Why I’ve fallen out of love with EasyJet over its new cabin baggage policy

Jul 29, 2021

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I have been a fan of EasyJet for many years.

I’ve flown the airline countless times across Europe and always have found the experience to be consistently positive — pleasant staff, on-time departures, easy-to-understand rules and a fantastic app.

Related: When does it make sense to pay for an EasyJet Plus membership?

It’s usually a little more expensive than the likes of Ryanair and Wizz Air, but I’ve been happy to pay the difference. The airline should technically measure and weigh everything you take on board at the gate, but I’ve never been subjected to this.

It all worked for me.

Unfortunately, the airline’s latest baggage policy update is alienating this once-loyal passenger.

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Since February 2021, EasyJet has begun charging an extra fee to take a full-sized cabin bag onboard its flights. Its low-cost model has, in the past, allowed passengers to take a full-sized cabin bag on board at no extra cost.

This change moves EasyJet from the low-cost model down into the ultra-low-cost model.

I rarely check-in luggage on short European flights like these. I find numerous benefits in travelling as light as possible, from keeping costs down, being able to navigate stairs and cobbled European streets more easily and being able to minimise the amount of waiting time in the airport at either end. Unless the trip is less than 48 hours, I’ll usually want to take a full-size cabin bag with me as the tiny “under the seat in front of you” allowance won’t hold more than a day or two’s clothing and personal items.

Related: 6 items you should always pack in your carry-on bag

Charging extra for cabin bags makes flights difficult to compare. For example, looking at flights from London to Barcelona (BCN), Ryanair is the cheapest, though the symbol next to the price indicates a cabin bag is not included.

(Image courtesy of Google)

Note that currently, Google Flights does not indicate the same applies for the EasyJet flight.

If I’m choosing between Ryanair and EasyJet for my flight to Barcelona, Google Flights does have an option to filter including cabin bags. When I switch this on, it, in theory, shows me the cost of the flights with a full-sized cabin bag.

(Image courtesy of Google)

So far, so good. I definitely prefer EasyJet to Ryanair, and it is the cheapest fare of the day.

Related: 9 common mistakes tourists make in Barcelona

I click through to book the flight on the EasyJet website.

Despite selecting “filter with cabin bag” on Google Flights, standard fares on EasyJet do not include a full-sized cabin bag, so you will need to pay extra to take a cabin bag on board.

As this flight was £8 cheaper than the cheapest Ryanair flight and I would prefer to fly EasyJet over Ryanair, if the additional cost was around £5-£10 to take my cabin bag onboard, I would not mind.

Unfortunately, the only option to add a cabin bag is to purchase a Standard Plus fare, which includes Speedy boarding, dedicated bag drop and an Up front seat for an additional £16.99 per person, per flight.

(Image courtesy of EasyJet)

Not only does this increase the cost of the flight by around 50%, but it also forces me to purchase things I don’t want like seat selection and dedicated bag drop, which I can’t use as I’m not checking in any baggage — I would need to pay even more to do this.

The low-cost model has worked so well in Europe because of the concept of unbundling — you only pay for what you actually want. Don’t want baggage or seat selection? Then you pay less. Want to choose your seat? You can, for an additional fee.

Now, on EasyJet, you no longer have the option of purchasing selected items you want — you have to purchase a bundle of items together.

What makes this forced Standard Plus bundle even more frustrating is that not only am I paying for a seat I don’t want or need, I am forced to pay for the most expensive seats on the plane just to take my bag on board.

(Image courtesy of EasyJet)

I cannot just select an £8.49 seat as that does not include my full-sized cabin bag. I would much rather have the option of just paying £8.49 as the additional cost of taking my cabin bag on board with me.

I also don’t need Speedy Boarding if I’ve paid for space for my cabin bag — the whole reason I’m paying this is to reserve a spot for my bag. I don’t need to board early in the hope of finding space.

EasyJet do offer a “Hands-Free” option where you can pay to check your hand baggage in advance. While this is cheaper than the Standard Plus option, this completely defeats the purpose of cabin baggage – I need to arrive at the airport earlier, wait in a queue to drop, and wait for my bag to be delivered at the other end. It’s not a neat solution for cabin bags, it’s checked baggage.

EasyJet has quickly gone from being an airline where I only pay for the things I need, to forcing me to purchase things I don’t want. Why not just fly a full-service carrier then?

Related: 7 factors that make a great low-cost airline

Bottom line

I’m happy to pay for things I use and need, and I value the freedom of choice — that’s one of the reasons I continue to fly low-cost airlines. If EasyJet wishes to move from a low-cost to more of an ultra-low-cost carrier model, that is its choice and provided the service and reliability remains the same, I would continue to choose it over other ultra-low-cost carriers based on my prior experiences.

However, I feel its new pricing structure is a mistake in forcing passengers to purchase things they don’t want or need. That is much more of a full-service airline idea than an ultra-low-cost one.

I have been a big fan of EasyJet for years, but its current Standard Plus pricing structure is making me choose other carriers for cheap European travel rather than paying for things I don’t want or need.

Featured image by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

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