tastes of Europe” sandwiches, and two glasses of wine for £7, and a new range of summer duty-free products.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? The single-class cabin is configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F), with 1A-B-C being the best if you want extra legroom and swift disembarkation. Exit rows seats are also a good bet if you are tall but you have to keep your luggage stowed in one of the overhead lockers.

THE FLIGHT The crew were introduced by name at 0925 and the aircraft pushed back a few minutes later at 0928. Take-off was at 0940. Once at cruising altitude at 1000, there was the option of ordering snacks and drinks and, despite being surrounded by noisy Spanish students (one of whom was whistling for most of the journey), the two-hour flight passed quickly.

ARRIVAL The plane landed a little early at 1220 local time (1120 UK time) and passengers exited via an airbridge. It took about 20 minutes to get through passport control to baggage reclaim, where there was then a 35-minute delay until my case appeared. I wasn’t into arrivals until 1325

VERDICT A punctual short-haul flight with professional crew, although the time it took for my case to come out the other end lost me some time. As always, travelling with hand-baggage-only is advised.

FACT FILE:

PLANE TYPE A319

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 29in/73cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.4cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight with Easyjet from London to Madrid in October ranged between £79 and £251 in July (not including the cost of checked baggage at £26).

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan

 

 


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thirteen + 10 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

FIRST IMPRESSIONS Terminal two at Nice Cote D’Azur airport was typically quiet when I arrived at 0945 for my 1045 departure to London Gatwick. I only had hand luggage but there were no queues at the Easyjet desks, as per my previous experience of this airport. 

Security has been revamped somewhat since my last visit last summer and is now more streamlined and better organised (shoes on, laptop out) with a nice Paul cafe the other side being added. Only one security lane was open but there was no queue. My carry on was quickly checked and I was airside by 0955 and made my way right towards gate B19 and the small selection of shops and cafes in this area.

I was through passport control and in the holding area for B19 by 1005, everything was quiet and relaxed so I grabbed an Orangina and a bottle of water from the small cafe (£6 for both) and took a seat overlooking the runway. There is free wifi in the airport but it is unreliable. I was able to access websites but my online apps didn’t seem to respond.

BOARDING The flight was called very early at 1010 so a queue quickly formed. I qualified for speedy boarding so made my way to the front left hand side of the mass of people and waited to be invited forward. I then had to wait 15 minutes standing around until 1025 when passengers were allowed to go through to the aircraft.

I was then held again in the air bridge while I watched the passengers disembark until 1035 when I was finally allowed onboard. I would much prefer if they called the flight once everyone is able to get on board so that I can sit instead of standing around in a bit of a scrum, but I guess this is so that the turnaround can be kept to a minimum. I was welcomed onboard by a smiling mix of French and English cabin crew.

SEAT I made my way toward the emergency exit seats located at row 10 on this A319 aircraft (to see a seat plan, click here) and sat in the window seat 10F. Pull back was at 1055 once boarding had been complete. The flight was busy, however I had managed to keep a middle seat free.

WHAT SEAT TO CHOOSE Seating is not allocated on Easyjet flights (not yet anyway, see online news November 15) therefore it is first come first serve. The exit row seats in row 10 are a good option as they offer slightly added legroom and are not too far back from the front. However, as I found, these seats can often take a while to get served by the food and beverage trolley and you must be able bodied to sit in them.

Row one would be preferable as this affords extra room, quick disembarkation and you are the first to be served. However these seats are naturally the most popular and often go to the first six or so passengers on the flight. It is also located near to the toilets.

FLIGHT Take off was at 1115 and we immediately banked back over the beautiful coastline and then the Alps for some fantastic views on what was a bright, hazy day. The

Times newspaper and a selection of magazines were brought round soon after takeoff for purchase.

At 1140 the food and drink trolleys began to roll out. Food is available for purchase and consisted of the typical selection of hot and cold drinks, including Starbucks branded coffee, sweet and savoury snacks and a selection of sandwiches such as cheese and chutney, hot croque monsieur and the best-selling bacon baguette. To see exactly what Easyjet offer onboard, including prices, click here.

The trolley was slow moving coming through the busy front section and the two trolleys met at my row at 1155. I ordered a packet of mini cheddars (£1.50) and settled in with my book for the next hour of the flight.

I was disturbed once or twice by cabin crew making announcements about duty free, scratch cards and an update from the pilot but otherwise it was a quiet and relaxing flight with no turbulence. Unfortunately, after being told we may get good views of Paris by the pilot any views of the French capital were obscured by cloud cover.

Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall was also onboard the flight, having launched the airlines two new bases in Nice and Toulouse earlier in the week (see online news March 22), and helped cabin crew clear away rubbish at 1215.

ARRIVAL We landed at 1140 and I disembarked via an air bridge at Gatwick South terminal at 1150. Immigration was empty apart from a small queue for arrivals from the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland. I made my way through the e-passport gate and having only hand luggage I was buying my ticket for the Gatwick Express by 1210. For those that needed them the bags were already on the carousel when we reached it at 1200.

VERDICT A pleasant, efficient service on what is a short flight.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Scott Carey


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sixteen + 2 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at Naples airport, which is about 15 minutes by taxi from the city centre, at 1515. I had checked in online beforehand and printed my boarding pass but still had a suitcase to drop off. My 1655 flight, EZY3362 to London Stansted, was designated desks 43-47 to the right of the entrance.

There was a long queue for check-in but only one person ahead of me at the bag-drop/Speedy Boarding Plus desk, which was a relief. (I wondered why all more people didn’t check-in online in advance.) I was processed quickly and directed to Gate B15.

From the ground-floor check-in zone I took the escalators up to the security area on the first floor. I was through quickly as there were five X-ray machines in operation and passengers were only going through in dribs and drabs. I was airside by 1530.

There were numerous shops and cafes for last-minute purchases and I stopped for a Gran Crema iced coffee before heading down another set of escalators to the gate. In this lower departure area are more stores, bars and eateries. I had to go through passport control to get to gates B6-15. The gate was due to close at 1630, so as it was only 1600 at this stage, I still had plenty of time to relax.

BOARDING I found a seat near to where I expected boarding to begin (I never bother buying Speedy Boarding) as it was busy and I wanted to get a descent seat on the plane. At 1615 there was an announcement in Italian saying that boarding was starting and everyone leapt up from their seats to get in line. Boarding passes and passports were then checked.

Those who had paid for Speedy Boarding were herded into a separate area, while the rest of us were kept waiting next to them. At 1630 we were allowed to board one of two shuttle buses, which then drove us to the plane, five minutes away. Once on the tarmac, passengers started running to get up the steps to the front and back at the aircraft – something I have never seen before.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? I walked briskly to the steps at the back and, once on board, chose exit row seat 11A by a window. (Row ten is also an exit row.) These are the best places to be if you are tall. Avoid middle seats B and F as you may feel claustrophobic. 

THE SEAT The seats are configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) on this A319 and have a fairly tight pitch (29in/74cm), but being in an exit row I had a bit more legroom. Passengers in these seats also have to be prepared to stow all luggage in overhead bins during take-off and landing as nothing can be left on the floor that might impede an evacuation. The orange headrest covers had the usual adverts on them.

THE FLIGHT Once everyone was on board at 1645, the captain announced that air traffic control (ATC) had informed him there was a problem getting a slot because of thunderstorms in Eastern Europe and a delay of up to one hour 15 minutes could be expected, although he would continue liaising with ATC the whole time. A collective groan came through the cabin. 

In the meantime, passengers were allowed to use their mobile phones and unclip their seatbelts. However, after just three minutes, the crew put the seatbelt signs back on so that they could do the safety demonstration. At 1705 the pilot came on to say that ATC said there would be a further 90-minute wait for a slot, but then five minutes later said that there would actually be one available in 15 minutes. Adding: “Good news, as I just phoned my wife to tell her I would be late for tea but now she’ll get a nice surprise.” Too much information.

Water was handed out by crew at 1715, and at five minutes later the plane pushed back from the gate. Take-off was at 1730. At 1740, copies of The Sunday Times were offered for £2.20, and at 1800 the refreshment service began. Although this didn’t last long as there was a bout of turbulence, which meant they had to temporarily suspend it.

Once it started again, I ordered a 330ml can of Stella and a cheese and tomato Panini, just to see how bad it was. A bag of salted pretzels came free. The sandwich, served hot, was edible – the tomato was fresh, the mozzarella appropriately elastic and there were even a couple of fresh basil leaves in it, although the bread was a little tough and the list of ingredients was worryingly long. Still, it staved off hunger, which was the main objective.

ARRIVAL The plane started its descent into London Stansted at 1930, landing 15 minutes later at 1945 (1845 local time) on time. Disembarkation was fairly quick and I was at baggage reclaim by 2005.

VERDICT Although there was some delay to take-off, we made up the time en route and landed on schedule. Crew were organised and friendly, handing out cups of water to keep everyone hydrated during the wait. A good budget service.

FACT FILE:

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3

SEAT PITCH 29in/74cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.5cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight from London in January started from £53.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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  • Blimey, talk about being negative. Too often we complain about unfriendly crew, who offer no interaction with passengers and here was a captain offering a friendly side and you say “too much information”. Oh dear.

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16 − 5 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I took the Stansted Express from Liverpool Street, which is supposed to take 46 minutes but as there were some minor delays I arrived at 1100, a few minutes late. My flight, EZY3361, was scheduled for 1300. I took the escalators up to departures and headed to the Easyjet check-in Zone D where desks 33 and 34 were open for Speedy Boarding passengers (this costs £21 extra per person).

Desks 35 and 36 were for bag-drops and 37-39 for check-in. There were a lot of people waiting but the line moved quickly for the bag-drop desks, and I was soon able to check-in my suitcase (I had paid the extra £28 in advance for checked baggage).

For those passengers travelling with 100ml bottles or less of liquids, four plastic bags are provided at security for a fee of £1. The security process was very efficient, though – after my boarding pass and passport were checked, my bag went through an X-ray machine on a modern automated conveyor belt with self-sorting trays. I was airside by 1120 and proceeded to grab a quick bite to eat and a magazine from WH Smith.

BOARDING The gate (19) appeared on departure screens at 1235, at which point I headed down there – taking the shuttle one stop and then going up two sets of escalators. There were already a few dozen people beginning to queue so I joined them – having decided against paying for Speedy Boarding as I never think it is worth it. Those who had paid for it stood next to me in a separate lane.

Boarding began at 1245 and, after crossing the tarmac and opting for the steps leading up to the front of the aircraft, I was on the plane by 1255. Be warned that Easyjet is very strict about each passenger have only one item of hand-luggage – even a small handbag counts as an extra piece.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? As I was lucky enough to have boarded a little earlier than most people, I had a good choice of seats. Exit row seats, which are in rows ten and 11, offer more legroom. Avoid middle seats B and F as you may feel claustrophobic.

THE SEAT My fold-down tray table was dirty, which wasn’t very welcoming, but other than that it was the usual satisfactory Easyjet no-frills experience – lots of orange and adverts on the headrests. The seats are configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) on this A319, and I decided to opt for window seat 8F as it was near the front and the view out of the window was not obscured by a wing.

THE FLIGHT Take-off was ten minutes early, at 1320, and the captain came on to say he still expected us to land 15 minutes ahead of schedule at 1700. A refreshment service started at 1400. There was a choice of Starbucks coffee for £2.70, sandwiches for £4, 330ml cans of Stella, 150ml mixers for £1.50 and 50ml spirits for £4. The crew were friendly but there was a bit of disturbance throughout the flight from crying babies.

ARRIVAL The plane began its descent at 1530 and landed 20 minutes ahead of time at 1555 (1655 local time). We were disembarked quickly down some steps at the front of the aircraft, from where a bus took us to the terminal. There was a ten-minute wait on arrival, with half the passengers waiting outside the building, as the immigration area was so crowded. Staff barely looked at passports when we were finally let through. My suitcase was waiting for me in reclaim.

VERDICT The flight departed and landed early, which was a rare treat. The crew onboard were on good form and I was pleased to have managed to get a good window seat. Apart from the delay at immigration, I had no complaints.

FACT FILE:

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3

SEAT PITCH 29in/74cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.5cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight in January started from £53.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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five × one =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN Easyjet serves Marrakech Menara airport from London Gatwick with between one and twop daily flights depending on the day of the week. I arrived at the South Terminal at 1300, having taken the Gatwick Express from Victoria (£17.90 for a single). The walk from the platform to the shuttle train was short, and in just a few minutes I had completed the transfer to the North Terminal.

From the shuttle platform, I took the lift to departures and made my way to Easyjet’s counter at desks 716 to 719 in Zone E. The queue appeared to be moving at a good pace, with four desks open, including two for Speedy Boarding. Since I was taking carry-on luggage and had already checked in online and printed my boarding pass, I made my way to security at 1315, which is just past Easyjet’s section. The queue was long and slow moving, which I discovered was due to the fact that only one X-ray machine out of two was functioning. After making my way through, the time way only just after 1330.

I had already changed money at the post office (I bought US dollars, having been advised it was easy to change for dirhams once in Marrakech) so made my way to the seating area.

BOARDING The gate was not announced until just before 1400, and was a fast-paced ten-minute walk away. At the gate, there was a small coffee and sandwich bar, so I bought some food for the journey. The waiting area filled up quickly, and people began to queue early, presumably because there is no assigned seating.

Since I had Speedy Boarding, I did not join the queue until the last minute, and used the time to pack my handbag into my suitcase to avoid additional baggage charges at the gate. Boarding began at 1420, and since there were quite a few families with young children and other people with Speedy Boarding, I was not too near the front. We were held in the airbridge for just over ten minutes and I was on board by 1435.

THE SEAT The plane was packed, so I decided to grab the first available seat. The aircraft was an A319, with 26 rows and seats configured 3-3. I took 4B, quickly realising my mistake as I was pinned in by two other passengers immediately. Spotting an aisle seat behind, I changed for 5C. Easyjet’s in-flight magazine and a duty-free magazine were stored in the back of the seat in front.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? My seat was probably not the best, with row one offering the most space for passengers. However, as I was near the front I was always served quickly and could easily catch the attention of the staff, who were helpful and attentive. The exit rows are ten and eleven, though all the seats offer pretty much the same amount of space.

THE FLIGHT The plane did not push back until 1510, and as it taxied the air stewards carried out the safety demonstration. After take off the captain announced the flight time of approximately three and a half hours.

There was some turbulence shortly after take off, so food and drink service was a little delayed. As soon as it ceased, service started, but I passed on the selection of paid-for drinks, snacks, sandwiches and hot food. More turbulence followed the lunch service, however it was fairly mild and stopped after 15 minutes. The duty free trolley came by at 1630, but announcements assured passengers they could buy something at any time. Various deals and offers were also announced several times during the flight

ARRIVAL The plane landed at 1745 local time, 15 minutes after the scheduled arrival time. However, since the airport is small, the plane parked right in front of the terminal. We departed via some stairs and walked straight across the tarmac to the entrance – it took under a minute.

The queue at passport control was fairly long and we were in for a lengthy wait. On this occasion it took 40 minutes to reach passport control – this was due more to the incredibly slow checks, than the amount of people filtering through. Even the counter marked for those with diplomatic passes was incredibly slow, with a handful of people taking up to half an hour to be cleared. Eventually, parents with young children were directed to this queue, but it made very little difference.

Once landside I headed straight to the currency exchange counter where there was a queue of several people. Here I discovered it was just as easy to change sterling as dollars – in fact, everyone was changing euros and dollars.

I had been told the ten-minute taxi ride to my hotel and to the city centre would cost 100 dirhams (£8). However, when I headed to the taxi rank a loud argument was ensuing and I was eventually cornered by ten drivers who hurried me to a car and informed me it would cost 200 dirhams, a fee I would have to pay immediately. I attempted to dispute this but they were completely inflexible. Had I not been travelling alone, I would have made more of this.

VERDICT The route is one of the most regular services from London to Marrakech – even with the loss of my flight time – offering a good schedule of 0745-1130 and 1600-1945. It offers great value for money, and the only drawback was the incredibly slow system in place at passport control in Marrakech Menara airport. 

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight in January started from £62. It is best to book in advance, as prices can be hiked significantly if booked last minute, veering into hundreds of pounds for a one-way ticket.  

CONTACT easyjet.com

Liat Clark


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16 + 18 =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN My flight to the Polish city of Krakow was departing London Gatwick at 0610, so I booked a stay at the Yotel in the South Terminal for the night before. I check out of the capsule hotel at 0500 and took the lift upstairs to departure Zone C, about five minutes away. There were plenty of Easyjet desks open (271-280) including one for those who had paid for Speedy Boarding.

I had already checked in online and printed boarding passes for both my outward and return flights but I still needed to drop my bag off. There was a 15 minutes wait to do this, which wasn’t too bad, considering the length of the queues for those who hadn’t registered online first.

I then went upstairs via a set of escalators to security, which has seen an impressive revamp with new electronic gates that allow you to self-scan your boarding pass and gain entry to the security channels. There were three lanes open. I chose the one with the shortest queue (obviously) and was though by 0530.

BOARDING Once in the airside departures area I nipped to Pret for a coffee and croissant before making the ten- to 15-minute walk to Gate 31. When I arrived at 0550 boarding had already started. There was a ling line of people but it moved quickly. Once on the airbridge, though, there was a bit of a wait while those ahead of me took their seats and stowed their luggage.

THE SEAT Although passengers with Speedy Boarding had priority, I still managed to get a seat I was happy with – 25A, a window seat one row from the back of the aircraft. It was clean and comfortable enough for this short journey, but the aircraft was full so I had someone sitting next to me, which always makes me feel a bit claustrophobic when sitting in economy.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Avoid middle seats B and E if you are travelling alone. Exit row seats in ten and 11 offer a couple of extras inches of legroom, as do B, C and D in row one. Avoid the back row (26) as there is no window and if you are by the aisle you may well be encroached upon by people queuing for the washroom.

If you are adamant about having the first pick of seats then you may well consider it worth paying £19.50 for Speedy Boarding, but I never think it is worth it. However, if you are buying one of the airline’s new “Flexi” tickets, which are four to five times as much as normal fares, Speedy Boarding is included along with unlimited date changes, free hold luggage (£30 per bag) and no credit card payment fees.

THE FLIGHT The in-flight safety demonstration was performed by crew at 0610, and we pushed back shortly after at 0615. The estimated flight time was two hours ten minutes with some turbulence expected on the approach to landing. Take-off, however, was delayed when a passenger announced he didn’t know where his suitcase was and three members of crew went through all the over-head bins looking for it.

We ascended at 0630 and were at cruising altitude by 0650, at which time the refreshment service began. Items to eat and drink listed in the seat-back Boutique and Bistro pamphlet ranged from Starbucks coffee for £2.50, bacon sandwiches for £4 and 37.5cl bottles of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne for £16.

I tried to get a bit of sleep but what with all the announcements at various times throughout the journey, this proved difficult. At 0730 a trolley came around with duty-free items, and 15 minutes later the captain came on to wish happy birthday to “the drunken Caroline”.

ARRIVAL We started out descent at 0820 and landed 15 minutes later. There seemed to be some confusion about whether the crew had opened the doors too soon and I noticed the aircraft steps being driven back and forth at the front of the plane.

Disembarkation took place at 0845 and passengers were driven to the terminal in a shuttle bus. I was first off and so managed to get to immigration quicker than the other passengers, which resulted in me getting through in five minutes. Once landside, my bag was waiting for me. It’s a 20-minute drive to the centre of Krakow from the airport.

VERDICT A slightly shambolic flight but all in all decent enough for a cheap service that is designed to get you from A to B. The crew were friendly and luggage dealt with efficiently.

FACT FILE

PLANE TYPE A319

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 30in/76cm

SEAT WIDTH 20in/51cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight with Easyjet from London to Krakow in October started from £67.

CONTACT easyjet.com 

Jenny Southan


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19 + five =

Easyjet A319 Economy class

BACKGROUND Easyjet currently flies daily from Tallinn airport to London Stansted. EZY3446 departs at 2030 Monday-Friday, at 1820 on a Saturday and 2130 on a Sunday. The schedule is set to change from March 28 when the Monday and Wednesday services are dropped and the remaining departure times are changed to 2205 on Sundays and around Midday on all other days.

My Sunday service was scheduled to depart at 2130 and arrive at 22.20. It is served by a 156-seat Airbus A319 (G-EZFR). To see the seating plan, click here.

Easyjet competes against Ryanair which flies to London Luton from Tallinn, and Estonian Air (full service and therefore more expensive) which flies to London Gatwick. Air Baltic, Finnair and Lufthansa offer connecting services via Riga, Helsinki and Frankfurt/Munich respectively.

CHECK-IN I arrived at Tallinn airport at 2015 by taxi, a journey of 15 minutes from where I was staying with traffic typically light. Tallinn isn’t a big city, and the airport is only a few miles from the city centre. At peaks times allow yourself half an hour to get to the airport by taxi or bus. There are no train or tram connections, but the taxi ride should cost no more than €10.

The check-in hall was pretty much deserted at that time of night, and despite its small size, Easyjet was surprisingly well represented with bag drops and a speedy boarding-only desk. This meant that it didn’t matter that I hadn’t checked in online before arriving at the airport, there was no queue to worry about and even if there was, I’d have been able to skip it with speedy boarding.

I had some presents to take back to London with me, which I was carrying in a separate carrier bag to my cabin trolley. Unfortunately it was deemed to be a second piece of hand luggage by the lady at the check-in desk so I had to check my case in as hold luggage, which would normally have cost me extra to do. On this occasion I had one piece of hold luggage included in my ticket price.

I forgot that I had a letter opener in my carrier bag, part of a stationary set I’d been given as a gift. This was of course picked up on the x-ray machine, a reassuring sign that security at Tallinn was doing its job. A very polite and non-threatening member of the security asked to check my bag, and at no time was I made to feel like a criminal. A quick check with his supervisor and I was allowed to keep it, which was very reasonable of them in my opinion.

BOARDING At that time of night there was only one security lane open, meaning there was a slight hold up. It took about ten minutes to get airside, including the time taken to check my letter opener. Once through I had about 15 minutes before I had to be at my gate (2100 according to my boarding pass). Tallinn being the tiny airport it is, there are only 16 gates with the last two being non-Schengen. The walk from security to Gate 16, my gate on this occasion, takes no more than five minutes, plus a little time to pass through passport check.

Once through to the non-Schengen zone, I immediately knew which gate was mine due to the lengthy queue of people. I say queue, really it was more of a mass, with no barriers to encourage a natural queue. Fortunately I had speedy boarding, and although there was no priority queue, we were called to the gate first.

Unfortunately, for some reason, the ‘SB’ speedy boarding letters hadn’t been printed on my boarding pass, which of course caused a little trouble. Luckily I had an email print out of my original booking, which specified speedy boarding, and with a little persuasion I was let through to the airbridge leading to the aircraft.

THE SEAT Seat 1F, a window seat, was surprisingly wide. The seats don’t recline, and the bulkhead meant there wasn’t as much legroom as with seats 1A, 1B and 1C, but I still found it comfortable and clean. The tray table comes out of the armrest on these front row seats, in the absence of a seatback.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? I normally always go for seat 1C on Easyjet flights, because of the legroom and the advantage it gives when disembarking. On this occasion, seat 1C was already taken, and as I’d made friends with a fellow speedy boarder who favoured 1D, I went for 1F by the window. I don’t normally like bulkhead seats because of the restricted legroom, but I actually found that it felt more private. Seats 1A, 1B and 1C are opposite two crew “jump seats”, which for some portion of this flight were occupied by passengers seemingly in need of a break from their travelling partners towards the back of the plane.

1D, 1E and 1F are also slightly better for sleeping, although the noise from the galley is still distracting at time. If you want to sleep, go for one of the over-wing emergency exit rows. You’ll know where these are as that’s where one of the cabin crew will stand to greet passengers.

THE FLIGHT There was a very slight delay in preparing the aircraft pre-flight, caused by concern over a minor problem with the door. But one of the pilots soon put the cabin crews’ minds at rest. We pushed back at 2110 and after a short taxi took off on time.

The cabin crew was up and preparing their cart with drinks and snack, as soon as they could. Hot food offerings included a pepperoni pizza and croque monsieur, priced at about £5 and both very tasty (from past experience). I will normally always either eat before or take my own food on an Easyjet flight, usually buying from the airport where there is more choice.

ARRIVAL We landed well ahead of schedule and was off the plane by 2200, via stairs and a short walk to the gate. The queues at immigration were lengthy, but most were entertained by people trying to use (often in vain) the IRIS machines. Even though I saw some people struggle with the very new-looking IRIS machines at Stansted, I still resolved to register myself as soon as I could, for the simple reason that the queues were so short compared to non-IRIS.

There was then a ten-minute wait at luggage carousel number two. I found one of my trolley pockets to be unzipped, but there was nothing missing (or rather nothing I’ve since missed). By 2230 I was through the arrivals hall and descending to the lower level from where the Stansted Express train departs. I jumped on the 2245 service, which should have called at London Liverpool Street some 45 minutes later. It didn’t as it happens, but that’s a story for another day.

VERDICT A good flight time for anyone spending the weekend in Tallinn on a city break, but not so great for business travellers. The arrival time at Stansted means it’s a rush to get to London before the tube shuts, at around 0020, which can be a concern for anyone travelling beyond London Liverpool Street. Having said that, flight times are set to change (see ‘Background’). The flight itself was punctual, the plane modern and clean, and the cabin crew was friendly.

PRICE A mid-week return in April from Easyjet’s website starts at €145 (£124).

CONTACT easyjet.com

Andrew Gough


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ten + sixteen =

Easyjet A319 Economy class

BACKGROUND Easyjet currently flies daily from London Stansted to Tallinn, departing at 1515 and arriving at 2000 local Monday-Friday. On Saturday the flight leaves at 1305 and on Sunday at 1655. This will all change from March 28 when the Monday and Wednesday flights will be dropped, and the remaining services will switch to early morning departures (except for Sunday at 1655).

The route is served by a 156-seat Airbus A319 (EZY3445, G-EZFR) in a 3-3 seating configuration. To see the seatplan, click here.

Easyjet competes against Ryanair which flies on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 0745 from London Luton. Estonian Air (full service and therefore more expensive) flies from London Gatwick on Thursday and Sunday evenings.

CHECK-IN I started my journey at Tottenham Hale, a London Underground (Victoria line) and mainline train station on the Stansted Express line from London Liverpool Street. I caught the 1307 which arrived at Stansted just 30 minutes later (with one stop on the way). It should be noted here that the newer Stansted Express trains have free wifi, but on this occasion I was travelling on the older-style train.

As the ticket had been booked on my behalf, I did not have the details needed to check-in online. However, I did have speedy boarding and therefore knew that I could bypass the lengthy queues that sometimes afflict the Easyjet check-in desks. There were two speedy boarding-only desks, one of which was free, and with hand luggage only I was soon checked in with a gate closing time of 1445.

At Stansted there are two entrance leading to the eight security lanes. Most people seemed to go to the second as it was the closest to the Easyjet check-in zone. A quick look further down and I could see that hardly anyone was using the entrance to the other lanes.

Be warned that at Stansted they do not hand out free plastic bags for liquids. If you don’t already have one (as I did from a previous flight), you’ll have to purchase yours from what look like large bubble gum machines located close to the entrance to security. The balls contained therein cost £1 and provide four bags each. This is bound to catch out holidaymakers, but seasoned travellers should get used to it fairly quickly.

BOARDING I had about 50 minutes before I had to be at my gate, so I did a little shopping for gifts. The facilities at Stansted are clean and modern, and Stansted’s small size means the shops don’t sprawl with everything conveniently located.

Gates 1-39 are reached by a transit shuttle train which leaves every five minutes or so, making two stops for gates 1-19 and 20-39. My gate (16) was called at 1430, so I didn’t hang around in making my way to the waiting shuttle. The journey took only a few minutes, and as the train was quite full, I decided to let everyone rush off ahead of me rather than struggle with my heavy hand luggage in tow, knowing I had the luxury of speedy boarding and therefore no crowd to beat.

As it turned out, almost everyone on the shuttle was bound for Tallinn on the same flight, so I was relieved to have speedy boarding. The two queues (SB and non-SB) were well organised on this occasion which cannot always be said of Easyjet flights, but this is really down to a number of factors with the most important being airport layout. At Gate 16 there was a corridor down which everyone forwmed a natural queue.

At 1445, we speedy boarders had our boarding passes scanned before being let into a holding pen of sorts. The aircraft was connected by an airbridge, and I was in my seat (with just a short wait by the aircraft door) by 1500. The rest of the passengers were seated by 1510, and we pushed back at 1515 with an estimated time of arrival of 2000, right on schedule.

THE SEAT I went for what most frequent flyers consider the best seat on any Easyjet aircraft, seat 1C. Being in the front row and on the non-bulkhead side it has bags of legroom, plus you’ll be the first off the plane as you can get to the overhead locker first. However, it is not a good seat if you want to sleep, with constant noise from the cabin crew going about their business. This is unavoidable though – unlike full service carriers, which have set service times and therefore moments when the crew will be quiet, Easyjet is constantly selling food and drinks (especially to the rowdy stag doers towards the back of the aircraft).

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? If you’re not worried about sleeping, then seats 1A, 1B and 1C are the best, followed by the rest of Row 1. Be aware that you can stretch your legs out in these seats, but you’ll be getting in the way of the cabin crew, plus the queue for the forward toilet. If you want to sleep, it’s probably better to go for one of the exit row seats (rows ten and 11). Cabin crew sometimes stand in these rows to greet passengers, as there’s more room, which means that most people instinctively choose to sit elsewhere. This is good news as it means that you’ve a better chance of getting one of them.

One major advantage of sitting at the front of the plane is the avoidance of the groups, typically stag or hen parties, who tend to sit at the back. As the plane tends to fill from the front, groups head to the back in the hope of sitting together.

THE FLIGHT The flight left more or less on time, and as soon as seemed possible the crew sprang into the business of selling drinks and snacks, which they did constantly for the duration of the flight. I’d like to say here that the cabin crew each displayed the stoicism and patience of a saint, in the face of a constant barrage of “light-hearted banter” and demands for Stella Artois coming from the large stag party at the back of the plane. Once or twice I overhead them talk about an unruly passenger’s behaviour, and I really felt for them.

Food on board this Easyjet flight consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich with warm offerings of a three cheese pizza or a croque monsieur, all priced at between £4 and £5. I nearly always buy my food for the journey at the airport, where there is greater choice and usually better value for money, and this flight was no exception. I have had the croque monsieur (or “ham and cheese toasty” as it is referred to by the cabin crew) before, and it is extremely tasty. There is a good variety of soft and not-so-soft drinks on offer, but expect to pay above average prices.

ARRIVAL We began our decent at 1930 local time, with the crew asked to prepare for landing some ten minutes later. We were told to expect turbulence during our landing, and that is certainly what we got. I overheard the captain and co-pilot joking afterwards about the tricky landing, and while the approach was certainly one of the most “dynamic” I’ve experienced, the landing itself was smooth and more impressive given the snow-covered runway outside. A round of applause from the chaps at the back was well-deserved.

After taxiing for a short while the belt sign was turned off at 1950, and I was the first at the exit with hand luggage and coat well and truly done up in anticipation of the freezing temperatures outside. I was the first to reach immigration (via an airbridge and short walk), and with no checked luggage I was the first in the arrivals hall at 2000.

VERDICT Speedy boarding is well worth the extra money at £16 per booking (covering the return flight if booked at the same time). The flight was on time, all that one can really expect from a no-frills airline, and the crew was efficient and friendly. The current flight times are more suited to people hoping to head out in Tallinn for a weekend away, but the upcoming schedule change to a morning flight may better suit business travellers.

PRICE A mid-week return in March starts at £77 (no checked luggage), with speedy boarding costing an extra £16 per booking.

CONTACT easyjet.com


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thirteen − nine =

Easyjet A319 Economy Class

CHECK-IN Easyjet only offers one flight a day from London (Gatwick) to Dusseldorf, the capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. I arrived the South Terminal at 1024 by train from London Bridge, and then took the shuttle train to the North Terminal, a short walk away from the station exit. The journey only takes a couple of minutes, and once inside the building I took the nearest lift up to the departures hall (you are not allowed to take suitcases on the escalator). I then turned right and followed the signs to check-in Zone E, which was very quiet on this Saturday morning.

There were four Easyjet desks open plus one for Speedy Boarding, and a line of about ten people, so it didn’t take long to be seen to. As I had checked in online the evening before and printed my boarding pass, it was just a matter of dropping my hold bag off (it cost £18 online but would have cost twice that if had paid for it at the airport).

At 1045 I made my way through security (coats and shoes with heels off, and laptops out), which was extremely quick as there weren’t very many people ahead of me. I noticed that body scanning was in operation but I was not asked to be checked. Within five minutes, I was airside. I bought some euros at a nearby Travelex, and a sandwich and a drink from Eat – upstairs on the mezzanine level overlooking departure – to consume on the flight.

BOARDING The boards read “Go to gate” from about 1100 but as the flight was at 1210 I didn’t rush. At 1130 I noticed boarding had started so walked to Gate 106, roughly eight minutes away. The waiting area was pretty quiet but people had already started queuing, with one line for passengers who had paid for Speedy Boarding and the other for standard economy class passengers.

There was a Wetherspoon Express, a World Duty-Free and a small WHSmith outlet for last-minute purchases. I took a seat by a window facing the runway until boarding actually started (Speedy Boarding first), and then joined the long line for boarding pass check. There was then a ten-minute delay in the airbridge as passengers filtered on to the aircraft and took their seats.

THE SEAT The plane was about one-third full so getting my desired window seat (25A) near the back was not a problem. The A319 is configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F), the interiors were pretty clean and the crew were welcoming. I was also fortunate that no one else was occupying the seats neat to me, so had more space to spread out it.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Row one offers the most legroom. Exit rows are ten and 11 but don’t look as if they give you much more space. Avoid middle seats B and E if you are travelling alone as they feel particularly claustrophobic. Note that the back row has no window next to it on either side.

THE FLIGHT After a safety demonstration, we pushed back at 1205 and took off five minutes late at 1215. There were then the obligatory announcements about in-flight shopping and the suggestion of “Starting off your journey with a mini bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte for £15”. The captain then warned us of some mild turbulence en route and informed us that the flight would take about one hour.

At 1240 a trolley of food and drink was brought around – the “Boutique and Bistro” in-flight magazine listed prices as £1 for 150ml Britvic mixers, £4 for 70ml spirits, £3.60 for 330ml cans of beer, £1.50 for 330ml bottles of Vittel water and £1.50 for a 50g bag of Mini Cheddars. An all-day cheese and tomato breakfast sandwich was £3.60, the John West tuna Snack pack was £3.50 and the bacon baguette £4.

ARRIVAL I ate my Eat sandwich and read the paper to pass the time until landing at 1315 (1415 local time), which was actually a little ahead of schedule despite taking of five minutes late. There was one more sales pitch (two Breo watches for £15 – perfect Christmas stocking fillers) before disembarkation from both the front and the back of the plane, down some steps and on to a shuttle bus. I was one of the first off as was sitting near the back.

We arrived at the terminal at about 1440 (the drive was only three minutes) but then had a 20-minute wait to get through passport control as there were several hundred people and only five desks open. Once landside, in baggage reclaim, my suitcase was waiting for me on the conveyor belt. A taxi to the city centre cost about €20 and took 15-20 minutes.

VERDICT A very cheap and efficient short-haul flight from Easyjet – just a shame about the long wait at passport control on arrival.

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight in January started from £57.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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2 × four =

Easyjet A319 Economy class

CHECK-IN A thick fog had descended on Dusseldorf early in the morning and by 1830, when I arrived at the airport by taxi (about €20 from the city centre), it still hadn’t cleared. So, of course, I feared the worst. I had already checked in online for the return flight, the night before I flew out from London, so had a print-out of my boarding pass. Easyjet only schedules one flight a day between Dusseldorf and Gatwick, and when I got to the appropriate desk (142/143 – there was no queue) I was told that because of the fog (as I suspected), I would have to catch it from Cologne where it was being diverted to.

I was told to keep a hold of my suitcase but it was tagged and I was issued with a new paper boarding pass and told to wait downstairs for a dedicated Easyjet bus to Cologne at 2000. I passed the time in a Starbucks on the upper mezzanine level overlooking the landside departures hall, and then at 1950 headed downstairs for my scheduled rendezvous. There was a group of about 50 people shivering in the cold outside in the car park but staff soon ushered everyone inside to wait for the coach.

There was a wait of about ten minutes while all the luggage was loaded on, and then at 2015 we set off. The drop off at Cologne airport, which also looked pretty foggy, was completed at 2105, and I headed for Terminal 2 to drop my case off. The Easyjet desks (D27 and D28) were located up two sets of escalators – passengers with hand-luggage only were directed straight to security. I queued for about five minutes before also passing through security, which wasn’t particularly busy at this time of night. In fact, once airside, I noticed that most of the shops had closed and we were waiting for one of the last flights of the day.

At 2140 I went through passport control into a spacious waiting hall by Gate D10, where a Bmibaby plane was boarding. There were huge floor-to-ceiling windows nearby with good views of the runway and it concerned me that there was no sign of an Easyjet plane by any of the stands. There were no announcements and no departure boards visible so everyone just sat and waited. Finally, at 2225, a woman had found out that the flight would actually be boarding from Gate 30, a short walk away, so everyone got up and followed her.

BOARDING At this point there was still no sign of an Easyjet plane and I was preparing to be told that it had been cancelled altogether and I would be spending the night at an airport hotel.

However, at 2240, the plane did pull up to the gate, and the Dusseldorf-bound passengers from London were disembarked and told to catch the bus to their final destination. At 2258 boarding via an airbridge began, and there was a ten-minute delay while people waited to get to their seats. The crew told passengers to sit anywhere they liked as it was not a busy flight.

THE SEAT I chose seat 21A, behind the wing of this A319. The plane is configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) across 26 rows, and I was also fortunate that no one else was occupying the seats neat to me, which made the journey a bit more comfortable.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Row one offers the most legroom. Exit rows are ten and 11 but don’t look as if they give you much more space. Avoid middle seats B and E if you are travelling alone as they feel particularly claustrophobic. Note that the back row has no window next to it on either side.

THE FLIGHT At 2320 crew did a headcount and a safety demonstration. The female captain, Emily, then introduced herself and gave a sincere apology for the delay and rerouting of the flight, explaining that it had also been foggy in London, which was why the outbound flight took off later than scheduled, and because Dusseldorf has an early night curfew it could not accept a late landing.

The journey was estimated to take one hour and we were informed that, as a gesture of goodwill, all passengers could have a free soft or hot drink and a snack from the trolley, which I thought was very decent and welcoming, as everyone seemed tired, hungry and fed up. We pushed back at 1130 and take-off took place at 1150. Once at cruising altitude, the crew came around asking passengers what they wanted to eat and drink – I went for a sparkling water and packet of Mini Cheddars.

Flicking though the “Boutique and Bistro” in-flight guide, I noticed that “Funkin Mixer” pouches of “pureed cocktail punch”, good for mixing with Bombay Sapphire gin, were available for £2, in both “cosmopolitan” and “bramble” flavours. On another page, smokeless cigarettes called “Similar” (It’s not a cigarette, it’s Similar” being the slogan on the front) were £6. They can be “smoked” on board but I have never seen anyone doing so.

ARRIVAL Landing at Gatwick’s North Terminal was at 0045 (1145 local time) and disembarkation took place via an airbridge. By the time I got through passport control and picked up my suitcase from baggage reclaim, there were no trains left running to London Bridge, so I walked to the taxi rank where I was quoted a significantly reduced fare back to Zone 2 of northeast London (£80 as opposed about £160), which I accepted.

VERDICT A severely disrupted flight that seriously inconvenienced me, but the Easyjet crew were very apologetic and friendly and did their best to make the journey home comfortable. The offer of free soft drinks and snacks was a small but generous touch that was welcomed by all.

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight in January started from £57.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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one × five =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport by taxi (NTL70/£30 plus a NTL10/£4.25 fee for the toll booth) at 1400 for my 1600 flight to London Luton. I had to pass through a quick security check (bag X-rayed/walk through metal detector) before entering the landside departure hall. 

The international terminal was almost empty on this Sunday afternoon but there were a couple of people ahead of me at the check-in counters (A10 and A11) directly opposite the main entrance. My luggage was processed promptly and even though I had checked in online and had printed my boarding pass, I was issued with another one.  

From here I walked to passport control a few metres away and was through within three minutes. (There were four desks open.) Once airside I perused duty-free for a bit and then took a seat and caught up on some reading.  

BOARDING At 1500 my gate (203B) flashed up on the departure screens as open and by 1515 a queue had formed there. There was another security check here and even liquids purchased landside were not allowed through, which was annoying seeing as it is a 3.5-hour flight to London and onboard refreshments have to be paid for. 

I had a ten-minute wait to go through security, followed by a 30-minute delay in a holding area with no seats, while the rest of the passengers waited to board. The boarding process eventually started at 1545. Although I could have arrived later and not spent that 30 minutes standing in line, it would have meant I was last to get on the plane and, consequently, as seats are not pre-assigned, I would not have had much of a choice of seats. 

Speedy Boarding passengers were called first (this is an extra £15 for a return flight) but I was in my seat by 1550. 

THE SEAT The A319 was configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) across 24 rows, and I chose 16F, a window seat behind the wing. As with the outbound flight a few days before, the plane had not been cleaned and there were crumbs on my seat. 

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Avoid middle seats B and E, and if you want unobscured views out of the window, don’t go for seats in rows nine to 17. Exit row seats with extra legroom are in rows ten and 11, while row one also offers a greater pitch and means passengers sitting here can disembark first. If you have long legs or feel claustrophobic, opt for an aisle seat (C or D). For a seatplan of this aircraft, click here.

THE FLIGHT The plane started taxiing at 1610 after the safety demonstration, with take-off shortly after. During the flight there was the option to purchase hot and cold snacks, drinks, and train and coach tickets for onward journeys into London from Luton airport. Service was efficient and friendly, although I did not bother ordering any refreshments as I had already had lunch. The remainder of the journey was uneventful. 

ARRIVAL We started descending at 1945 (1745 local time) and landed on time at 1800. There was a ten-minute wait for the aircraft doors to open, and a further eight minutes for those passengers in front of me to disembark. I was through immigration at Luton by 1830 and did not have to hang around long for my case to appear in baggage reclaim. There was a bus transfer outside the terminal to Luton airport Parkway station, from where there are frequent services into London King’s Cross. 

VERDICT A punctual no-frills service with amenable crew, but my seat was dirty, as it was on the outbound flight, which lead me to believe the aircraft was not cleaned at all as the turn-around time is quite short.

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight from London Luton to Istanbul started from £234 in August. (No luggage included – £18 per case.)

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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  • I understand you had to wait 18 minutes from landing to disembark the plane. That would mean 2018 if you landed at 2000, so you would have been at immigration earliest by about 2025, can the typo wherever it occured be corrected?

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18 − nine =

Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at London’s Luton airport via shuttle bus from Luton airport Parkway station at 0750 for my 0945 flight to Istanbul. The facility was fairly quiet on this Thursday morning and I went straight to the Easyjet bag-drop desk (55) as I had already taken advantage of its online check-in service and printed my boarding pass. The check-in desks were 48-50 and there were long queues for these but fortunately there was no one waiting at bag-drop – my luggage was quickly processed and I then headed upstairs to security. 

There were short queues at each of the four lanes that were open and passengers who had not brought a clear plastic bag for liquids with them had to pay £1 for four. Laptops had to be taken out, as usual, and shoes and belts off. I was airside by 0815 and passed the time exchanging some currency and grabbing breakfast. 

BOARDING At 0915 the gate (17) opened. As seating is not pre-assigned I went there immediately in the hope that I would be able to board earlier than some of the other passengers and consequently get a decent window seat. 

It was a three-minute walk away, following the signs to Gates 1-18, and I was indeed one of the first to arrive. There was a ten-minute wait in a holding room at ground level before being ushered across the tarmac at 0930 to the aircraft. 

Even though I had not paid the £9 outbound fee (£6 inbound) for Speedy Boarding I was one of the first 20 passengers to board, with the choice of entering from the front or back of the plane. 

THE SEAT The A319 was configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) across 26 rows. I opted for seat 6A just in front of the wing, which was a mistake as it had crumbs on it – there had obviously been no cleaning service after its last flight. It felt quite cramped as the person next to me was fairly large and had her elbow on the armrest for the entire time.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Avoid middle seats B and E, and if you want unobscured views out of the window, don’t go for seats in rows nine to 17. Exit row seats with extra legroom are in rows ten and 11, while row one also offers a greater pitch and means passengers sitting here can disembark first. If you have long legs or feel claustrophobic, go for an aisle seat (C or D). For a seatplan of this aircraft, click here.

THE FLIGHT There was a short wait while the plane was being refuelled, followed by an even longer wait due to air traffic control delays. We started taxiing at 1020 to the sound of a screaming child sitting in row five ahead of me. His or her little brother then proceeded to stand on his seat and jump around until a stewardess asked the parents to sit him down. Take off was at 1035, almost one hour late. 

The drink and snack service, which started at 1100, was paid for, as is the norm with this no-frills carrier. I declined the offer of refreshments and managed to read my book for the duration of the 3.5-hour journey despite some disturbance from the children in front.

ARRIVAL The aircraft started its descent into Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport on the Asian side of the city at 1330 (1530 local time) and was on the ground 20 minutes later. There was a mad rush to exit with people grabbing bags out of the overhead lockers and pushing to get off. 

Once in the terminal at 1605, there was a three-minute walk to immigration where entry visas need to be purchased (£10 in cash – no receipts). There was then a short wait for passport control. By 1630 my bag had appeared on the carousel in baggage reclaim a short walk away, and once landside I found there were plenty of taxis waiting outside. It costs NTL60-100 (£25-£42) to get to the city centre and the journey takes about 45-60 minutes, depending on traffic. 

VERDICT Despite taking off almost one-hour late, the flight was only 20 minutes behind schedule landing. Rates for this service are relatively high in the summer months and business travellers will have to compete with holidaymakers for space and comfort – there some noisy children on my flight but I managed to ignore them most of the way. 

Flying into Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport is also less convenient than Ataturk, which is on the European side and is closer to the city centre, but the former is the only one Easyjet flies to. Crew were professional and the pilot kept passengers informed. 

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight from London Luton to Istanbul started from £234 in August. (No luggage included – £18 per case.)

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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twenty − 13 =

Easyjet A319 Economy class

BACKGROUND Easyjet flies from London Gatwick South Terminal to Barcelona T2 four times daily. My flight, EZY5133, is scheduled to leave at 1115 arriving in Barcelona at 1420 local, an official flight time of just over two hrs.

CHECK-IN I checked in online which can be done well in advance of your actual journey. I checked in the week before, something you can’t do with British Airways. BA by comparison, only allows you to check-in 24 hours before departure, but unlike Easyjet, BA allows passengers to change their allocated seats.

I arrived at LGW South at 0850, having travelled in from Victoria, a journey which took 35 minutes. As I’d printed out my boarding pass at home, and had hand luggage only, I made my way straight to security. Instead of using security on the lower level, I decided to try the one on the upper level which proved much quieter. I was through within minutes, there was really only one woman in front of me in the queue for the scanner.

I had about an hour to kill so I had a quick look around the shops, all pretty standard stuff. It’s certainly worth going airside if you have a while before your flight, there’s more to see and do there.

The screens said my gate would open 1115, so I settled down in the upstairs seating area to do some work. There is no free wifi which was hardly a surprise, but there are a few public providers to choose from if you have a subscription, BT Openzone and Boingo for example. There are also some free-to-use terminals on the upper concourse and also downstairs by the corridor leading to the departure gates.

BOARDING Gate 24 was called at 1030 and it took at least 15 minutes to walk there as it’s one of the very last gates, tucked away in a far off corner of the terminal. That said, it does mean it’s joined to the aircraft by an airbridge, so no tarmac dash from bus to aircraft necessary. I joined one of two queues at the gate, and here is where my ignorance paid off. As most know, there is a queue for speedy boarders and a queue for those unwilling to pay the extra. I joined the former, which proved a canny tactic. When the time came to board, I simply let all the speedy boarders behind me go first. I then followed after them, quite a reasonable thing to do and I was not the only one by any means. This rather overwhelmed the one Easyjet employee tasked with checking boarding passes and passports, but even so I was quickly on the plane having bypassed the main queue.

SEAT As seat 1C had been taken, I instead went for one of the exit row seats. It would seem that many still haven’t cottoned on to the concept of an exit row seat, happily walking past them in order to squeeze in somewhere else. Of course this may be because they’re in groups of two or more, and so would want to sit together.

I went for an aisle seat, 11D, which had more than enough legroom. I’d estimate at least a third more legroom than with the regular seating. As a tip for prospective Easyjet passengers, the exit rows are normally where the cabin crew stand when greeting those boarding.

Seat width was also fine, comparable to the newer BA Euro Traveller seats. The armrest was surprisingly quite wide, and could be shared with my neighbour with minimum elbow contact.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? 1D is without a doubt the best seat on the plane. It’s close to the toilet, there’s no row or bulkhead in front, and you’ll be the first off the plane. Otherwise rows ten and 11 are emergency exit rows, but you’ll have to stow everything away in the overhead lockers during take-off and landing. This includes and coats and jackets that aren’t worn, so that there is no risk of them getting in the way in case of an emergency.

THE FLIGHT We took off at 1150, 35 minutes late. A little into the flight the drinks and snacks trolley appeared. Soft drinks cost £2, and beers and spirits £3.50 and upwards. Warm sandwiches and snacks, such as cheese and ham toasties and pizzas, cost about £4. I bought food airside and brought it onto the plane with me, which saved me a bit of money. But for anyone paying for food in-flight (and there were a few) at least Easyjet offers choice which is more than can be said for full-service carriers, at least when travelling economy short haul. Magazines and papers also had to be bought, but they weren’t that much more expensive than if bought from the airport.

ARRIVAL We landed at Barcelona at 1430 local time, just ten minutes behind schedule meaning we’d made up 15 minutes on our late departure. Disembarking involved the normal scramble, but as I was on the aisle I could jump up and quickly get my bag down. There was an airbridge, and once off the plane the luggage carousel was about a ten minute walk away in T2 area B.

VERDICT It has to be said that Easyjet’s cabin crew is very friendly, and buying my own food, drink and newspaper at the airport before flying was no bother given how cheap the flight was.

PRICE A mid-week return in June from Easyjet’s website starts at £116.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Andrew Gough


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Easyjet A319 Economy class

BACKGROUND Easyjet flies from Barcelona “El Prat” Airport T2 to London Gatwick South four times daily. My flight, EZY5134, leaves at 1455 and arrives at 1610 local time (-1hr).

CHECK-IN Easyjet allows online check-in some weeks before departure, for inbound and outbound travel, so when I arrived at El Prat I already had my boarding pass printed. For anyone flying with Easyjet, I would recommend you do the same, it will save you having to queue. It really is a mistake not to, especially if you only have hand luggage. If you have a suitcase to check, use the baggage drop-off, it’s still a lot quicker.
After arriving at 1400, I made my way straight to security. Here there were separate tables where I could ready myself to go through the scanner, and there wasn’t a long queue. El Prat T2 consists of three areas – A, B and C. A is out of action at the moment while the building is renovated. Easyjet’s departure gate can be found in area C.

BOARDING Gate 50 was quite some walk from security, but on the way there were plenty of airside shops to peruse. If you’ve only 40 minutes before your flight though, I wouldn’t recommend hanging around, at least not if you don’t like being at the end of the queue. This is how I found myself unfortunately, and with no speedy boarding. The gate opened on time at 1430, and we boarded by airbridge. The queue took about ten minutes, I was settled by 1440.
Speedy boarding is not a bad option, but in my experience it’s not a guaranteed benefit. At Gatwick on the way out, I joined the back of the speedy boarding queue, and as it was the first to be boarded, was among the first of the non-speedy passengers to get on the plane. At Barcelona however, there was no separate speedy boarding lane as such. Everyone joined one big queue, and the speedy boarders were asked to step out of it. So in this case my sneak tactic wouldn’t have worked.

THE SEAT Without a doubt the best seat is 1C, as I will explain in a moment. But because I was one of the last to board, it was of course taken. Luckily there were still some aisle seats, which people still don’t seem to be savvy to. As a hint, the exit row is where the cabin crew normally stand to greet people.
My seat, 11D on the aisle, was perfectly comfortable. It wasn’t cramped width-wise, and because it was an exit row I had bags of legroom. The exit row seats have about a third more legroom compared to the normal seats.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? 1C, if you can get it and it hasn’t already been taken by a speedy boarder. You’ll be first off the plane and there’s no row in front or bulkhead, so lots of legroom.

Otherwise, rows ten and 11 are emergency exit rows, but be warned that you’ll have to put everything in the overhead lockers during take-off and landing. I wasn’t allowed to have my jacket on my lap.

THE FLIGHT We took off at 1515, 20 minutes behind schedule. No reason was given as to why this was, but 20 minutes seems to be standard these days. About ten minutes into the flight, the food and drinks announcement was made. It’s worth advising here that you should probably stock up on food from the airside shops, if you want to avoid paying £4 for a sandwich from the cabin crew. However, having said that, there is one big advantage to this system over the full-service carriers, and that is choice. If you fly British Airways short haul, your choice of food is extremely limited. I don’t actually think there is a vegetarian option with BA, or even the option to buy something else. At least with Easyjet you pay less for a ticket, and a small part of the money saved can be used to buy from a menu. The same cannot be said for drinks though, the choice is the same if not slightly poorer, and they’re expensive.

I’d also recommend going to the toilet before boarding. If you find yourself in desperate need early on, you may well get stuck behind one of the trolleys during the drinks service.

ARRIVAL We landed at 1607 local time, slightly ahead of schedule which was impressive given our late departure. As I was on the aisle I could get out of my seat and away fairly quickly, no major issues with getting my stuff down. We disembarked by airbridge, and it was about a five minute walk to the luggage carousel. As I had only hand luggage, it was another very short walk to arrivals.

VERDICT You get what you pay for with Easyjet, but the friendly cabin crew on this flight in particular did its airline proud.

PRICE A mid-week return in June from the Easyjet website starts at £125 (hand luggage only).

CONTACT easyJet.com


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Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at Nice airport at 1745, quite early for my 2130 flight (U25072) to London Gatwick, as I was transferring from Moncao with Heliair and the last departure was at 1730 on a Sunday. (Flights depart from Nice and Monaco every 30 minutes and cost €210 return. A taxi will cost about €100 each way.)

As I had already checked in online, printed my boarding pass, and was travelling with hand baggage only, I headed upstairs to the departure area of Terminal 2. To pass the time, I went to a pleasant bar up a flight of stairs just above the security area, had a drink and a bite to eat, and caught up on some reading. 

At 1900 I noticed that my flight was delayed, but it did not say for how long. At 2015, I went through security, where there was no queue. As I was putting my belt on and packing my plastic bag of liquids into my luggage, I thought I heard an announcement that said the 2130 Easyjet flight to London Gatwick for delayed four hours, 45 minutes but as it was not repeated I thought I might have got it wrong. 

The airside departure screens were no more helpful as the flight still said “delayed”. I looked around for a member of staff to ask but there was no one, so at 2030 I decided to go through passport control (there was no queue) and wait in departure lounge B. Once I had taken a seat near the gates for the Gatwick and Luton flights, I noticed that the other London-bound flight was also delayed, for about an hour (set to depart at 2215).

By 2120, there had still been no repetition of the announcement regarding the Gatwick flight and there were no staff to be seen, so I asked a woman sitting next to me if she knew what was going on. She said it was indeed delayed for more than four hours, so I decided to go back into departure lounge A and find a member of staff. At first, one of the men at passport control wouldn’t let me, but after I insisted, his colleague told him to let me through. 

I then had to walk all the way to the far end to Easyjet desk A1, where there was one member of staff. When I asked him what was happening with the flight he said: “Didn’t you hear the announcement? It’s delayed four and a half hours because of a technical failure with the aircraft in London. It hasn’t even taken off yet. They are giving out food and drinks vouchers in departure lounge B, if you want to go and get some.” (Of, course, I knew they hadn’t been as I had been there for the last hour.)

I asked if he thought the plane would actually depart from Nice that night, given it might not even land until 2am, and he said he didn’t know. I asked if it would be possible to be put on to the Luton flight but he said it was full, and as far as getting a seat on another flight the following day, that too would be impossible as they were fully booked for the next two days. He added that I could get a form to fill in to apply for compensation but would need to go back to departure B to get it from a member of staff when the gate opened for the Luton flight. 
Back in departure lounge B at 2150, the Luton flight was boarding, but I decided to wait until everyone had been processed before trying to talk to the only member of staff on the scene. At 2220, myself and a number of other people tried to ask her what was happening with the Gatwick flight, but she said she didn’t know and walked down the corridor towards the airbridge, closing the glass doors behind her. 

At 2235 a member of Nice airport ground staff appeared and I asked him if he could tell me what was going on. He said they didn’t know but that it might be cancelled. He said that he or another member of staff would be back in ten minutes to confirm one way or the other. As the flight still hadn’t landed, to my knowledge, and there was no plane at the gate, I assumed it would be cancelled. At 2245 the flight disappeared from the departure board with the flights for the following day appearing in its place. The airport was closing and still there had been no announcement. 

At 2250 another member of staff came to inform everybody that the flight had indeed been cancelled and that if we collected our bags and went to desk B23, back in the landside area, we would all be given a hotel for the night or a voucher for a taxi. By the time I got there, there was already a long queue – the flight must have been close to full with many of them waiting in departure lounge A, so about 150 passengers needed to be seen, and there were two members of staff. 

Passengers were then informed that a flight would be rescheduled for 1400 the following day. At 2310 two more desks were opened for those needing taxi vouchers only. While in the queue, I spoke to a number of passengers, which highlighted the kinds of problems faced by people in these kinds of situations. 

One woman was supposed to be catching a connecting flight from London Heathrow to Toronto the following morning, and, of course would miss it. Another couple said they were supposed to have been on the morning flight to Liverpool but that had been cancelled due to bad weather, and had been put on the London Gatwick flight instead, only to discover that this one too was to be cancelled. 

A pair of backpackers said that had voluntarily allowed themselves to be bumped from two earlier flights to London as a gesture of good will to the families that were also hoping to board, but that they would now be facing a second night at an airport hotel in Nice as a result. For the many other people, it was the inconvenience of losing day’s work as a result of having to catch a 1400 flight on a Monday.

There were several boards in the terminal displaying posters highlighting EU passenger rights, with a freephone number to call (00800 67891011) if they wanted to complain. 

The information from the European Commission said:

In the event of flight cancellation or denied boarding, the passengers concerned have the right to:

– reimbursement of the cost of the ticket within seven days or a return flight to the first point of departure or re-routing to their final destination;    

– care (refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation, transport between the airport and place of accommodation, two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails);    

– compensation totalling:

– €250 for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less;    
– €400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres;    ~
– €600 for all other flights.

For more information click here.

 At 2335, passengers were directed to a third desk, and by 2345 it was my turn. I was promptly booked into a room at the Park Inn Nice airport, and given a series of forms that included a certificate from Avia Partner Nice, signed and dated, and in English and French, that read: “We Avia Partner acting on behalf of Easyjet testify that flight U25072 on February 21, 2010, to London Gatwick scheduled at 2130 has been cancelled. This flight will be rescheduled on February 22 at 1400 local time. We do apologise for any inconvenience caused by this cancellation and thank you for understanding.” 

There was also a colour print-out of Easyjet’s “Notice of your rights” attached, directions in French for applying for reimbursement online, and a page with contact details for Easyjet’s customer support team. I asked for some vouchers for food and drink for the following day, as I had not got any that evening, and with the flight departing at 1400, I would need a lunchtime snack and a coffee. 

I was given a €9 voucher (with “two x €4.50” written on it) that could be redeemed at airport vendors and on board at the Easyjet Kiosk. (No change could be given, and alcohol could not be purchased.) The staff member also wrote “CXC” across my boarding pass and told me to bring it with me the following day to check in. 

A transfer bus then took the remaining passengers to the hotel, and after a 15-minute wait, I was checked into a room at 0010. The member of staff on duty did well to deal with guests quickly and in good humour, and the bar stayed open late so that everyone could buy a drink. There was only one PC available to use and internet access cost €6 for 30 minutes – as there were several people waiting to use it, it wasn’t until 0130 until I got my chance. 

CHECK-IN The following morning, after a simple breakfast (served until 1000), a Park Inn minibus shuttle took myself and a dozen other passengers back to the airport for 1130. I joined the long queue for Easyjet check-in desk A12 (A10, A11 and A13 opened a while later). It took about 25 minutes to be processed and I was given a new boarding pass. At 1220, I went to Paul sandwich bar, which is landside, to spend my €9 voucher, as I knew there was less choice airside. (A coffee cost €2.80 and panini €5.10.)

After queuing for five minutes at security, I was given a pat down and my hand luggage was searched. I was on the other side by 1250, and went straight through passport control to departure lounge B. The overhead screens showed my new flight (U29072 – a different code to the one scheduled for 2130 the night before) was delayed 25 minutes. 

BOARDING Passengers were called for boarding at 1345, just as the plane was taxiing to the stand. Speedy Boarding passengers were requested first, and after passports and boarding passes had been checked, there was a short walk along a corridor followed by an eight-minute wait on the airbridge. It was 1430 by the time I was on board.

THE SEAT This A319 had 26 rows configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F). As with all Easyjet flights, seats are not pre-assigned, so I headed towards the back of the plane and chose 20F by the window, behind the wing. The plane was full, but I noticed that middle seats B and E in rows two, three and four were blocked off. The cabin was quite dirty and there were crumbs on the seat, as crew obviously didn’t have time to clean it. 

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Avoid middle seats B and E. If you like an unobscured view out of the window opt for rows one to seven and 17 to 26. 

THE FLIGHT Before take-off, the captain came out of the cockpit to formally address everyone on board. He gave a sincere apology, saying even the staff don’t get informed sometimes as to why there are delays and cancellations. He said there had been a technical problem with the plane at London Gatwick, which meant it couldn’t take off, but “this rescue flight would soon be on its way”. 

Take-off was at 1445 and about 20 minutes later, the crew started the food and drink service. The woman sitting next to me tried to buy some refreshments with a €9 Easyjet voucher (with “two x €4.50” written on it) she had been given the day before but they would not accept it because it didn’t correspond with that day’s date. She also said staff on the ground should not have written “two x €4.50” on it.

After the woman insisted, a senior member of crew said she would call operations to ask permission “otherwise she would get in trouble with head office”. 

One of the crew members offered to pay for the woman’s snacks and drinks if operations said no to the request, as she “felt sorry for her, after being delayed getting home for so long”, but the woman declined, thanking her. Finally they got the thumbs up and the woman got her cup of tea, Kit Kat and Pringles. 

ARRIVAL Before descending into London, crew brought green and black plastic bags around for rubbish and recycling of plastic and paper. Landing was at 1615 (1530 local time) and disembarkation was prompt. I was through immigration and heading for the tube by 1545. 

VERDICT A pretty disastrous return journey resulting in the loss of a day in the office and considerable inconvenience. Nice airport offered almost no support or communication as to why the flight was delayed and the crew on board seemed bound by bureaucratic rules that impinged on the basic customer service they wanted to provide. However, ground staff did well accommodating everyone at hotels, and providing meal vouchers on request, and were upbeat and friendly, despite it being so late at night. The rescheduled flight the next day was 45 minutes late, which meant I got back to London almost 17 hours later than I was meant to. 

THE COMPLAINT After returning back to the UK, I called Easyjet’s customer services department to try and claim compensation, but was told that because of “extraordinary circumstances”, namely an air traffic control problem that meant the carrier’s slot was taken for the outbound London Gatwick-Nice flight the night before, no compensation could be paid. (However, this was contrary to what the pilot and ground staff had said.) If it had been Easyjet’s fault – ie, there was a shortage of cabin crew or no pilot – compensation may have been paid. 

I was also told that the flight had not been cancelled but rescheduled, another reason why I and all other passengers would not be entitled to compensation. However, according to the Air Transport Users Council, if the new flight has a new number (as in my case, originally U25072, new number U29072) the original flight is considered “cancelled”. If the flight has the same number, it is considered “rescheduled”. 

Customer services said there was nothing more they could do for me, and that Easyjet had fulfilled its obligations by providing overnight accommodation, vouchers for food and drink, and another flight home the next day. 

PRICE Internet rates for a return flight with Easyjet from London Gatwick to Nice in mid April started from £52.

CONTACT easyjet.comheliairmonaco.com

auc.org.uk – for independent consumer advice on your rights as an air passenger and for filing claims for compensation from the airlines. No fee is charged. 

euclaim.co.uk – for filing a claim for compensation from airlines. The firm takes 27 per cent of whatever fee you are paid, plus an administration charge. If you are not awarded any compensation, you will not incur any fees.

Jenny Southan


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  • I recommend you try an on-line money claim which is just 30 pounds. It has always worked for me when airlines were refusing to pay out compensation for delay or cancellation.

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Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I checked in online for flight EZY5376 at the business centre of the hotel I was staying in (Radisson Blu Cologne, for a full review, click here) and printed my boarding pass. Koln Messe/Deutz station is a five-minute cab ride away, and tickets to the airport on the frequent services cost €2.40 for a single.

I arrived at Cologne airport at 1920 and headed upstairs to the top level via a series of escalators. There was line of about 15 people at the single Easyjet check-in/bag-drop desk. The terminal was pretty quiet on this Tuesday evening. After a ten-minute wait to check-in my case, I headed straight for security nearby, where there was no queue. I was directed to the business/first class fast-track lane. The metal detector beeped when I went through and I was given a thorough pat down and asked to take my boots off. (I had taken my coat and belt off already.)

A member of staff instructed me brusquely to go through the metal detector again – but I didn’t understand the first time as they were saying it in German. Then they told me to do it a third time because I “went too fast”. Finally, I was airside. There were a few shops and very limited food outlets including a Subway and a local chain restaurant with glaring strip lights and uninviting plastic tables.

BOARDING I killed an hour until 2030 and then joined the queue for passport control, which took about 15 minutes. Departure screen stated boarding would be from Gate D10 so I took a seat and read a book. At 2120 an announcement said there would be a delay because of “a little bit of a technical problem with one of the engines”.

Boarding started at 2130 (passengers with children and Speedy Boarding first, then groups A and two). I was in group two, and there was a ten-minute wait in the airbridge before I could get on the plane.

THE SEAT Passengers were told to evenly distribute themselves throughout the aircraft as there were only 60 of them on board. The crew also made sure two people were sitting by each exit. I chose window seat 18A just behind the wing. This A319/320 was configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) across 26 rows (exit row is ten). The upholstery was the usual orange and navy, and the cabin was clean.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? For short hops such as this, and on flights you can pretty much be sure won’t be full, there is no point paying £8 each way for Speedy Boarding that means you get first pick of the seats. I am of the opinion that you should just take a gamble – if you are flying Easyjet you know it’s not going to be the most comfortable experience, so just get the cheapest ticket you can and put up with it.

If you do have a choice of seats and want extra legroom, opt for an exit row seat but you will have to be prepared to be responsible for opening the door in an emergency. Note that seat D-E-F in row one do not have extra legroom as they are close to the bulkhead, whereas A-B-C do. Avoid middle seats B and E. If you like a window seat with an unobscured view, avoid rows nine to 17. Sitting at the back can be noisier and bumpier, though, and if disembarkation is from the front, it is better to try and sit in rows one to seven.

THE FLIGHT The safety demonstration was at 2200 while the engines were warming up and we starting taxiing a few minutes later. Take-off was at 1015. Food and drinks were offered for a fee. I took the opportunity to take a nap for the rest of the flight.

ARRIVAL Landing at Gatwick airport was at 1120 (1020 local time) and we were disembarked quickly. There was a ten-minute walk to arrivals and then a five-minute wait for passport control. My suitcase was at baggage reclaim by the time I arrived at 1040.

VERDICT The flight was delayed 45 minutes, but other than that it was a decent budget service.

PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight in April from London Gatwick to Cologne/Bonn started from £50.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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Easyjet A319 economy class

CHECK-IN I checked in online at easyjet.com and printed my boarding pass for flight EZY5373 from London Gatwick to Cologne/Bonn. I arrived at the South Terminal at 1040 after catching a train from London Bridge station (standard class anytime day singles cost £8.90), I walked eight minutes to check-in Zone C. There was a long queue for check-in but a shorter one for bag-drop. There were about 12 Easyjet desks open and members of staff directed passengers to them as and when they became available.

After a ten-minute wait, I checked my luggage in and walked around the corner to the security. Plenty of plastic bags were on hand for liquids. My passport and boarding pass were checked and I joined another queue. It was all quite chaotic and a small boy was sick on the floor in the line next to me. This was quickly cleaned up and those passengers were asked to join the back of the queue I was in. At security, officers requested boots (not shoes) be taken off, and as usual, belts and coats.

I was airside by 1100. My flight was at 1230 so had time to head for Café Rouge for brunch. It was reasonably priced (scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast costs £5.50) and the service quick. I kept an eye on the departure boards but the gate number didn’t show up for boarding until 1220.

BOARDING Gate 14 is about a three-minute walk from Café Rouge but when I got there at 1230 there was another long line of people. Passports and boarding passes were checked again, and then there was a ten-minute wait in a lounge area. Boarding started late at 1250 (no apologies). Passengers with children and those having booked Speedy Boarding were called first. After that, all others rushed forward to board.

THE SEAT As usual, it was first come, first served but I got a seat I was happy with – 21A, by the window, behind the wing – by 1300. The plane was about two-thirds full on this Saturday lunchtime so there was a decent amount of choice.

This A319/320 was configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) across 26 rows (exit row is ten). The upholstery was the usual orange and navy and the cabin was clean. Headrest covers had ads for “meal deals” – £6 for a sandwich, soft drinks and Pringles.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? For short hops such as this, and on flights you can pretty much be sure won’t be full, there is no point paying £8 each way for Speedy Boarding, which means you get first pick of the seats. I am of the opinion that you should just take a gamble – if you are flying Easyjet you know it’s not going to be the most comfortable experience, so just get the cheapest ticket you can and put up with it.

If you do have a choice of seats and want extra legroom, opt for an exit row seat but you will have to be prepared to be responsible for opening the door in an emergency. Avoid middle seats B and E. If you like a window seat with an unobscured view, avoid rows nine to 17. Sitting at the back can be noisier and bumpier though, and if disembarkation is from the front, it is better to try and sit in rows one to seven.

THE FLIGHT Everyone was on board by 1305 and we started taxiing at 1310. The captain came on to explain that the aircraft came in 30 minutes late, which is why were delayed, and said he would do his best to make up some of the time. He also introduced us to his “wonderful” crew. Take-off was at 1315. Once at cruising level, crew announced that food and drink was available for sale, including Starbucks coffee, hot tomato, basil and mozzarella/ham and cheese melts, and chicken salad subs.

ARRIVAL The flight only took an hour and we obviously made up some time as we landed only 15 minutes late at 1510. Once at the stand, the captain came on again to warn passengers to watch their heads when exiting from the front of the plane on the left, as the overhead bins protrude some distance. “If you are not careful you will hit your head and it will hurt,” he said.

Once on the ground and through immigration, which only took about ten minutes, there was a short wait for my suitcase. Trains on the lower level of the terminal connect the airport to Cologne, which was where I was heading, and single tickets costs €2.40 from the machine. The journey takes about 15 minutes.

VERDICT In spite of a short delay and the rather shambolic queues for check-in and boarding, this was a perfectly good short-haul budget flight. No frills, but the captain was friendly and the crew welcoming.

PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight in April from London Gatwick to Cologne/Bonn started from £50.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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