Easyjet A320 economy class

CHECK-IN

I checked in for my Easyjet flight from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik about a week before my departure on a Saturday morning at 0730. I changed my pre-assigned seats on both the outbound and return flights (this was at a fee of about £6 in total) and printed my boarding passes.

The night before my flight I stayed at the Bloc hotel in Gatwick’s South Terminal, located right next to security. I checked out at 0600 and took the lift down to Easyjet bag-drop in Zone C. (One piece of check luggage with Easyjet costs £36.)

There was an enourmous long snaking queue, which I estimated would take me at least 45 minutes to get to the front of, so I asked a member of staff if there was anything they could do and they said I should listen out for someone who would call people to the front for upcoming flights.

Sure enough, after about 15 minutes, passengers for Dubrovnik were instructed to come forward. I swiftly handed over my suitcase and then headed back up one level to go through security, passing through the electronic gates that automatically open after you scan your boarding pass.

Screens above indicate the queuing time for security lanes. I waited for less that two minutes (laptops and liquids out as usual) and was airside by 0625. After nipping upstairs to get some breakfast from Apostrophe, I noticed my flight was boarding at 0645, whereby I headed for Gate 24, about six minutes away.

BOARDING

There were already people lining up when I arrived, with a shorter, separate queue for those with Speedy Boarding. Despite not having this, I was through within five minutes, after having my documents checked, and joined another queue on the airbridge as we waited to board the plane.

THE SEAT

Upon entering, I immediately noticed the plane was configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) with new slimline Recaro economy seating in navy and orange. The modern-looking product on this A320 is upholstered in a stylish denim fabric with orange mesh detailing down the sides and across the seat-back pockets. It also has small, neat armrests that allow for more width, and because of the slender dimensions, seem to create more legroom. (The knees of the tall guy sitting across from me didn’t quite touch the seat in front.)

I was in my seat (14F) by 0710. This was behind emergency exit rows 12 and 13, and was directly over the wing. Seat-backs have coat hooks and sturdy, grey-blue tray tables that fold down and slide forward. Mine was very supportive for typing on a laptop and didn’t bounce. There also seemed to be more space under the seats for stowing your bags as the aluminium seat frames are so thin.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

You have to pay for allocated seating with Easyjet – Extra Legroom rows on the A320 are one, 12 and 13. Upfront seats are two to six, effectively allowing for Speedy Boarding. Avoid middle seats B and E. Passengers will most likely disembark from the front so the near the nose you are, the less time you will have to wait to get off on arrival.

THE FLIGHT

There was a welcome from the captain at 0725 and, once everyone had settled, a safety demonstration was conducted. The plane pushed back at 0735, trundling to the runway and taking off a little late at 0750. Hand-held devices could be used during take-off, providing they were in flight mode, but laptops could not.

Once airborne, at 0800, a member of crew announced that the food and drink service would begin shortly, and informed passengers of the newspapers (The Times) and magazines (Glamour and Hello) available for sale. Two trollies, one from the back and one from the front, began their rounds at 0810 after reading material had been distributed.

As I had already had a coffee and something to eat I didn’t order anything but options from the Boutique and Bistro pamphlet included a meal deal of a coffee (the Little Coffee Bag Co), sandwich and free Twix for £6.90, pastries for £1.80, muffins for £2.50 and porridge for £1.80.

The crew were efficient but not especially friendly. The washroom could have smelt cleaner, although the rest of cabin was immaculate. Cruising over the Dolomites at 0912, the captain came on to provide an update, saying we were making good progress and were expecting to land ten minutes ahead of schedule at 1100 local time. He also gave a weather update, saying it would be 26 degrees and sunny in Dubrovnik.

ARRIVAL

We landed at the anticipated time, and disembarked efficiently from the front of the plane, down a flight of steps to an awaiting shuttle bus. Once everyone was on board, we drove to the terminal, whereby we got off and were quickly through immigration to baggage reclaim, where my bag appeared after a minute or two.

VERDICT

The new Recaro seats are an improvement – they offer a little extra space and look smart. Despite being thinner, they are still comfortable.


FACT FILE

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
  • SEAT WIDTH 17.3in/43.9cm
  • SEAT RECLINE 15 degrees
  • 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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twelve − three =

Easyjet A320 economy class

CHECK-IN I checked in online for my return flight (EZY8720, 1955-2235) and printed my boarding pass the day before my oubound flight to Lisbon, so all I had to worry about was dropping my case off when I got to the airport. I had also pre-selected and paid for an assigned seat (click here to read my review).

I arrived at Lisbon airport’s Terminal 2 at 1800, after a 20-minute drive from the city centre. Easyjet had three check-in desks open (220, 221 and 222) and there were only a couple of people ahead of me so it only took a few minutes for my suitcase to be processed. Security was nearby and very quick, with liquids and laptops out as usual, and coats and scarves off. There wasn’t much in the way of facilities on the other side – just a duty-free, a couple of shops and a McDonald’s.

BOARDING The boarding process began at 1900, with passport control first. I was at the back of a long snake of people and so didn’t enter the waiting hall on the other side until 1925. There was then another ten-minute wait to cross the tarmac on foot and board from the back of the plane (or the front) up flights of steps. The A320 aircraft was very busy and I found that someone was sitting in my seat. She offered for me to sit in her seat but I politely informed her that I had paid for my seat and would like to sit in it, so she moved. It was very chaotic and there wasn’t much space in the overhead bins for belongings.

THE SEAT As on the outbound flight, I was in middle seat 25B, which was pretty cramped and very near the back of the aircraft (there were 31 rows), which is rarely a good thing as generally means you have to wait ages to disembark from the front. The upholstery and tray table was clean, though, and I just about had enough space to work on my Macbook Air.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? With Easyjet’s allocated seating system, if you are travelling alone and don’t have a strong preference for seat type, you might not consider it worth reserving one at all, but in reality it does make a difference to your journey. A tall business traveller may feel it is worth paying an extra €30 for a return flight in row one, with the extra space and Speedy Boarding, but for anyone on a budget, this is a little harder to justify.

Paying €10 each way for an exit row seat is probably a good bet if you like the extra legroom, and in reality, €6-€8 return for a guaranteed window or aisle seat is cheap enough for most people to go for. If you want to reserve the best yet cheapest seats, check-in online as early as possible and go for seats in row seven (or eight, nine, ten, 11).

THE FLIGHT The plane pushed back at 1955, at which point there was also a safety demonstration. The pilot also came on to inform us that the estimated fight time would be two hours ten minutes, and that the weather would be wet and windy on arrival in London, with a temperature of 12 degrees. The cabin lights were then dimmed and take-off was at 2005. Once cruising, the lights came back on and the refreshment service began, with announcements about the snacks and meal deals on offer.

Later on in the flight, crew came around offering scratch cards with a possible £10,000 prize (winnings of up to £20 would be given on board), as well as perfume from the duty-free range (including “favourites” from Calvin Klein and Lady Gaga) and a collection for UNISEF at 2140. I didn’t ask for anything from the “Boutique and Bistro” offering so didn’t really interact with crew, but they seemed to be organised and friendly.

There were a few noisy children and babies in the cabin, which made the journey a bit tiresome at times. There were two rubbish collections but they barely gave anyone the chance to put anything in the bags as they went by so quickly. The seatbelt signs went back on at 2155 in preparation for landing, and there was a final litter collection.

ARRIVAL Landing was early, at about 2215, and disembarkation from the front took about ten minutes. Immigration and baggage reclaim was very quick though.

VERDICT A punctual flight, which was a relief on this Sunday night, but the journey wasn’t the most comfortable being stuck in a middle seat and surrounded by noisy babies.

FACT FILE:

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 midweek flight in March from London Gatwick to Lisbon started from £131.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan

 


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3 − 1 =

Easyjet A320 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at London Gatwick via a train from Victoria at 1417, and took the shuttle transfer to the North Terminal, where my Easyjet flight (EZY8719) to Lisbon was departing from, arriving at 1428. I had checked in online the day before and paid extra to select a seat. (The airline introduced its new assigned seating system across all flights in November 2012)

On this flight, it cost €15 to sit in row one (extra legroom and Speedy Boarding), €10 for Up Front seats and Speedy Boarding in row two to six and exit row seats 12 and 13, and €4 for row seven to 11, and 14 to 31. I was planning to book my companion in the first available window seat in a €4 row (nearest the front for quicker disembarkation) and found that only rows 25 and behind were available. As I had my own booking open I decided to reserve my seat first, and then theirs, so went for middle seat 25B.

However, by the time I had completed the process (less than two minutes – paying €8 in total for the outbound and return sectors), logged out, and then logged into the other booking, I found that 25A had been taken by someone else. The price had also gone down to €3 for window seats. I was annoyed as this meant that I had to book aisle seat 25C if we wanted to sit next to each other, whereas there were still plenty of free window seats behind. There was no way of changing the original seat selection, so we were landed with 25B and 25C for the sum of €14.

Easyjet check-in Zone G was busy, with a very long line of people, but fortunately we only had one bag to check-in on the opposite side at the dedicated to bag-drop desks. There were still about 30 people ahead of us and only one member of staff for the first ten minutes, so it took a while to be processed. Fortunately, a couple of other members of staff appeared and the process speeded up, meaning we heading for security at 1450. Liquids went into clear plastic bags, as usual, boarding passes and passports checked, and laptops and coats off. I was also given a pat down and asked to put my shoes through a separate X-ray scanner. We were airside by 1500.

BOARDING When I noticed that the gate (109) was open at 1545, we headed down there shortly after. It was a long walk, being located at the far end of the terminal, up and down various corridors and escalators, so we didn’t get there until about 1600. There was a long line, which I thought odd considering that everyone had allocated seating, but when boarding began, we found that perhaps this had been sensible as the flight was full (overbooked in fact, by four passengers I was told), and just as we got to the gate it was announced that the remaining 38 passengers would have to have their baggage checked in to the hold. This was particularly annoying for anyone with hand-baggage only. There was a bit of a delay on the airbridge as people slowly filtered on board and found their way to their seats.

THE SEAT I was in middle seat 25B, which was pretty cramped and very near the back of the aircraft, which is never great as this generally means you have to wait ages to disembark from the front – although on this flight passengers were also disembarked from the back. The upholstery and tray table was clean, though, and I just about had enough space to work on my Macbook Air. The aircarft was a 31-row A320.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? With Easyjet’s allocated seating system, if you are travelling alone and don’t have a strong preference for seat type, you might not consider it worth reserving one at all, but in reality it does make a difference to your journey. A tall business traveller may feel it is worth paying an extra €30 for a return flight in row one, with the extra space and Speedy Boarding, but for anyone on a budget, this is a little harder to justify.

Paying €10 each way for an exit row seat is probably a good bet if you like the extra legroom, and in reality, €6-€8 return for a guaranteed window or aisle seat is cheap enough for most people to go for. If you want to reserve the best yet cheapest seats, check-in online as early as possible and go for seats in row seven (or eight, nine, ten, 11) or nearest the rear so you can disembark quicker (assuming this takes place from both the front and back of the plane on arrival, as it did for me).

THE FLIGHT The plane pushed back from the gate at 1630, at the same time as the safety demonstration was taking place, and the pilot came on to inform passengers of the estimated flight time (2.5 hours) and the weather in Lisbon (a little windy but about 16 degrees).  As it was an evening flight, the lights were dimmed, and take-off was about ten minutes after, with a smooth ascent over snowy countryside.

The lights came back on at 1647, and a refreshment service began not long after, at about 1700. I didn’t order anything but the Boutique and Bistro booklet listed various meal deals such as a free Twix with any hot drink and sandwich (€8 in total) and a free soft drink with Boxerchips and hot snack for €7.50. Headrest covers advertised a saving of €1.50 on two cans of Stella.

ARRIVAL The plane landed early in Lisbon at 1900, and there was a short taxi until the plane came to a standstill. There was then a ten-minute delay until disembarkation began from both the front and back of the plane via steps to an awaiting shuttle bus. Once it was full, at about 1920, it drove the terminal and everyone piled out. There was a long queue for passport control and we were finally in baggage reclaim at 1935, where there was an eight-minute wait for our suitcases to appear.

VERDICT I didn’t have a great first experience of Easyjet’s allocated seating reservation system as I was dealing with two separate bookings, but in general, for solo travellers or those on the same booking it shouldn’t be an issue. What’s more, if it wasn’t for the fact no one seemed able to break the habit of queuing at the gate, allocated seating should make the whole process far less stressful as there is no need to race to sit where you want (presuming you hadn’t paid for Speedy Boarding). The flight landed earlier than schedule, which was a bonus.

FACT FILE:

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 midweek flight in March from London Gatwick to Lisbon started from £131.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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1 × 3 =

Easyjet A320 economy class

CHECK-IN My Easyjet flight (EZY8576) to London Gatwick was due to depart at 1710 from Barcelona-El Prat’s Terminal 2. As I was travelling with hand-luggage only and had checked in online before my outward journey and printed my boarding pass, I arrived at 1600 and went straight to security, which was located upstairs. The process was quick (liquids and laptops out, watches off) and I was airside by 1610. I took a seat at the Cerveceria café overlooking the tarmac for 20 minutes and had a drink.

BOARDING At 1630 I walked to Zone MO, through passport control, which was empty. My gate opened a couple of minutes later so I was first in line (there was also a separate channel for those who had paid for Speedy Boarding). The process began on time at 1640, but while waiting there was a bit of a kerfuffle when a tiny mouse ran across the floor and over people’s bags and shoes.

Passengers were directed on to an awaiting shuttle bus, with Speedy Boarders kept in a separate pen at the front so they could get off before anyone else. There was a bit of a delay while everyone crammed on but it departed at 1655, only to then sit on the tarmac beside the plane for another ten minutes. The bus doors opened at 1706, with travellers hurrying to access the A320 via steps to the front and back.

THE SEAT I chose seat 6F by the window, and obeyed crew instructions not to put my seatbelt on as the plane was being refuelled. Legroom wasn’t too bad (30 inches/76cm – the same on all Easyjet flights) – at least for someone of my height (five-foot two-inches).

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 sit wherever they can when they get on – unless they pay extra for Speedy Boarding. 

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? There were 31 rows of seating on the A320. If you want to take your pick of seats, get to the gate as early as you can 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 (12 and 13) seats are also a good bet.

THE FLIGHT The aircraft pushed back at 1720 and take-off was ten minutes later. A refreshment service began at 1805, after a bumpy start to the journey, with scratch cards offered at 1830. The crew were polite and friendly on this two-hour trip.

ARRIVAL Landing was at 1930 (1830 local time in the UK). Passengers were disembarked promptly and herded on to another shuttle bus that took us to a terminal. I walked briskly to immigration to avoid the worst of the queuing and, fortunately, found plenty of immigration staff on hand and biometric gates open so was through within five minutes, at 1900.

VERDICT A very easy short-haul flight – a minor delay but nothing to cause any inconvenience. A good-value option.

FACT FILE:

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 from London Gatwick to Barcelona with Easyjet in October ranged between £66 and £218.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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3 + 5 =

Easyjet A320 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at London Gatwick a little later than intended, at 1010, for my flight (EZY8573) to Barcelona at 1120. I had checked in online the day before, though, and printed my boarding passes for both the outbound and return services so the fact that the gate closed at 1050 didn’t concern me too much. I was also travelling with one piece of hand-baggage only (the airline is very strict about this) so all I needed to do was catch the transfer shuttle to the North Terminal, take the escalators up to departures (check-in Zone G was assigned to Easyjet) and walk straight to security.

This took no more than about six minutes from the South Terminal train station. I had already put my bottles of liquid in a clear plastic bag so didn’t need to pause to do this, and as there were only half a dozen people ahead of me in the queue, it only took a few minutes to get through. I was airside by 1030.

BOARDING My gate (109) opened at 1025, and was a good ten-minute walk away – up and down escalators and along endless corridors to the far end of the terminal. There was already a long line when I got there at 1040 but boarding had not yet started. Those passengers who had paid for Speedy Boarding or had Easyjet Plus cards were called first, with everyone else boarding at 1100.

THE SEAT I was on the aircraft by 1110 and chose seat 19F, by the window just behind the wing. The grey and orange fabric on the seat was a little worn but legroom wasn’t too bad (30 inches/76cm – the same on all Easyjet flights) – at least for someone of my height (five-foot two-inches).

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 sit wherever they can when they get on – unless they pay extra for Speedy Boarding.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? There were 31 rows of seating on this A320. 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 you can 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 are also a good bet.

THE FLIGHT The plane pushed back on time at 1120, with take-off at 1135, shortly after the safety demonstration. Drinks, snacks and duty-free items were wheeled up and down the aisle once cruising, at about 1200. Crew were pleasant and the one-hour 35-minute journey went quickly.  

ARRIVAL The aircraft landed at 1310 (1410 local time) and disembarkation at Barcelona-El Prat was swift. Passengers were taken by shuttle bus to the terminal building, 30 seconds away, where there was then a 15-minute wait to get through immigration. The city centre is a 20-30-minute drive away (about €35 in a taxi).

VERDICT A very good short hop – fuss-free, no-frills travel. No complaints.

FACT FILE:

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 from London Gatwick to Barcelona with Easyjet in October ranged between £66 and £218.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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5 − two =

Easyjet A320 economy class

CHECK-IN My flight from Turkey’s Bodrum International airport was set to depart at 1350, arriving into London at 1600 UK time. After a 40-minute taxi ride from Turkbuku near Bodrum, my friend and I arrived at the terminal at 1150 where there was a light security check before heading for the check-in area. It had not been possible to check-in online for flights departing from this airport, so even though we were travelling with just one piece of hand-luggage each, we still had to queue up to get our boarding passes.

Desks 35 and 36 had been assigned for check-in and there was a 20-minute wait until we could be processed. At 1215 we went through passport control, which was nearby. As there was no queue we were promptly through to the second security channel – liquids and laptops came out but it was very quick. The airside departures lounge was airy and spacious with plenty of seating, a duty-free store and a couple of cafés and bars.

BOARDING Boarding started at 1325 but people started forming a line as soon as the gate opened at 1305. We joined them soon after at 1310, and were crossing the airbridge after having our boarding passes checked, at 1333. We chose seats 17E and 17F, over the wing as it was the nearest available pair of seats to the front with a window. The plane was pretty full but the process of boarding was efficient, with those with young children or Speedy Boarding called first.

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 sit wherever they can when they get on – unless they pay extra for Speedy Boarding. Good-size tray tables folded down from the seat-backs in front, and upholstery was the usual grey and orange.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? There were 31 rows of seating on the A320. 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 you can 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 (12 and 13) seats are also a good bet.

THE FLIGHT The captain welcomed passengers once everyone was seated, at 1345, and the plane pushed back a minute or two after. The crew performed the safety demonstration as the plane taxied to the runway, with take-off at 1355. The estimated journey time was three hours, 40 minutes. Drinks, snacks, duty-free items and scratch cards were brought around once cruising, but I just flicked through a copy of Easyjet’s Traveller magazine and then watched an episode of Mad Men on my laptop to pass the time.

ARRIVAL The plane landed at 1530 local time, 30 minutes ahead of schedule, which was a bonus. It took just five minutes to taxi to the stand and disembarkation and immigration were quick.

VERDICT A good flight that, for once, arrived early. I also appreciated the civilised flight timings that meant I didn’t have to get up early in the morning and still had the evening ahead of me upon arrival.

FACT FILE:

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 from London Gatwick to Bodrum with Easyjet in October ranged between £167 and £289.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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sixteen + five =

Easyjet A320 economy class

CHECK-IN My friend and I arrived at London Gatwick airport at 1400, taking the transfer shuttle to the North Terminal, where our Easyjet flight to Bodrum, Turkey, was departing from at 1530. Zone G was assigned for check-in, but as we had already checked in online and printed our boarding pass, and were carrying one piece of hand-luggage only each, we didn’t have to drop any bags off and were able to go straight to security. Our boarding passes were scanned and we were then directed to the nearest screening channel where there was a short queue ahead of us. Liquids and laptops came out, as usual. We were airside in record time, by 1412.

BOARDING The gate (110) was due to open at 1435 so we had time to do a bit of last-minute shopping, and then grab a coffee when the opening time changed to 1445. We headed down there immediately as didn’t want to be at the end of a long line of people and get a bad seat. (Easyjet does not generally offer assigned seating.) The gate was at the far end of the terminal, and although signs said all gates were ten minutes walk away, this seemed a little longer.

We got there at 1500 and managed to get near the front of a rapidly forming line of holidaymakers, but there was then a 45-minute delay due to a technical hitch on the plane. After having to stand for ages to keep our place in the queue, boarding via an airbridge finally started at 1545, with families with young children and those who had paid for Speedy Boarding called first.

THE SEAT We were on board by 1555 and chose seat 8A and 8B near the front. 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 when they get on – unless they pay extra for Speedy Boarding. 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 31 rows of seating on this A320, 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 you can 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 (12 and 13) seats are also a good bet.

THE FLIGHT At 1605, the captain came on to announce his apologies for the late departure of the flight, which was estimated to take three hours, 30 minutes. The safety demo was conducted at the same tie as the plane pushed back, at 1610, with take-off about seven minutes later. A refreshment service began once at cruising altitude, at 1635. The back of the headrest covers advertised Stella 4 per cent for £3.60 a can.

Halfway through the flight we overheard a couple behind us telling a stewardess their baby was ill and that we might need to do an emergency landing. The crew then made an announcement to ask if there were any doctors or nurses on board, and one girl stepped forward to take a look at the baby. I could hear her quietly asking questions about the child and it was decided that whatever was wrong, it wasn’t severe and could wait until landing in Bodrum.

ARRIVAL The original arrival time was for 2130 local time in Turkey, and even though we were late departing, we made up most of that time en route, with touch down at 2140 (1940 UK time). Passengers disembarked via an airbridge and then made the five-minute walk to immigration. There was a separate queue for visas, but we soon discovered that they could only be paid for in cash and neither of us had any on us – be it pounds or Turkish lire. (Not very organised, admittedly.)

“No problem”, I said, thinking there would be a nearby ATM but it wasn’t quite so simple. After asking a member of security staff where the nearest one was, he said it was outside the airport in the other terminal, so I had to sit in a waiting room with a guard (who had taken our passports), two other tourists, and our luggage while my she went to get money.

Finally, 25 minutes later, she came back with the cash but stressed out because the ATM was so difficult to find and because as she had left the airport building and had no identification, then had convince another officer to let her back in. Not a very good system but judging how laissez faire the staff were about it, it must happen all the time. At about 2230 we went back to the visa desk, paid for the stamp and went through immigration, which was now empty. Bodrum was a 50-minute taxi ride away.

VERDICT A rather shambolic journey – first a late departure due to a technical hitch, then a baby ill on the plane and a possible emergency landing, and finally the problem with getting visas on arrival. The flight itself was fine, though, and the crew professional, caring (towards the parents of the baby), and friendly.

FACT FILE:

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 from London Gatwick to Bodrum with Easyjet in October ranged between £167 and £289.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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11 + ten =

Easyjet A320 economy class

CHECK-IN I arrived at London Gatwick by train from Victoria (31 minutes with Southern) at 1617 and took the stairs up to the departure level. Most Easyjet flights leave from the North Terminal except those with codes starting with a five or seven, which depart from the South Terminal. As my flight code was 8547, I jumped on the shuttle to the North Terminal, took the lift to departures, and turned right for Easyjet check-in zones G and H.

Zone G had plenty of counters open but a long queue (there were also three Speedy Boarding desks available), while Zone H was assigned for bag-drop only. As I had checked in online and printed my boarding pass the day before, I waited here (for ten minutes) until my case had been tagged and weighed.

Security was less than a minute’s walk away. I grabbed a clear plastic bag en route for my liquids and went straight through – boarding passes but not passports were checked. There were about a dozen people ahead of me at the X-ray machines so it took another ten minutes to be processed. It was relatively hassle free though with laptops taken out and jackets removed as normal. I was airside by 1650, with plenty of time until my flight at 1825.

BOARDING My gate (107) was due to open at 1730. It was a good ten-minute walk along travelators and down escalators to get there, and when I arrived at 1740 people had already formed a line. Boarding started at 1750, with boarding passes and passports checked and access to the plane provided by an airbridge.

Most passengers were on the aircraft by 1820 and, apparently, the flight was full, but when the doors closed at 1825 no one had taken the seat next to me, which was a real bonus. The crew seemed friendly, and before doing the safety demo lifted up a sandwich and asked if anyone had dropped it. No one claimed 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 (including those on this service) have to get whatever they can when they get on – unless they pay extra for Speedy Boarding.

Despite not having Speedy Boarding, I was still near the front of the queue so managed to get window seat 3F, which would allow me to disembark quickly on arrival. 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 are 30 rows of seating on the A320, 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 you can 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 are also a good bet.

THE FLIGHT The aircraft pushed back at 1830, at which point crew did the safety demo. Take-off was 15 minutes later at 1845. Behind me, a woman started crying because she was scared but once cruising, a sensitive member of crew took the time to calm her down and reassure her.

The refreshment service began at 1900, with snacks including a “cold meat feast wedge” announced. The Boutique and Bistro seat-back magazine listed items such as Heinz tomato soup for £2.50, muffins for £2.10, Pringles for £1.75 and Nastro Azzuro beer (330ml) for £3.60.

ARRIVAL The estimated arrival time in Prague was 2010 (2110 local time in Czech), and we started the descent at 1950, landing exactly on time after a one-hour 45 –minute journey. There was a ten-minute taxi to the stand, after which disembarkation was very quick.

Immigration was three minutes away on foot and no one was ahead of me at the e-gates so I went straight through after scanning my biometric passport. I was in baggage reclaim by 2125, but the advantage I had was lost because of not being able to travel with hand-baggage only – my case didn’t come out until 2145.

VERDICT A punctual short-haul service with professional crew. I was pleased to get a window seat near the front despite not having Speedy Boarding and all in all considered the journey to be stress-free. A good flight.

FACT FILE:

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 Gatwick to Prague in October ranged between £69 and £188.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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Easyjet A320 economy class

BACKGROUND My return flight to Heathrow with Egyptair (click here to read about the outbound journey) was cancelled due to snow in London, and as there are only a few services a week to the capital with this carrier and I needed to be back in the office as soon as possible, I rebooked with Easyjet (EZY8854, 1905-2255) to London Gatwick for the same evening, as it appeared to be operating without a problem. Of course, this was expensive, as it was last minute – the one-way ticket cost €273.

CHECK-IN I arrived at the international terminal, ten minutes’ drive from the Grand Rotana hotel where I was staying (click here for a review) at 1700. There was no online check-in available so I just had to print out my booking confirmation. There was a security check on immediate entry to the airport building, and Easyjet’s check-in area was to the left (desks seven, eight and nine).

There was a group of about a dozen holidaymakers ahead of me that took an age to process, so it wasn’t until 1730 that I was checked in and was issued with my boarding pass. I was also given a departure card to complete and hand in on my way through passport control into the airside departures area. There was a ten-minute wait to do this and, at 1740, I took a seat near Gate 3, which was where my flight was due to board from, and read my book.

BOARDING At 1830 I noticed my flight was delayed 55 minutes, but there was no announcement or apology. As I was hungry by this point I nipped to a nearby pizza kiosk for a slice and a bottle of water. Even though there was no announcement of the flight being ready for boarding, at 1900, a long queue quickly started forming at Gate 3, so I joined it. After a 20-minute wait, I was on the second of two shuttle buses that took passengers to the aircraft a short distance away. We then boarded via steps at both the front and back.

As I was in the second bus load of passengers, and one of the last people off it, I was worried I might not get a window seat, but I headed for the steps to the back end and was lucky enough to nab one in row 28, just in front of the last row (29). It felt very cramped and the plane was full, but I was pleased to be on it heading home nevertheless.

THE SEAT The seats are configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) on this A320 and have a fairly tight pitch (29in/74cm). Passengers in exit row seats have a bit more room though, but those who pay the extra (£23 one-way for this sector) for Speedy Boarding usually get these first.

Headrest covers advertised Easyjet’s mobile iPhone app – “So you can check your flight details and get up-to-the-minute departure and arrival times”. The tray table was of a decent size and quite sturdy, allowing me to work on my Macbook Air. However, elbowroom was severely restricted so typing was awkward. Seats were upholstered in Easyjet’s usual grey/blue/orange patterned fabric, and were clean enough. 

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Avoid middle seats B and E if you are travelling solo as they feel very claustrophobic with one stranger either side of you. Exit row seats are preferable if you can get them, 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 seats (C or D). Avoid aisle seats 26-29 as people queue for the washrooms by these.

In March, the airline started trialling allocated seating (click here to read our report) on routes from London Luton to Sharm el-Sheikh (plus Malaga, Alicante and Istanbul, and from Glasgow to Alicante). There are three bands of pricing, dependent on the seat selected.

  • £12 for extra legroom (front row and exit seats)
  • £8 for up front seats (rows 2-5 on the A319 or 2-6 on an A320)
  • £3 for any other seat

THE FLIGHT The crew on this flight turned out to be jokers, welcoming everyone to the “Andy and Mandy party flight!” Apparently it was “Andy Pandy’s last day before he is joining the circus to be a tightrope walker so if we’re lucky, he might show us some of his moves throughout the flight.” Andy and Mandy then giggled their way through the safety demonstration before starting a drinks service at 2015. (Take-off was just over an hour late at 2015.)

I bought a gin and tonic for £5.40, and Andy Pandy handed it over with a smile, asking if I wanted ice and slice in it as well. There was a second round of drinks, interspersed with requests for sweets and cakes from the passengers for Andy Pandy. Hot bacon baguettes, ham and cheese toasties and other light bites, such as the “Feel Good Snack Box” (for if you’re on a diet) and the “Yumble Bumble Snack Pack” (if you’re not) for £4 each.

There was then the option of buying items from the duty-free trolley, ten Samsung media players for rental (£7.50) and scratch cards – Mandy announced a competition to see if the girls could buy more of these cards than the boys, and the told everyone to ring their bells repeatedly if they wanted a media player (which they did, with gusto).

There were only two washrooms on the plane, both at the back, which was unfortunate for those in the aisle seats in this section as people were standing next to them for most of the journey. Rubbish was collected by Andy at 2230. First Capital Connect and Gatwick Express train tickets were also brought round.

ARRIVAL Landing was late, at about midnight, and disembarkation took a long time, as there were problems with the number of shuttle buses available. As passengers were being offloaded from the front only, I was one of the last people off the plane and into the terminal at about 0050. Fortunately, I had hand-luggage only and immigration was quick so I was landside just after 0100.

VERDICT This flight was more than an hour late departing and the whole experience, from boarding to disembarkation, was chaotic and exhausting. The endless, hyperactive banter from the cabin crew, and the constant selling, meant it was impossible to relax and, at times (during the safety demo), I was concerned that they were being less than professional. However, for a lot of the passengers, I think they found it genuinely entertaining. For me, the only positive about this flight was that it actually got me home safely during a period of severe winter disruption, which was the most important thing.

FACT FILE:

CONFIGURATION 3-3

SEAT PITCH 29in/74cm

SEAT WIDTH 17.5in/44.5cm

SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return flight from London to Sharm el Sheikh in June started from £321.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Jenny Southan


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Easyjet A320 Economy class

BACKGROUND Easyjet flies from Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) to London Gatwick Airport (LGW) once daily. My flight, EZY5428, leaves DBV at 2020 and arrives at 2210 local time. The official flight time is two hours and 25 minutes. EZY5428 is a brand new Airbus A320-214 (registered G-EZTX in April this year). DBV is approximately 25 minutes by car from the city centre, and I had speedy boarding.

CHECK-IN I was able to use Easyjet’s online check-in facility for the outbound LGW-DBV flight. Unfortunately this facility was not available on the return leg, from DBV to LGW, so I had to ensure I arrived a little earlier to check in the old-fashioned way. When I got to the airport however, just before 1900, the check-in zone was all but deserted which was fortunate as there was no dedicated speedy boarding desk. Easyjet has desks seven to nine, but only one was manned at the time. The lady behind the desk was extremely efficient, checking me and my suitcase in quickly with the minimum of fuss. The lack of all the usual questions reflects a general relaxed approach to security at Dubrovnik.

DBV is a small but modern airport with no more than nine departure gates. As such, security was a short walk from the check-in desks and it would have been hard to get lost. There were also a few souvenir shops on the way. At security the most you’ll have to do is take off your jacket and take out your laptop, again, they were fairly relaxed about shoes and belts. For some reason they have extremely small trays.

I was airside by 1920, having walked straight into the main duty-free shopping area which was very busy. Up two flights of stairs there was a business class lounge, but that entire level was closed off, presumably because it wasn’t yet ready.

BOARDING Being an Easyjet flight I was well aware that there can be a bit of a queue kerfuffle between speedy boarding vs. regular ticket holders. As such I installed myself right by the desk of Gate 4 almost as soon as I was airside, as the waiting areas were already packed. Here I stayed and read my book, while a queue slowly formed behind me. When the gate was eventually opened at 1950, as expected, I should have been the first speedy boarder let through. This was not the case. Two families complete with kids and babies in prams chose the very last minute to surreptitiously cut me off, slipping into the space I had left between me and the desk. Still, it mattered not as there was a bus waiting to take us to the plane. The first lot to be taken to the aircraft were the speedy boarders, and my tip here would be to wait by the bus doors in order to be first off. I was first up the stairs and onto the plane, so went for a seat in the first row.

THE SEAT I chose seat 1A as I like a window seat, though looking out of the window is getting less interesting these days. The width was fine and by no means cramped, and the legroom was effectively unlimited.

The middle seat was unoccupied, and the cabin crew rather helpfully unfolded the tray table. It was almost British Airways Club Europe.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? In the past I’ve said 1C, but I would revise that to 1A. Being a window seat, there’s no chance of being bashed on the elbow by anyone or anything going up and down the aisle. There’s no issue with regards to getting out to the toilet, there’s no row in front so no need to disturb your neighbours. 1C is slightly better when you come to leave the plane, as you can get to your bags in the overhead locker a bit quicker. 1D, 1E and 1F aren’t nearly as good, there’s a bulkhead and galley in front of these. I wouldn’t recommend.

Otherwise, rows ten and 11 are emergency exit rows.

THE FLIGHT I have to say that the cabin crew were excellent on this flight. I’ve been on a few Easyjet flights this month and they’ve all been characterised by friendly, amiable and above all human cabin crew. While boarding, there was a mist coming from the air conditioning as the cold air mixed with the warm Croatian air coming through the open exits. The lead member of cabin crew put people’s minds to rest and managed to inject a little humour into the situation, describing it as “Easyjet’s nightclub effect”.

Anyway, we took off at 2030, a little late but nothing major. About ten minutes in the drinks and snacks service was attempted, but severe turbulence hampered efforts and it was postponed for 15 minutes, during which time even the crew strapped themselves in. When service eventually resumed, I bought what was clearly labelled as a croquet monsieur, but described by the crew as a “cheese and ham toasty”. Does this reflect on the perceived culinary knowledge of the average Easyjet passenger? Either way, and despite my indignation at having to pay £4, it was very tasty indeed. I considered buying another.

Other snacks included a range of sandwiches. And here I will point out Easyjet’s superiority over, say, British Airways. With Easyjet you can pay £4 for a choice of sandwiches. With BA, you get a small bag of crisps for free on a comparable flight, but no option to have anything else. I would gladly pay a little less and endure the absence of seat allocation, and spend the money saved on a decent warm sandwich. This is slightly unfair however given the free drinks available on BA flights.

ARRIVAL We landed at 2200 local time, ten minutes early. I was first off the plane thanks to my front row position, and I was soon walking down the airbridge to what I thought was LGW South terminal. We were directed down some stairs, and I soon found myself on the tarmac outside the plane, where a bus was waiting. So in this case it was both an airbridge and a bus. The drive to the terminal took about five minutes including a wait while an Airbus passed by.

As I’d stayed by the bus doors, I was the first off. At the luggage carousels, it was about five minutes before the belt number was called. My suitcase was not long in coming, and I was through to the arrivals hall within 20 minutes of landing.

VERDICT Great service and a surprisingly tasty toasted sandwich. As with Easyjet though, it’s all a bit of a mad scramble and you have to stay one step ahead. Fun for the frequent traveller, in an odd kind of way.

PRICE A mid-week return in July from Easyjet’s website starts at £149.

CONTACT easyjet.com

Andrew Gough


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