I’m writing this on British Airways flight 487 from Barcelona to London’s Heathrow airport. This is the first time I’ve flown BA in several years. For the past few years I’ve always done this route with EasyJet but last week I’d finally had enough and vowed never to fly that sorry excuse of an airline again if I can help it.
I ranted about EasyJet in a blog post a while back but nevertheless remained a customer. However, their policies and general treatment of passengers has become so obnoxious the meager savings (if any) are no longer worth it for me.
It starts when you book the ticket online. The prices change frequently and as you get closer to flight time I’ve been able to find better prices on full service airlines such as BA and Iberia, let alone Ryan Air or other discount lines. Furthermore, EasyJet prices are deceiving. It turns out the price they quote you is not the price you actually end up paying.
There is a charge if you pay with a credit card. If you want to pay slightly less you can pay with a debit card. Next, they charge you for every bag you check beyond one (1). Then they charge you again if you want to be in the first boarding group. In a previous blog post I ranted about EasyJet’s check-in online option because even though by doing so you save the company time and effort checking you in at the airport they automatically relegated you to boarding group C. Well, now it seems that has changed and if you want to board in the first group they charge you separately, AGAIN.
Finally, the airport tariffs and taxes are not part of the price you are quoted. By the time you have purchased your ticket online you feel you’ve been “nickled and dimed” to death and have ended up paying the price any other airline charges you for the same ticket. And again, that’s all before you even leave home for God’s sake!!!
So then you’re at the airport and the check-in agents are some of the rudest people I’ve ever come across behind an airport counter. They are inflexible, unkind, bound strictly to rules, make no exceptions and are frankly unreasonable. I won’t go into the many instances of this I’ve experienced directly and seen other passengers deal with. I just want to clarify that I am a VERY frequent flier, am very easy going, rarely if ever need any special consideration and am predisposed to deal well with all sorts of inconveniences so I am not making a big deal of nothing when I say such things about EasyJet’s check-in agents in general. Although I will say I’ve noticed this negative behavior more in Barcelona than in London.
In part, I can understand. Let’s face it. EasyJet targets the lower budget audience (even though their deals aren’t that low budget) so they get the kinds of passengers who are “in general” less demanding of any luxury at all and for whom mustering manners can be a colossal effort. I don’t want to get myself into trouble by stereo-typing EasyJet’s customers, Hell, until recently I was one so I’m sure there are all types. But let’s just say I’ve never boarded another airline’s planes that were full of football hooligans or groups of bachelor and hen parties going off to celebrate a low-budget (and apparently very loud) weekend. The agents do probably deal with lot of people who make loud demands, demand treatment often only afforded first class passengers on other airlines (EasyJet has no first class) and therefore find it hard to distinguish between their usual passenger and someone who genuinely is a well-mannered, effete passenger.
Anyway, I have noticed a couple of things that have been slowly changing on EasyJet’s planes.
1. The space between the rows of seats is getting smaller.
2. On many of their planes the seats no longer recline. They don’t even have recliner buttons on the arm rests!!
Flying EasyJet has become the most uncomfortable experience known to man in the air.
I’m not freakishly tall. I’m 6’1 and I’m not fat. I weight about 185 lbs. I cannot sit up straight with my legs straight forward on these planes. My knees push up against the seat in front of me. In order to be comfortable at all I must spread my legs and rest my feet on their sides. It’s f-ing ridiculous!!!
THEN, the flight attendants are rude, speak to you as if they expect your responses to be belligerent before they even come out of your mouth, and actually evoke that kind of response from people when they tell them to turn off their electronics, raise their tray tables (which are usually dirty from the previous flight) and to put their seat backs in the upright…. oh wait, they don’t say that anymore – BECAUSE YOU CAN’T RECLINE THEM TO BEGIN WITH!!!
So I’m reading in the in-flight magazine that thanks to cramping the planes full of passengers like a can of sardines EasyJet has achieved a per passenger carbon emission similar to each passenger driving a Toyota Prius to the same destination. Look, I’m environmentally conscious and think that’s great but COME ON!!! If I drive a Prius I’d at least have some room.
Of course, this says nothing of the fact that if I want to eat anything on the plane I have to pay for that too. More nickle and diming!!
So, what was the final straw for me?
I was in London last week and needed to change my EasyJet flight and their online booking system was down, requiring me to call their customer service line, for which they charge you per minute to use, even while you’re on hold and even when the online system is down, leaving you with no choice.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that my phone charges for that call were MORE THAN MY HOTEL COST ME FOR THE NIGHT!!! No kidding!!!
So who do you tell? Do you know what they suggested at the airport when I asked who I should speak to about it? You got it! They suggested I call customer service!!!
You know what? I decided never to fly with them again and to write about my experience here. It just seems that it’s about time EasyJet lives up to its name!! Nothing about EasyJet is easy.
Today, British Airways has been a breeze. The staff has been great. I didn’t get nickled and dimed and I ended up paying less than the EasyJet ticket for tonight would have cost me had I purchased it at the same time I bought this ticket. Oh, and I got some food – included in the fare apparently.