- easyJet is a low-cost, no-frills budget airline that operates like a bus, with quick turnaround times and no complimentary snacks or drinks.
- easyJet operates an all-Airbus fleet of 179 aircraft and has bases at various airports in the UK, including London Gatwick, Bristol, and Manchester.
- Passengers can check in online or at the airport, and there are restrictions on carry-on luggage size that are worth knowing before you go.
Are you preparing to fly with easyJet for the first time? There are a few things worth knowing before jetting off with the UK budget carrier that can help your trip run more smoothly.
In the early 1990s, Greek-Cypriot businessman Stelios Haji-Ioannou, noticed a gap in the UK market for a domestic airline offering low-cost flights between London and Scotland. The entrepreneur wet-leased two Boeing 737-200 aircraft using Texas-headquartered Southwest Airlines as a business model. London Luton Airport (LTN) agreed to give the new airline a 15,000 square feet building for its headquarters, and it has been based at LTN ever since.
Photo: Abdul N Quraishi – Abs/Shutterstock
easyJet initially only flew from London Luton to Glasgow and Edinburgh but by 1996 was flying internationally to Amsterdam in direct competition with British Airways and KLM. Previously, the two national flag carriers had dominated the market, and now a new airline offered flights between London and Amsterdam for considerably less money.
In 2000, easyJet went public on the London Stock Market and, by 2013, was promoted to the FTSE 100. By 2015, easyJet had become a significant player, flying to 130 destinations in 31 countries.
1 easyJet is a low-cost, no-frills budget airline
Like its main UK competitor, Irish carrier Ryanair, easyJet operates a similar business strategy based on the Southwest Airlines business model. Both are point-to-point airlines that only sell tickets between a single departure point and destination. They do not offer connecting flights, even though the potential to connect does exist.
If you take two easyJet flights to get to your final destination, the airline will not compensate you if the first flight is delayed and you miss your connecting flight. The flights are operated like a bus; they arrive, passengers get off, new passengers board, and the plane gets on its way. It is all about quick turnaround times. Also, unlike full-service airlines offering complimentary snacks, drinks, and meals, if you are flying with easyJet, you must pay for everything.
From the very beginning, easyJet set out to establish a strong brand identity. Stelios chose the color orange for easyJet livery as he wanted a livery color he could call his own. When easyJet was founded, the idea was to sell tickets directly to the public, bypassing travel agencies to save money. You must remember that the Internet was still in its infancy, and Stelios thought that putting the airline’s phone number on its fuselage would help people book flights.
As internet use became more widespread, easyJet launched a website in 1997, and a year later, people could purchase their tickets online. In 2015, easyJet changed its livery to a more streamlined look but kept the original white and orange everyone had grown accustomed to.
2 You’ll be flying on an Airbus
In the early days, easyJet did operate Boeing 737 aircraft, but it has now moved away from the American planes and today operates an all-Airbus fleet of 179 aircraft with an average age of 8.8 years. According to the data and statistics website ch-aviation, easyJet’s fleet is comprised of the following aircraft:
- 58 x Airbus A319-100s
- 76 x Airbus A320-200s
- 35 x Airbus A320-200neos
- 10 x Airbus A321-200NXs
Photo: Captain_Kangaroo I Shutterstock.
In the United Kingdom, easyJet operates bases at the following airports:
- Belfast International (BFS)
- Birmingham Airport (BHX)
- Bristol International (BRS)
- Edinburgh (EDI)
- Glasgow International (GLA)
- Liverpool (LPL)
- London Gatwick (LGW)
- London Luton (LTN)
- Manchester International (MAN)
3 You can check in online or at the airport
Unlike many low-cost carriers who will charge you if you turn up at the airport without a boarding pass, easyJet is far more understanding. With easyJet, you can check in online or at the airport.
If you travel without any luggage other than a carry-on, you can save time by checking in online and downloading a boarding pass to your mobile phone. To do this, go to the easyJet website and click “Manage Bookings.” Once there, follow the instructions and download the boarding pass to your phone. easyJet allows you to check in for your flight up to 30 days before and as little as two hours before the flight departs. Remember to have your passport details handy and any other information the airline might require.
Photo: Emmanuel Nalli/Shutterstock
4 Check size restrictions for carry-on luggage
For the most basic tickets on easyJet, you do not get access to an overhead bin for your luggage. As such, you are only allowed to bring one small cabin bag that can fit under the seat in front of you. The size of this must be no bigger than 45 x 36 x 20cm (approx 17 x 14 x 8 inches), including any handles or wheels. Very small wheeled bags, rucksacks, and laptop bags usually fit this criteria.
To bring a larger carry-on bag that is intended to go in the overhead locker, passengers will need to purchase this in advance. Those traveling on FLEXIfares or with easyJet Plus membership will be able to bring a large cabin bag on board, but if the overhead locker space runs out, the airline may end up placing it in the hold.
Larger onboard bags should be no bigger than 56 x 45 x 25 cm (approx 22 x 17 x 10 inches) and should weigh no more than 15 kg. Purchasing onboard overhead space in advance is cheaper than getting it at the airport, and includes ‘speedy boarding’ so you can be one of the first onto the plane.
5 You can drop off your hold bags the night before at some airports
Depending upon the route, easyJet passengers can bring three items of checked luggage weighing up to 23 kg each (around 50 lbs). Adding hold luggage to your reservation is cheapest and easiest at the point of booking, although it can also be done during online check-in. If your bag weighs over 23kg, you can buy extra weight in increments of 3kg up to a maximum of 32kg.
A fairly unique service from easyJet can help you beat the morning rush for your flight, especially if you’re staying near the airport the night before. The airline’s Twilight Bag Drop service allows passengers to drop off their hold bags the night before, so they can arrive with carry-on only and breeze through the check-in process. This is currently offered at London Gatwick, Bristol, Berlin, Manchester, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Glasgow.
For most airports, the service is available from 18:00 the night before for flights leaving before 08:30 the next morning. Check the easyJet website for more details, as there is some variation to this service and its operational times.
If you arrive with a bag that can’t be carried on and have not booked hold luggage with your ticket, you could end up paying a lot more at the airport. easyJet states that “Any bags not purchased online in advance, or that exceed your cabin bag allowance, will need to be placed in the hold, and you will be required to pay an airport bag fee of up to £48 per bag.” As such, be sure what the rules are and book in advance to avoid these unexpected costs.
An aircraft of British low-cost airline Easyjet is seen on the tarmac at Schoenefeld airport in Schoenefeld, near Berlin, on August 24, 2020. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- U2/EZY (UK) |EC/EJU (Europe) |DS/EZS (Switzerland)
- Airline Type:
- Low-Cost Carrier
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Berlin Brandenburg Airport, Geneva Airport, London Gatwick Airport, London Luton Airport, Milan Malpensa Airport
- Year Founded:
- Johan Lundgren