27 September 2008

Flying the easy way?

by Anton Piatek

Last weekend I flew back to Northern Ireland for my sister-in-law’s 30th birthday. We thought about it too late to fly from Southampton with FlyBE, and it was rediculously expensive, so we booked with Easyjet to fly from Gatwick, which was less than a third of the price even when you add the cost of parking.

The driving to Gatwick was quite a pain, though that was not the most painful part of the trip. The parking at the long stay car park was quite painless, and a quick bus ride to the terminal was fine, but the real pain was after checking-in.

Gatwick really fails to process people through security quickly – it took ages to get through. Then you have to remove shoes, which you don’t at Southampton.

Our boarding time was moved forward by ten minutes according to my boarding card, however we didn’t board until after we were supposed to have taken off. It seems EasyJet are unable to run to a schedule.

EasyJet basically boards in two groups according to check-in time. We were in the second group and had to hope we got two seats next to each other – FlyBe allocate seats at check-in, so at least you know if you get to sit together or not

Flying back from Belfast was almost as much a hassle – Despite me taking off my watch and belt, removing my phone, wallet and keys I still appeared to set off the metal detector and had to remove my shoes. Then I was given a pat-down, no magic wand was used to find the metal that set off the walk-through scanner, and then they checked the bottom of my socks…

Again EasyJet was late to board, and take off.

Next time I fly to Northern Ireland, I will be making more effort to book early, as EasyJet was a painful experience I’d rather not repeat.

I am also getting annoyed about the fact that bags are no longer free on low-cost airlines. £5 per bag isn’t too bad, but EasyJet even charges you for not taking a bag! How can they charge you a bagage fee for no bags!?

tags: aircraft - flying - hassle - moan