Friday, 12 October 2012

Low cost airlines - cheap or cheeky

There is something to be said for travelling on a low cost airline.  Certainly an experience that I haven't had the pleasure of in what must have been a couple of years.


You may be shocked to hear that I, a supposedly seasoned traveller, was surprised at what this involved.

Having to cram my liquids into just one small plastic bag for honestly the first time in a very long time. Usually I have my customary lip balm and hand sanitiser, but this time was required to empty the majority of the contents of my wash bag into my hand luggage to get through security, and all because I had carry on luggage.  Where have I been and why have I missed this vital piece of info about travelling with EasyJet - clearly on another airline!

I have in the past, always left everything in my case and gotten through with security non the wiser.  In fact, today I have proved it's a pointless rule as I was pulled aside and asked for my passport?  My laptop, which I had failed to bring out for inspection, or the bottle of perfume still stashed in my case for fear of it being confiscated for exceeding the 100ml, were both ignored and instead they chose to 'swab' my ticket and passport - what for, who knows... this is definitely a mystery that remains, having experienced a similar treatment many times before!

I think my fellow traveller was just glad that we hadn't been sectioned for a supposed 'naked scan' as she is convinced we had been last time we flew together.  That's another story, as is the strip search encounter ;).

Anyway, as we queued for boarding it was then that the reality about one piece of baggage became apparent. I put my hand up to not having a clue about this at all, until now.  

However, we were hopeful that I may just be able to get away with it, so I pushed in front to ensure any problems I may cause could be discretely dealt with to one side and not delay the flight.  Still bemused that I seriously couldn't carry my hand luggage on board, I was quietly thinking that perhaps paying to take it would be easier.

Expecting to be made a public display of, I was disappointed at not even being given an option.  Instead the steward requested that I simply put the said bag into my case, without a fuss, so all I could do was admit defeat and attempt to offload my belongings and stuff what was left into my already bulging stash. Unfortunately I hadn't chosen to travel light today... but we got there in the end, despite the 4 pairs of shoes which were taking up all the space ;).

I have since carried out a little research on this one piece of baggage rule and it seems it only applies to certain airports.  Following the removal of this requirement in 2008 by most other airlines EasyJet chose to continue this approach.  It is in fact an unavoidable rule which 'everyone', except me it seems, already knows.

Note, that if you have airport shopping, you are in fact allowed this in addition, and therefore I believe this is yet another pointless rule (yes, I am on my soapbox today).

Totally just trying it on to get you to pay more for additional baggage and in my view down right cheeky.

I urge you to take a suitable carrier bag along for any excess carry on bags that you may feel are necessary. that is if you haven't already worked this out for yourself ;).

The good news, and total news to me (as I was actually aware of this particular flaw in their service), is that EasyJet recently announced that seat allocations will be put in place in the more immediate future.  To be honest that isn't really going to make me travel with this low cost airline again any time soon. The better news is that our return flight will be with BA ;)!

Clearly I have a lot to learn about budget airlines. I will know next time to pay the surcharge up front or perhaps stick to the more reasonable airlines, which incidentally have always come up cheaper on at least the last 7 trips I have booked.

You may be glad to hear that we arrived safely in Verona and have spent the afternoon/evening taking in Riva Del Garda on the North of Lake Garda... I promise that normal blog service will resume tomorrow, so check back soon x

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