Everything you need to know about EasyJet’s Hands Free baggage service
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Recently, I wrote about my frustration with the change of EasyJet’s cabin baggage policy.
I was previously a big fan of the low-cost airline: I found EasyJet to be incredibly consistent, with pleasant staff and good-value fares.
Unfortunately, their new cabin baggage policy has made their fares much more expensive and very difficult to compare with other carriers on the same route. If you want to take a full-sized cabin bag on board you are forced to pay to select a seat whether you want to or not. Not only that, but you also have to choose the most expensive seats on the plane.
This goes against the low-cost model of only paying for what you actually need.
One potential solution to this problem is using the airline’s Hands Free service.
Here’s how it works.
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If you wish, you can pay an extra fee to check your full-sized cabin bag at the dedicated EasyJet Plus Bag drop queue at pre-security airport check-in desks. This is different from making a last-minute decision to check your cabin bag at the gate: This is a separate add-on you must purchase before arriving at the airport.
The cost of this service is the same regardless of the length of the flight. You’ll pay £7 per passenger, per flight, or £16 per flight for up to six people on the same group booking. This charge is the same whether you are flying a short hop up to Scotland, or are taking a longer flight all the way to Israel.
The benefits of paying for the Hands Free service are that you don’t have to take your full-sized hand luggage through security and find overhead bin space for it on the plane. If you hate squeezing all your liquids into those clear resealable bags, this could be a great solution.
You’ll just need to remember to take out anything you will need on the plane, such as an e-reader or neck pillow.
If your luggage is cabin bag-sized (maximum of 56 by 45 by 25 centimetres), the Hands Free option is much cheaper than purchasing a checked bag. On a flight to Spain, for example, these prices start from £22.49 per flight: more than three times the cost of the Hands Free option.
So, is this a great solution to the EasyJet cabin baggage policy frustrations? Not entirely.
You will still need to arrive at the airport early enough to drop your bag at check-in, and you may have to queue for some time depending on how many other passengers are doing the same thing.
When you land, you can’t just grab your bag from the overhead and be on your way. Instead, you’ll have to wait until your suitcase is delivered on the baggage carousel. Depending on the airport, time of day or week, this could take some time.
Even if it’s only £7 per person, you still need to pay more than the advertised fare. Other low-cost carriers like Jet2 will allow you to take a full-sized cabin bag on board at no extra cost, so the advertised fare is the advertised fare.
One of the best things about travelling cabin baggage only is that you are not restricted with check-in times, nor do you have to wait around in queues or for your bags to be delivered upon arrival. You simply land, exit the plane and you’re on your way.
EasyJet has created an optional solution to their cabin bag policy frustration. To their credit, it’s both cheaper than paying to take a bag on board, and cheaper than purchasing a standard checked bag. If you want to save money on your next EasyJet flight, this is an affordabale solution.
Do be aware it’s likely to add significant time to your journey as you’ll have to both arrive at the airport earlier to drop your bag and wait for it to be delivered with all the other bags at the other end.
Featured image by Liam Spencer / The Points Guy
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