It’s been a dank, wet, unremittingly soggy summer. While sales of Bermuda shorts and barbecue tongs may have suffered, there has been one business winner: easyJet
The no-frills carrier has just enjoyed its most successful August ever. Thanks to a surge of late bookings (from Britons eager to escape the drizzle), the airline flew 7.1 million passengers last month. One of them was David Cameron, who was spotted munching Pringles (possibly paprika flavour) en route to the Algarve. The surge has prompted easyJet to increase its annual profit outlook to £700m, at least £40m more than was expected. But amid such summer holiday chaos, what does the budget airline hold for business travellers? Director sampled a flight to Tuscany to find out…
Part of easyJet’s tactic to woo more business travellers is its easyJet Plus card (£170 a year). It gives custodians fast-track security clearance at 34 European airports, including Gatwick. In a rush to catch our Italy-bound-flight, it helped Director to clear security in just five minutes, avoiding the phalanx of Med-bound travellers at the other security queues. Score 9/10
Before boarding, Director headed to the No 1 Traveller lounge – which we entered through the glamorous portal of, erm, Frankie & Benny’s restaurant. The lounge’s selection of fruit and salads was somewhat on the meagre side, but Director didn’t get much time to experience its hospitality – the lounge is a good 15 minutes schlep to the gate. Score 5/10
Sat in seat 13A, easyJet’s 29” pitch means there is minimal legroom for this short flight, but the seats seemed well-maintained and clean. Score 6/10
easyJet in-flight experience
Director realised something was amiss when the man behind me started coughing. The poor fellow’s croaking and wheezing got so bad, he was eventually taken off the flight. The flight attendants dealt with this unfortunate incident in a swift and professional manner, but it did delay the flight by 40 minutes meaning our 14.35 departure took off at 15.15. Bar the odd announcement for selling perfume or car rental, the rest of the flight passed smoothly. And unlike David Cameron, we passed on the Pringles. Score 6/10
Summoning the kind of divine intervention to inspire any Tuscan Renaissance artist, our pilots made up for the delay, with the flight touching down in Pisa at 17.30pm, a good 20 minutes before its scheduled arrival time. However, it took 10 minutes to disembark, a further five-minute shuttle bus to the terminal, followed by a 20-minute wait for baggage. Score 6/10
Although beset by an unexpected illness, the professionalism of the easyJet crew (not to mention speedy boarding at Gatwick) more than made up for it…
Total score: 32/50
easyJet flight EZY5233 from London Gatwick to Pisa.
easyJet flies from Gatwick to Pisa up to ten times a week with prices starting from £26.24 per person (one-way, including taxes and based on two people on the same booking).
To book, visit easyjet.com