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UPDATED 09/2003: ORIGINAL OPINION BELOW
The first time you visit EasyJet.com, you will be provided with a choice of 7 languages from English, German, French, Danish, Dutch, Spanish and Italian. You will be asked to identify your chosen language - and this will remain in place until you clear your cookies from your machine.
Once in you will be presented with the customary orange colours of Easyjet - and a number of boxes:
Where you want to fly from:
Once you select your departure airport, the next box - i.e. where you want to go will be shown, based on the destinations list from your chosen airport. EasyJet have a number of UK bases, but their primary one is Luton which does tend to have more flights - they also now have a fair few destinations from Bristol since their takeover of GO, and are rapidly making major inroads into take off and landing slots at Gatwick
Once you have selected your departure and destination airports you will need to specify the required dates of travel outbound and inbound (the latter where relevant) and then identify the number of people travelling, i.e. adults, children and infants (under 2's).
Once you have done this, all you need to do is present EasyJet with the information by clicking the 'show prices' button and you are well on your way to booking your EasyJet flight.
BE AWARE If you have been following some of their recent TV series, you may know that the next page of the booking process is something for which they have received considerable criticism - EasyJet offer three dates of travel outbound and return (where flights are available) and it does seem that some customers are incapable of reading the information correctly, turning up at airports the day before (or worse still the day after) their flight is due to depart.
For a brief period they changed the dates on alternative days of travel to the 'day before' and the 'day after', however, they have now reverted to dates and highlight the background of the date of requested travel in yellow, against the white background of alternative dates.
The prices quoted are generally good providing you are booking well in advance, and of course, will depend to some extent on the destination. The more flights there are to somewhere, by default, the better the offers, by being flexible on dates and times, you can often substantially reduce the price of travel.
YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT THESE PRICES DO NOT INCLUDE AIRPORT TAX, AND IN THE CASE OF LUTON 'FAT CAT CHARGES' AS EASYJET REFER TO THEM.
Once you have are convinced you are happy with your prospective purchase - you can proceed to book using their secure on-line system, for which you will require a debit or credit card: there is no charge for debit cards and a £4 surcharge for using a credit card, despite this I still prefer to stick to the latter option as it does offer marginally greater protection than debit cards. I was interested to note that when booking flights last week with FlyBE they were charging £1 for debit card bookings and I suspect it is only a matter of time before this 'idea' catches on with the competition.
Once your booking has been confirmed in the secure system and your credit/debit card authorised, you will receive a confirmation page containing your reference and will be advised to print this for safe keeping - it will however, also be e-mailed to you.
EasyJet is a ticketless airline that supposedly runs on reference numbers, however, I have now travelled with them around 14 times, and have never been asked for this, just requested to show photo ID for domestic flights and passports for International flights.
SUMMARY The site is relatively easy to use and reliable - although caution should be taken to ensure you are booking the correct travel dates (a bit like me when I booked my hotel in Prague - NOT) - and you need to book early and be flexible about travel dates to ensure you get the best bargains.
UPDATED 14/10/03: Some of you may know that a key arena of my work is ensuring that websites and on-line learning materials we develop must be as accessible to as wide a range of people as possible; there has been recent publicity in respect of EasyJet and the other budget and mainstream airlines in this arena - I was quite pleased to note that EasyJets site does provide keyboard navigation, however, it does seem poor on providing tagging for images, which could potentially cause problems for those using screenreaders - if there is anyone out there who has been affected by this, or has not found any problems I would love to hear from you.
When I originally wrote the op below, I had just taken advantage of a Daily Express offer for free / and very low reduced price flights to Amsterdam - the booking process then was painstakingly slow and unreliable owing to the unprecedented level of demand. EasyJet have however, since then, refined their offer system and now string such promotions out over a full working week, with a different password and different destination offers each day - you still need to collect the tokens, although we have never actually been asked for them at the airport.
Since Amsterdam, I have had been to Prague from Bristol for £37.50 return using a Daily Express promotion, and am off to see my Sister in Law in Madrid next month - @ £40 return, booked when EasyJet was running a tax free promotion - at that price if you don't travel for any reason you haven't really lost that much.
I have also had normal flights to Glasgow from Bristol on several occasions for less than £60 return, half the price of a standard train fare from Swansea to London.
So next time you see the Express offering free and cheap flights in conjunction with EasyJet, don't be afraid to try it out - for the sake of 35p you might just get to go on that holiday you want but can't afford.
What I will say about EasyJet, is that they are certainly not my favourite airline to fly with, I find their 'free for all' seating arrangements very frustrating, and whilst they often come up trumps on prices - they don't always. My partner is taking his son to Madrid next Easter, and we managed to get flights with BMI from Heathrow for much less - an added bonus for me was that I got the diamond club premium awards for my BMI account for using my BMI Mastercard, plus I wasn't charged the standard £4 credit card charge.
============================================Have you got a lot of patience and enjoy something for nothing?
Free flights? - just pay your airport taxes and Barclays Fat Cat Tax? - sound too good to be true?
THE OFFER We regularly see free/special offer flights in the papers and yearn to do something just that little bit wicked, trouble is securing a babysitter for a number of days at a time is not easy.
Not generally Express readers, my partner rushed out from the office at lunchtimes to stockpile a load of vouchers so that we could get a look in - why? because he had promised to take me back to Barcelona for a weekend without the kids so that we could appreciate the beauty of this wonderful city with no worries of where to find the nearest McDonalds or KFC.
7 o'clock this morning, armed with the much sought after password, we excitedly signed on and tried to get our tickets, try being operative word:
Firstly, the normally reliable site would not load (although up until this point I have only ever looked), and still would not load, and yes you've guessed it.....,
Off to work muttering about the whole thing being a publicity stunt, enticing people to buy cheap fares on their web-site as with it being busy when you call back later, they would all be sold out with only promotional fares remaining.
At work, on our super-speedy internet connection I tried again, to no avail.
Upon returning home, I thought, well lets give it a go,
YES - actually got on Put in the flight details to Barcelona - full price tickets (less £2.50 for buying on-line)
Definitely a con, tried a few more dates to no avail as the site either crashed or offered standard single fares.
So rather than keep trying, I tried Amsterdam, fares for the weekend, yep you've guessed it, full price.
Time to call in trading Standards, partners muttering behind me about ice on the floor in winter and whinging about having to spend all our time in the bars rather than sightseeing (well, hes never been there before and maybe a little naive!!), we just threw caution to the wind and tried weekday flights (got the mother to face now tomorrow when I tell her).
YES, YES, YES - FREE FLIGHTS - NOT SOCIALLY NICE TIMES THOUGH - EVENTUALLY WE GOT OURSELVES A PROMOTIONAL FARE FOR £9.50 ea. outbound (This was because of time we elected to travel) and FREE inbound, (all we had to cough up was airport tax and Barclays Fat Cat Fees? (obviously not reading my papers enough)) because we just love trundling up and down the M4/M1 in the dead of night in the middle of winter, well its cheap - the added bonus was that we managed to get a ridiculously cheap 4 star hotel right on Dam Square through www.bookings.nl
PAYMENT By Credit Card (£4 charge) By Switch or Delta (no charge)
There is now also an Easy Credit card - it is possible that as with BMI and their mastercard, there will be no CC charge for booking, but I cannot confirm this.
I got to the stage of submitting my payment details after a few false starts and input my switch details and submitted - a warning came up, do not use the back/forward buttons or refresh or stop until you see the next screen, trouble is in my case the next screen never came.
I had error messages, communication problem messages and visions of the amount being debited from my account 100 times over, so I switched to the credit card, same problem.
At this point I felt it prudent to phone their customer services department and got a long pre-recorded message directing me to about 10 other pre-recorded messages. On my second attempt I just pressed the number for changing flight details and immediately was connected to an operator, not bad considering the unprecedented demand they have had (what a ridiculous statement - offering free flights to 16 destinations around Europe and not expect people to go for it, for the sake of buying a different newspaper for a week (assuming you don't already read it of course).
The pleasant young lady assured me that no monies had been debited from either card, but hesitated when I queried that if their had been an error that I would get my money back, and she just advised me to be careful.
Well patience won in the end (not something I am renowned for) and I got my confirmation, Amsterdam in January was good, but cold, returned there in April this year (flew with KLM that time) and it was much warmer - although my hotels weren't as good or as cheap.
What I am now frustrated about is how late they leave it to bring out their next seasons flight schedules - unlike the Charters, BMI and BA who already have them up and running.
Originally written for Ciao July 2001, updated September/October 2003.
Yes, that free-for-all seating would put me off using them - I always check-in early just to make sure I get somewhere acceptable, but this just encourages those that 'maximise' their shopping (and possibly drinking) time to amble up to the gate when they feel like it. I suppose it's just as well they are mainly shorthaul flights - I can just about endure 'charter-flight' leg room for two hours but that's my limit.
mouette 01.11.2003 01:37
You must have the patience of a saint. I agree with regarding free for all seats.
Dave39 19.10.2003 15:03
Haven't used them, but used BMI Baby, their check in is the same as normal airlines.