Love them or loathe them, you can’t deny that the European budget airline carriers have opened up a whole host of opportunities and freedoms when it comes to short haul travel and city breaks. For less than you would normally spend on a weekend meal and night out, you can now fly return to most European cities. This year I managed to fly back to the UK for less than taxi to my hotel upon arrival cost.
However, it definitely comes with some strings attached. Often these carriers make up for their low fares in the extras they charge to provide you with a more comfortable and stress-free flight. Thanks to a combination of business and personal travel I have sat on upwards of twenty EasyJet planes in 2019 (I don’t want to count the actual figure in case it’s much higher).
Due to this, I have discovered some surprisingly little tips and tricks that may make your journey a little less budget, and a little more enjoyable when you next board.
Check in as early as you can to improve your seat
You can check into an EasyJet flight up to 30 days before you depart. However, if you are a bit like me, you tend to leave this part to the few days before when you are finalising your packing and gathering paperwork for a trip.
In the future, try not to put it off and do it as soon as you get the email saying check in is open. You will be allocated a better seat as more are available and the algorithm can do more magic this way.
Cabin bag plus duty free bag in many airports
In most major airports, EasyJet allows you to take your one cabin bag on board in addition to one bag of duty free shopping. This can be a genius travel hack if you prepare properly. Following previous airport purchases, I have kept a Boots, and a Duty Free plastic bag that I always fold into the front of my case.
Then, when I need to queue to board, I put my handbag or tablet into this plastic bag. If I purchase something in the airport, I don’t bring out my trusty old carrier and use this instead.
This way, you don’t get fined for having a second small bag when boarding, and it means that you don’t need to struggle with using a big suitcase as a handbag for little things like your phone, passport and mints in the airport and plane.
I now do this for practically every flight, and fingers crossed, no issues yet!
Obviously this has two disclaimers:
- It may not always work for you like it has for me, so if you take this risk and don’t have room for the second bag in your luggage, you will have to pay a fee.
- Make sure your duty free bag actually is from a shop in the airport (you can’t just take any plastic carrier!)
Use their fare finders to get the best prices
If you book directly on their site, and look for best prices using their EasyJet Fare Finder, you can find some great deals, especially if you can be flexible with your departure dates and times.
Become a regular and join their Flight Club
If you take enough flights a year, EasyJet send you an email welcoming you into their ‘Flight Club’. It has many benefits but my personal favourite is the ability to change your flights without paying the admin fee, instead you just pay any difference in cost if there is any.
Additionally, if you find your flight for less after booking, they will ensure you get this difference back.
If you take regular short haul trips, it can good to be loyal to one provider to benefit from their perks.
Pack your own snacks (and drinks too!)
You can no longer bring full bottles through security at departures unless they are under 100ml, but you can bring an empty and reusable water carrier.
Then when you pass security, fill this up at the many free fountains before boarding. This way, you save yourself the £2-3 they charge for bottled water. On this note however, if you ask the crew they can give you free cups of tap water if you go to their galley and ask politely.
Additionally, you can bring through a pre-packed lunch if you don’t want to buy the food on board.
Buying food vouchers before you board
However on the above, if you know you’re going to eat on the plane, EasyJet do these great vouchers that allow you to buy their meal deals for less before you board.
If you are definitely going to want food and a drink, a little bit of prep before you buy goes a long way.
Board early to avoid your bag being placed in the hold
Although usually I hate it when people gather around the boarding gate before their class or zone has been called (if you are one of these people, I genuinely would be interested to know why you do this) an EasyJet flight is where I make an exception to this rule.
Primarily because they don’t board by zones like bigger airlines, and because they have a new rule where only the first seventy bags through the gate go onto the plane. The rest are taken to the hold, free of charge, for you to collect on arrival.
Honestly, I personally like the rule, as there’s nothing worse than your flight being delayed as people struggle to find space for their luggage and coats in the overhead lockers.
However it does mean if you want your bag with you in the cabin, you need to be one of the first seventy to board.
Hand luggage limit is on size, not weight
As long as you can lift it, it can fly in the cabin. EasyJet are great in that whilst the cabin bags have a size limit, they don’t have a weight limit.
So if you have a few big items you need to take, and they risk your hold luggage going over-weight and incurring a bigger fee, stick them in your cabin baggage when packing.
This was a true lifesaver for me when I was moving to Switzerland without my furniture for four months. All my books came with me in my hand luggage to save weight-space in my two hold bags.
As long as you can personally lift it into the overhead locker, you can fly with it!
Extra legroom gets an extra under seat bag for free
If you book a seat with extra legroom (priced from around £10 up to £25) depending on the flight, you get to board first, and get a second piece of cabin baggage for free.
Sometimes this works out better than having to pay for hold luggage if it’s just a laptop or small rucksack you need to fit all your extra stuff in for a week away.
Going hands-free allows for boarding priority – can be for an individual or a group at a discount
You can pay to check in your cabin baggage for a little as £7 per person, or there’s a discount if you are a bigger family and travelling in a group.
This way, you put it in the hold but you get to board the plane first, and usually the luggage is waiting for you when you disembark as it gets priority status for offloading. A good way to avoid carrying heavy cases around and to get on the plane and seated before the rush.