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Monday, February 13, 2006

Easy does it

It's astonishing, really, but I'd never been on Easyjet before. I've seen the adverts for flying to Warsaw for 20p and the like, but I'd never been tempted. For some reason that I can't remember, but probably related to disorganisation, I was booked on Easyjet today. When I bought my new (now old) carry-on, I deliberately bought the maximum size that the airlines generally allow (55 x 40 x 20). So, when I checked in with Easyjet today, I assumed that there would no problem despite all of the strict notices about hand luggage. Sure enough, they asked me to put my carry-on into a metal frame at the check-in: it fit like Cinderalla's slipper (which, incidentally, was not “glass” but “green”: the original French was mistranslated when the story came to England). Excellent. But at the gate, the Easyperson said that I could not take the bag on because it was too big. When I asked what the point of the check-in metal frame charade was, and why I couldn't take the bag on despite it being exactly the right size, I was told (basically) “tough: the flight is busy, so you can't take it on”. I had to hold up the entire line of people trying to get through the gate while I unpacked my computer, magazines, book and bottle of water so that they could take my carry-on away and check it. While I was doing this, I noticed that a couple of women were allowed on with carry-ons the same size as mine, plus a gigantic handbag as well. I should have sued for sex discrimination on the spot, but I didn't want to appear ungentlemanly. While I was ruminating on the egregious gender bias, I was getting steadily more annoyed. As a result, I forgot my iPod and so (rather upsettingly) had to spend the entire flight listening to the chavs behind me discussing what bars they were going to go to tonight and comparing the prodigious quantities of vomit they had unleashed on their previous rampage. It's a Brit thing. When I got on the plane, I discovered another annoying interaction between people and systems. The flight was open seating. Logically, the fastest way to fill the plane would be if the first people on were to walk down the place and start sitting down from the rear, window seats first. But they don't, because everyone (well, those allowed to bring on their hand baggage) wants to sit near the entrance. And they all sit in aisle seats. I wasn't familiar with Easyetiquette so I sat in a window seat. Then I realised that it was just like Southwest trains. People were sitting in the aisle seats hoping that no-one would sit next to them. But with N aisle seats and nearly 3N passengers, the people in the aisle had to keep getting up and clogging the aisle further. Luckily, my baggage-repacking episode didn't hold up the flight. Apparently, just as Easyjet expect you to bring your own drinks and snacks, you are also expected to bring your own medical treatment. When we were waiting to take off, an appeal came over the PA “Is there a doctor on board?”. I've never been on a plane when that's happened before, so I was quite excited. I was imagining that something amazing was going to happen, like when a doctor used a coathanger to save the life of a passenger on a British Airways flight. (How, I can't remember, but I think it was opened up and jammed into a lung or something.) It transpired there wasn't a doctor or a nurse on board, so a few minutes later there was another announcement: a passenger had been taken ill so the flight couldn't leave the gate until some paramedics (Easydoctors?) had arrived and checked things out. So we were nearly an hour late taking off. And it didn't cost 20p but a hundred and eight nine quid.

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GreatSheElephant said...

boy are you going to love Ryanair then

Spinsterella said...



I'm an Easyjet/Ryanair/Flybe, um, connoisseur. Retain your sanity by waiting till the very last minute to board.

Don't know about the bag thing though - you might just have to get a bit more assertive.

GreatSheElephant said...

*snork* at the thought of someone calling Citizen of Woking unassertive