Tuesday, November 3, 2009

British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair - how they compare

Did a bit of travelling last week (that explains the lack of posts) and like most flying out of the UK, I opted for EasyJet rather than British Airways. A colleague of mine lamented that British Airways used to be an institution to be reckoned with and it was certainly the airline to travel in. Well, I supposed that was before British Airways was hit by escalating costs and union strikes.

EasyJet - no frills airline with friendly service but not without its flaws

After an earlier experience with British Airways Executive Class, which essentially is economy class with access to the British Airways Executive Lounge at Heathrow airport. The lounge does have lovely sandwiches (ham, shrimps, cheese, the whole works) served with gallons of tea, coffee and alcohol, and nice armchairs to boot.

From that point on, the word Executive becomes meaningless. I couldn't help but noticed that the seats used in the Executive Economy is identical as that of the Economy. In fact, the back of the seat in front of me had came off and the underlying sponge was hanging out rather conspicuously. Did I mention about the croissant that was served? It was one of those blackened crescents that threatened to break a tooth for those who bothered taking a bite into it. It's small wonder why travellers are switching to EasyJet for jetting between European cities.

Granted, EasyJet is a budget airline - no seat allocation, payment required for check-in luggage, you got to pay for in-flight food, boarding gates are located further away from customs, no in-flight entertainment. Then again, what you see is what you get and there are no hidden charges. Other than regular 30min delays, the occasional strolls across tarmac, disconcerting glimpses of tired pilots staring into empty space, EasyJet triumphs on no-frills flying.

Someone booked me on a Ryanair flight to Dublin and emailed me thereafter. The same day return flight costs a princely sum of 20p. Truth to be told, I'm a bit apprehensive after hearing and reading about experiences on Ryanair (read 20 reasons not to fly Ryanair). But then again, I should at least give it a try, shouldn’t I? Will post about my Ryanair experience if I managed to get on to the flight.

Meanwhile, I would love to hear your experiences on British Airway, EasyJet and Ryanair!

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drcrab said...

Haven't flown BA for maybe 8 years now... so can't comment. Was on the verge of booking a BA flight to SG over the summer, but then we managed to get an SQ flight for cheaper (?!) so we went, thankfully onto SQ.

The last time I flew EasyJet or Ryannair was before I had G! So, more than 2 years ago now. I had the option of taking an EJ/RA flight to Athens in March or an Olympic Airways flight, and I went with the latter - for the sole reason that I was travelling with a baby and so had lots of gear. Didn't want to pay extra for the extra luggage, and didn't want to 'rush' for a seat (since there was seat allocation). The food was rubbish (really - the bounciest omelette ever) but at least I knew that my buggy would arrive in 1 piece FOC and that I had a seat.

Previous experiences with EJ/RA were fine actually. I guess when you have not much luggage and more importantly, no dependent child with lots of stuff to carry, they are really pretty good options!

C K said...

Agreed that it's relatively fuss free travelling light (that means without restless kids and huge luggage) on budget airline.

But doesn't EasyJet allow priorty sitting if you're travelling with kids? At least the flights that I was on did that. As for food, really don't expect much for full price airlines for short flights across Europe.

Jetting off again soon?

Nomadic Matt said...

i'll take BA over easyjet but easyjet is still pretty good. I'd rather that than ryan air anyday!

C K said...

@Normadic Matt,
Hmm, I am now so looking forward to my Ryan trip. :p

FĂ«anor said...

Here's what I thought of Ryanair, that foul figment of a twisted cattletrucker's imagination.

William Wallace said...

Once upon a time I use to travel from Aberdeen to London at least 10 times a year. I used BMI, British Airways and Easyjet, depending on whoever gave me the best deal and I would honestly say that they are all as good or as bad as each other depending on whichever way you look at things....

TSH said...

C K, fyi, your forthcoming return ticket for Ryanair to Dublin costs 2p, not 20p. The cleanliness and legroom is way better than Jetstar. If you follow their rules - no check-in luggage, print your own boarding passes, it is the best thing in air travel in Europe. Enjoy!