If you haven’t noticed by now, I travel. A lot. And while I have my preferred airlines (these), the flight I take is very much determined by the route. Direct flights are so much better than taking a preferred carrier. And living in Central Europe, more often than not, easyJet wins for having the most convenient routes and schedules. It’s not the easiest airline to take (despite their name), but there’s no denying it’s ubiquity in European airspace.
But flying with easyJet presents its own extra set of problems. Everything is an extra. When I sit at my computer trying to decide whether to book the flight or not, I pretty much glare at the screen, wanting to yell: “what do you mean 35€ for a checked bag?!” … “Are you kidding?!? You’re going to charge me to use a credit card to book?!”
We’ve all experienced it. The frustration of air travel in the 21st century begins not at the airport, but at the computer.
Thankfully I’ve devised a few ways to avoid that frustration. Basically it boils down to: just deal with it. Regardless, here are my 7 tips for surviving an easyJet flight…from booking to landing.
1. Book as early as possible.
EasyJet is supposed to be a budget airline but their prices go up exorbitantly the closer to your departure date. The sooner you book, the better. Though these days that’s fairly universal across all airline bookings.
2. Be flexible with your travel dates.
When booking, easyJet makes it relatively easy (well hey! Imagine that…) to see your various flight options within a few days. Be careful when selecting on the calendar though because they highlight the best deal better than your actual intended travel dates.
3. You’re going to have to pre-book your hold luggage and you’re just going to have to deal with it.
It seems no matter how hard I’ve tried to bring the right luggage, I still almost always end up having to check my bag. And easyJet is not friendly with this policy. Checking your bag at the airport when you haven’t pre-paid is a huge hassle. You have to queue up in a separate line and backtrack to the check-in counter. Not to mention they charge you an even more exorbitant price.
At the Airport…
4. Buy your own water at the airport.
Drinks onboard are frustratingly not free. I’ve learned to just deal with it and I always make sure I buy a bottle of water before boarding.
5. Use the easyJet app for your boarding pass.
Because I don’t own a printer, I’ve come to rely on either airline apps or just giving myself extra time at the airport to have the check-in counter print me a boarding pass. EasyJet, however, doesn’t even offer this as an option. They make it very clear in their email communications pre-flight that you are 100% responsible for bringing your own ticket under penalty of death…or something. So if you want to avoid any trouble (or potential fees), then you better make sure you’ve got your boarding pass downloaded to your phone beforehand.
TRAVEL TIP: I almost always use airline apps to check-in and save my boarding passes before traveling. But because I’m not traveling every day or even ever week, I usually delete the apps until needed – freeing up the precious space on my iPhone for pretty Instagram photos. They’re easy enough to reinstall when needed as I just visit my “Purchased Apps” menu in the App Store and select the menu “not installed on this iPhone” to track them down again.
On Board the Flight…
6. Learn to tune out advertising.
It’s probably not recommended, but I’ve become quite adept at tuning out overhead announcements. On most easyJet flights, they try to upsell you on airport transfers, electronic gadgets and sandwiches. (BTW the sandwiches aren’t half bad and they’re not even super expensive.) I just tune it out and focus on whatever other things might catch my eye (sometimes it’s the sexy flight attendants, ha!).
7. Patience, patience, patience!
EasyJet flights tend to be crowded. Or maybe it’s all the flights through Europe. I’m not sure. But these days, the only times I have an extra seat next to me is when I’m flying international. So on a crowded flight it’s important to have patience – not just for the flight crew (who are only doing their job) but also for the other passengers. Nothing riles me more than seeing some passenger complain about children on a flight. We’re all only human — even children. Give them a break. I’d be in tears too unless I’d learned how to deal with stressful flying situations.
Now it’s your turn: do you fly budget airlines in Europe? What’s your experience like and how do you manage the stress of budget air travel? Please share your tips below! I’m flying easyJet again next week to Paris and could use the advice…
Easyjet seems to be the only UK budget to have got the boarding card app totally sussed. I have learnt the hard way that you book car hire separately. After a 45minute wait to pick up car with everyone else from my flight I realised that the sensible travellers were using the other companies and were in and out, chuckling at those of us who were lazy with our booking!
I agree Suzanne – easyJet does a great job with their app :)
Tough luck about booking a rental car, though. It’s been a while since I’ve had to but I generally prefer booking with businesses that focus solely on it. Tends to make for better experiences.
There is a “not so secret” way of getting drinkable water FOR FREE on Easyjet, Ryanair, Whizz Air and such: Just ask for a cup with ice and wait for it to melt off ;)
Alternatively, go to where the staff is and kindly ask for them to share their drinkable water with you. 9 out of 10 times they will say yes.
Hahah great tip Raphael – guess you just have to hope the airline is too hot to make the ice melt faster ;-)
And you’re 100% right about asking kindly for things. In many life situations, it’s the best way to get what you want!
One tip I have for budget airlines is to board early if you need overhead space for your bag. Because of the baggage fees, a lot more people travel with carry-on only compared to when they fly with airlines that don’t charge for checked bags. That means they usually have bigger carry on bags and tend to put them overhead instead of just under their seat. I usually prefer to be one of the last people on board but I realised that I was then having a lot of trouble finding a place for my bag if it was too big to go under my seat so now I get on earlier to make sure my bag fits up top!
Another reason to board as early as possible is to avoid having your hand luggage – with all your papers, laptop, the works – shunted into the baggage hold. As the plane gets fuller, they start by asking for volunteers to put luggage in the hold. Towards the end of the line, unless you have the smallest of bags, you’re liable to be forced to put it in the hold if there’s no more room. That happened to me once – I was careful after that!
Great point Megan! I always try to board early as well, for the exact same reason. I like my bag to go overhead rather than under my seat.
I’ve used easyJet a few times and have yet to encounter a problem. However, your tips are good. I love the app. Next week will be a leap of faith as I’m flying Ryanair for the first time.
Yep, the apps are a lifesaver! I’m always surprised how few people are using them when I’m queuing up though! Good luck with Ryanair!
It’s funny. I have flown a lot with Ryanair in the past, and now whenever I fly with Easyjet, I’m like “wow, these seats are spacious and the service is so much nicer!”
Even better than buying water before boarding or asking for ice to melt, just take an empty water bottle through security with you (I’ve never, ever had a problem doing this) and fill it up airside at a water fountain or if you can’t find one, ask nicely at a bar if they’ll fill it up for you with tap water!
Probably a cheeky tip this one. But if you have young kids don’t pay for priority boarding as they will always let you go on straight after the priority boarders. Ours are 5 and 3 so we always get called to the front. I think the cut off is 5 so we must enjoy it while we can (and the flip side is unlike everyone else we don’t get to relax on the flight at all!)
I would add another VERY convenient tip: take the “premium” (don’t remember the exact name) option at the time of booking, in order to be able to board first in the plane and have space to put your luggages… As well, this option entitle to have a piece of handbag and front row seats.
Dang boo boo! That’s pretty bougie… do you think the price difference is worth it? We’re all about the cheapest solutions!
Nice post, although I still believe it’s impossible to survive a low cost flight! Even if you prepare your infallible smile they try their best to destroy it!
Hahah, well I’m an eternal optimist Lily and will continue to fight ’em with my smiles!
I was looking for information whether or not easyJet offers free water onboard and your blog popped up on the first page in google :) So on spot, this post! I have a 3-hour long flight with easyjet ahead of me and I really want to survive it with a smile. Either way I’m going to enjoy my trip, I’m sure – first time on Spain, first time couchsurfing.
P.S. Checked out the rest of the blog – it’s amazing! Thank you for good content.
I flew easy jet a few months ago and it was the worst experience i have had on an airline. so crowded poor boarding routine and so much more i could go on and on. but thats what you pay for i guess.
We were flying to berlin from paris for 1 night but i made the stupid mistake of buying the ticket online and returning a few hours after we flew out instead of the next day. so when we got the the airport they said our flight had left yesterday.. then there were no spots left on easy jet flight so we had to fly airberlin which cost us 600euro..
we were seriously thinking for hiring a car and driving back
A bit late to the party but my tip for Easyjet is to go to the duty free shop and buy something, even if it’s just a candy bar. I carry a small handbag as well as my carry on and duty free not counted in your baggage allowance. Then if I board last (which is preferable for me because I always get an aisle seat) and they don’t have room for my carry on, I have all my important stuff like passport, wallet, noise cancelling headphones with me.
I do love that you use electronic equipment during take off and landing. Totally tunes out the ads and the children :)
easyJet give free tap water, just ask
I always try and enjoy the airport, flight process as much as possible. Something that’s easier said and done, but I find that if I focus on the stuff I’ll be doing on my holidays and zone in on music or a book etc the flight soon comes to it’s final destination. I guess I’m lucky, I’ve never had a bad experience with easyJet. I’m always early at the airport and I love the whole travel experience, as I see it as an inevitable part of my holiday. I’m using Easyjet this summer to travel to Amsterdam for a two week holiday, so fingers crossed it all goes well.
Hey Tim, I tend to enjoy airports as well, though you’re right—sometimes it’s a challenge. I think you have to go in with the right attitude, though, and then everything just seems a bit better.
Amsterdam in the summertime is fantastic – enjoy!
I don’t handle the stress it handles me. Most of the time I argue, talk shit, pick fights, call people names, and generally try to take charge of the airport and plane . That leads me to being pulled aside interrogated and searched 3 to 5 times by security before boarding and after departing the plane. During the flight I get very agitated if someone fuks with me especially if I am stuck in a middle seat with males on either side of me. I usually leave the flight attendants alone or I kiss their ass so much it makes me sick.
Well anyway I hope this helps.