On our most recent trip to Europe, Bob and I spent several days in each of three cities— Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague. When booking our transportation, we pondered the best (and cheapest!) way to get from place to place and decided to fly with EasyJet for two legs, and take the train for the third leg, because we love traveling by train in Europe. With lots of low cost carriers competing for passengers, airfares on discounted European airlines are extremely inexpensive (our flights were about $60 a piece). There are also many options for time of day you wish to travel, and we found EasyJet, well, we found it easy!
Here are a few things to note when booking an airline ticket on a discounted European carrier. EasyJet’s economy fare allows for one carry on bag, but no personal items. This bag can be a traditional maximum carry on size, but unless you are willing to pay a little extra to be an “up front” or “extra leg room” customer, you cannot bring a purse or backpack in addition to a suitcase. We paid an extra $5 apiece—again, inexpensive in our opinion—to be “up front” customers and we each carried a suitcase on board, along with a good-sized tote bag for me (the Baggallini Avenue Tote), and a backpack for Bob. In addition to bringing a personal item on board, we also got seats in the front of the plane and boarded first. I don’t care about boarding early, but it sure is nice to get off the plane immediately, and not have to wait for what seems like an eternity for everyone else to disembark.
When entering our gate prior to boarding, EasyJet had employees checking boarding passes against the number of carry-ons, and making travelers with questionably sized suitcases put them into the “box” to measure their size. Several passengers were told to check their bags, because they were too fat, or slightly too long to fit in the box. We had internationally sized carry-ons from Briggs & Riley that fit easily into the box, so we had no problem. Generally speaking, internationally sized carry on bags are an inch or so shorter than their domestic counterparts. Most airlines (even discount carriers) however, do allow for the traditional 22 x 14 x 9 domestic size. Keep in mind that there are much tighter weight restrictions on some discounted European carriers. Some airlines restrict a carry on to be no more than 15 pounds. If you’re worried about the size or weight of your suitcase, check with every carrier that you will be flying on. It’s both annoying and expensive to have to check a bag at the airport, when you were planning to carry it on.
EasyJet is a “no frills” airline. All on board food and drink costs money, even water. Unlike Allegiant however, we did have assigned seats for no extra charge.
One more interesting note—on none of our inter-European flights did anyone check our passports. Not when we were going through security, not when we boarded the plane, nothing. Hmmm.