Yesterday I flew on EasyJet for the first time in at least four years. I needed to get to a resort on the Costa Del Sol, and although Malaga airport offered a coach transfer, it was 2 hours, as opposed to the 20-minute taxi from Gibraltar. Having previously reviewed a British Airways A320 flight to Gatwick, I thought it was time to see how the easyJet A320 compared.
Booking the return flight to Gibraltar was rather painless. Indeed, the easyJet website even offered me the option to fly back to Luton for a lower fare. The only criticism of the booking process was the seemingly endless number of add-ons offered. However, this is to be expected with a low-cost carrier.
In total, I paid £132.90 for the return flight for two. This price included a £5.50 food voucher (more on this later). I total this equated to merely £25.98 for the outbound journey, or £12.99 each. The cost of the booking shot up due to Air Passenger Duty (£13pp) and booking fees (£8pp). Baggage for the return ticket also cost the majority of the fare. Indeed, one 23kg bag cost us £42.98 (£21.49 per leg). Fortunately easyJet, unlike other low-cost carriers, allows passengers to take an item of luggage onboard the aircraft.
In addition to the booking, in a separate transaction, I purchased the rights to use easyJet’s Handsfree service. Primarily, for £6 I was provided with a tote bag at check-in and checked my hand luggage into the hold. easyJet advertised that ALL of my bags would be tagged as a priority to be first on the belt at the destination.
Booking Score: ✈︎✈︎✈︎
Overall, Check-in was a bit of a disaster. I checked in online and printed my boarding pass. I was later instructed to reprint these due to an aircraft substitution. I was asked to use the “easyJet plus” bag drop, as I had purchased Handsfree. On arrival at Gatwick, I had trouble identifying the relevant area, and after joining the queue, I was directed to a regular line, which was, in fact, shorter than the plus queue.
I was queuing to use an automated bag drop machine. As this was the case, I had to seek assistance from a member of staff, as EasyJet does not tie a handsfree booking to your flight booking. The automated machines were slow, and I saw many other passengers also needing to seek assistance. Indeed, one lady asked, “what do I need to do?” to be told, “you need to read the instructions on the screen”.
I was presented with the promised tote bag. However, I wasn’t presented with the opportunity to transfer essentials from my checked luggage. Luckily this had been planned with my partner, and she already had my essentials. Despite the easyJet website stating that all my bags would be tagged as priority, the agent only placed a priority tag on my handsfree bag.
Check-In Score: ✈︎✈︎
The journey through Gatwick wasn’t too arduous. Security was quick, leaving plenty of time for Breakfast at the airport Wetherspoon. The gate, 52, was announced an hour before boarding. We proceeded to the gate, where boarding passed were checked on arrival, not on boarding. This was the nice part of the boarding process.
After a short sit down, the gate agent announced that special assistance passengers, passengers with children under 5, and those with speedy boarding could now board. At least half of the aircraft must have purchased speedy boarding. This led to a stampeded. A large group with no distinct queue formed at the top of the stairs, all desperate to get on. This led to the first two groups of passengers, who may have a genuine need to board early, lost in a sea of passengers.
We proceeded down to the aircraft and boarding the plane itself was somewhat pain-free.
Boarding Score: ✈︎
The seat itself wasn’t great, however, offered plenty of legroom. Seatguru states this aircraft has a seat pitch of 29″. This was no problem for the legs of my 6ft 3in body. The one annoying thing about the seat was that the seat back pocket was broken. As such, the in-flight magazines were continually pressing against my leg. Thankfully, the three seats opposite were unclaimed, and the cabin crew had no issue with me moving.
The seats looked somewhat dated but served their purpose. They were slightly uncomfortable for the length of the flight, but I certainly wouldn’t avoid them.
Seat Score: ✈︎✈︎✈︎✈︎
In Flight Service
easyJet does not provide complimentary refreshments onboard. Knowing the flight was scheduled to take 3 hours I decided to purchase a £7 onboard voucher for £5.50 during booking. Thankfully the meal deal was £7. I opted for the cheese and ham toastie, a packet of Pringles, and a Nescafe cappuccino.
The Pringles, although bursting due to the air pressure, was tasty as expected. The cappuccino could’ve been better but was at a drinkable temperature, and nothing unexpected given it was an instant drink. This was unfortunately where the fun ended. I would strongly recommend steering clear of the easyJet ham and cheese toastie. The bread was soggy, the crust was chewy, and it had absolutely no flavour, while the single thick slice of ham was difficult to bite through. The only thing going for the toastie was that it arrived a minute after I ordered it.
In spite of all of this, the five cabin crew members all seemed approachable and friendly and were very pleasant to deal with.
In Flight Service Score: ✈︎ (due to the toastie)
The Flight Overall
Overall, the flight got me to my destination at a reasonable price. Despite the horrendously poor toastie, and the check-in and boarding difficulties, it could have been worse. Thankfully the aircraft didn’t make a turbulent approach. The handsfree priority tag turned out to be pointless. Gibraltar is such a small airport that the bags were all on the belt before we cleared passport control. I would fly with easyJet again. However, I’d buy food for the flight in the terminal.
Overall Score: ✈︎✈︎
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