Tag Archives: Easyjet

Ljubljana, The Wettest Capital in Europe

Ljubljana Christmas Lights

It was Christmas market time again and by undertaking detailed research of the flight schedules and destination options there was an opportunity to visit two neighbouring countries by flying to and staying in Ljubljana in Slovenia and whilst there taking a day trip to Klagenfurt over the border in Austria.

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Marrakech, A North African Adventure

We travelled with Easyjet on a three and a half hour flight and close to our destination flew through a magnificent sunset which exaggerated the colours of the brown arid land and bathed Marrakech below us with a warm orange glow.  The plane landed at the Menara airport, close to the city, at half past six where it was already dark but the temperature was close to 30º centigrade and a warm breeze greeted us as we stepped out of the aircraft and onto the tarmac.

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Thumbs Down For Easyjet (again)!

The next morning over another excellent breakfast on the terrace a rumour started percolating through that an incoming Easyjet flight had been cancelled so obviously wouldn’t be going back to the UK either.  Doris thought it might be the Gatwick flight but she wasn’t entirely certain so we started to think about what we might do if it was our flight to Stansted.

We left the hotel and abandoned a planned short detour for a panoramic view of Dubrovnik and went directly to the airport in case there was going to be any trouble.  After returning the car and signing the rental papers we walked to airport departures and sure enough there was a problem and passengers were wandering about trying to make alternative plans.  Thankfully the flight information screen confirmed it was the Gatwick flight but as you can never be absolutely sure about the reliability of Easyjet I refused to stop worrying completely.

Easyjet are one of the worst airlines for last minute cancellations and changes to the flight itineraries and we have been the victims of this before.  In September 2006 a four hour delay from Athens because somewhere in the day the plane had to squeeze in an extra flight, in 2007 again from Athens an unexplained two hour delay and in 2010 a three hour delay from Bilbao again because of last minute rescheduling.

Easyjet seem to think that this is acceptable and that passengers can be treated like cattle (but actually cattle probably get more consideration than Easyjet passengers!).  Although everyone likes to hate Ryanair I have never experienced major flight delays or arrogance and contempt at which Easyjet excel and would always use them when I can in preference to Easyjet simply because I have more confidence in them to get me where I am going more or less on time.

Anyway, the reason for this morning’s last minute cancellation was apparently because the pilot had phoned in sick.  Now I don’t know how many Easyjet flights there are every day or how many pilots they must have on the books but that excuse seems a bit lame to me because surely someone must have been on standby or there was a spare floating around the system somewhere.  When a refuse truck driver doesn’t turn up for work the council doesn’t cancel the day’s collections they find someone to take his place so that service isn’t interrupted.  Surely Easyjet can do the same, I know they operate on narrow margins but flight disruption because a pilot has got a bit of a headache is ridiculous.

Naturally there was a lot of confusion and long queues as the Gatwick passengers tried to get information and make alternative arrangements.  To be fair to Easyjet they promised a replacement flight the following evening, all expense paid overnight accommodation and an extra day in Croatia and if I had been on the flight I would have taken that offer and had another day in the sun but this didn’t seem to suit many of the grounded passengers and most were queuing to arrange transfers.

The lucky ones who were there first had managed to get a seat on our Stansted flight but the next batch were transferred to Liverpool.  Now, I’m not convinced that a lot of these people from Surrey really knew where Liverpool is because after a four hour wait at Dubrovnik Airport they were going to land two hundred and fifty miles away from their preferred destination, they wouldn’t be able to understand the language and then they would have a tortuous journey to Gatwick.

By road Liverpool to Gatwick would be a nightmare down the M6, the M42, the M40 and finally the M25 and that is probably the last thing anybody would really want after a relaxing break in the sun.  Alternatively they could go by train but this takes at least three and a half hours and the cheapest single ticket is over £70 each.

The decision to transfer to Liverpool just didn’t make sense to me, some explained that they had to get back to work the next day but they couldn’t have been thinking straight.  Even if they managed to get back in time to go to work they were going to feel awful and would probably have to phone in sick anyway.

Luckily our flight wasn’t affected but as usual it was over half an hour late taking off and all of this simply confirmed for me that I really do prefer Ryanair.

Thumbs Up for Ryanair

Also worth a mention:

Thumbs up for Sixt Rent-a-Car

Croatia, Cavtat

As usual the Easyjet flight was late taking off and also arriving so added to its statistic on late or delayed flights that Michael O’Leary delights in gloating over when he provides benchmark statistics in the Ryanair in-flight magazine each month.  Easyjet are frustratingly relaxed about flight times and I think on the whole I prefer the Ryanair approach.

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Thumbs down for Easyjet

Using the motorway we were soon back at the concrete block of Bilbao airport and we returned the car and got the refund on the full tank of fuel and then went to check-in.  We were in plenty of time and the first at the desk and we should have realised that there was a problem when the check-in clerk couldn’t allocate a gate number because this meant only one thing – the plane was delayed.

We sat in the bar for half an hour until the overhead flight information board finally owned up to the fact that we wouldn’t be taking off on time and the boarding gate time was slipped back by thirty minutes – groans all around.  This didn’t seem too bad but then it slipped back another fifteen minutes, and then another, and then another and then another.  Now this is really irritating because they knew all along that the flight was delayed by ninety minutes but choose not to reveal this all in one go.  What possible purpose could that serve except to get everyone nervous and irritable?  Wouldn’t it be better to tell the truth from the very beginning and then everyone can come to terms with the fact and pace themselves and plan their additional time in the departure lounge.

At least Bilbao Airport was quite pleasant and the prices for an airport were surprisingly cheap even though I was restricted to alcohol free San Miguel on account of the fact I would be driving later.

How do I know that they knew how long the delay would be?  Quite simple!  When we finally got on board the pilot told us so!  The plane had been used to squeeze in an additional flight because somewhere, elsewhere in the Easyjet fleet another plane had had technical difficulties.  This seems to be common practice for Easyjet who treat their customers with the same contempt as Ryanair but the difference is they don’t admit to it.  This is the third time that this has happened to me on a late night return flight and I have to say I find it completely unacceptable but was my own fault because for only an extra £5 I could have flown with the more reliable Ryanair to the nearby airport of Santander and I am sure that I would have got home at the scheduled time.

When we landed the Steward announced ‘Thanks for choosing Easyjet’ as though nothing had happened but I for one shall think twice about using them in the future!

Thumbs down for Easyjet again


Thumbs down for Ryanair Transaction Charges


The Full Tank of Fuel Car Hire Scam

Euskadi, The Basque Country

The Basque Country, or Euskadi in the Basque language, is part of the larger Basque region that also icludes Vavarre and stretches into northern France and is an Autonomous Community of northern Spain that was granted the status of historical region in the Spanish Constitution of 1978.  The capital is Vitoria-Gasteiz (Vitoria is the name in Spanish, Gasteiz in Basque) and Bilbao is its largest city.

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Ljubljana – Park Hotel

We had had some difficulty in finding some suitable accommodation in Ljubljana and had eventually decided upon the Hotel Park which although suspiciously cheap and almost certainly basic sounded as though it would provide us with a good central location for our visit and we committed ourselves to a booking.  After we had orientated ourselves and found our bearings we set off on the short walk to our chosen lodgings.  After a few hundred metres we turned a corner and there towering above us was an ugly concrete structure and a sign confirming our worst nightmare, this was the Hotel Park; Oh My God!

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Thumbs Down for Ryanair transaction charge rip-off

o'leary 1

I have just booked some November flights to Valladolid in Spain and was delighted with the bargain price of just £20 return but I was still annoyed by the final sting of a £10 charge to pay for the flight with my credit card, which effectively amounts to a 50% surcharge!

Information about this charge on the website says:

 “to defray the substantial administration costs we incur when processing credit and debit cards a handling fee applies to each passenger, per flight segment…Even allowing for these small charges our fares still represent the best value for money”

Small charges, my arse!  According to the banks the average credit card handling fee is on average about 2% so that means about .40p on my £20 fare and I got whacked twenty-five times that amount.  There is a special offer on at the moment of zero charges for Electron cards, but who on earth has Electron cards?  And they only have to process the payment once so how can they justify multiple charging of passengers?  Why aren’t Trading Standards looking into this?  Ryanair has over forty million passengers a year so I calculate this rip-off to be netting them four hundred million pounds a year in pure profit.  To put this into perspective consider that in 1963 the Great Train Robbers stole £2.6 million and got life imprisonment and in 1983 the Brinks Mat robbery pulled off £26 million and when they were caught more lengthy prison sentances were handed down.

Last year, Stephen McNamara, a spokesman for Ryanair said: “All of those processes go to Visa  separate times (for each passenger)  so we have to make sure that we are covered in order to cover the costs.”  It turns out of course that this statement was another pack of Ryanair lies which just confirms their complete contempt for their customers.

Let’s be honest we all know that Ryanair have got to pay for the cost of flying somehow and zero charge flights are just a bit of a gimmick and I for one would just be happy if they admitted this and just charged me the £5.00 in the first place!  That way I wouldn’t feel ripped off and deceived.  I don’t mind the baggage charges and the excess weight charges because I can avoid them or it’s my own fault if I don’t but I do object to unreasonable charges being imposed that it is simply impossible to avoid.

Thumbs up on the other hand to Ryanair low cost airline rivals easyJet.  Earlier this year I booked summer holiday flights to Athens and when I arrived at the payment screen the charge for paying by credit card was a flat rate of £1.70 plus 2.5% of the cost of the tickets.  This is so much more equitable than the Ryanair scam and almost completely in line with the advice from the banks in respect of transaction charges.  The total transaction charge was £9.00 on a £280 fare.

I would probably book with easyJet more often in preference to Ryanair but to be honest, even though they irritate me, the only thing that really matters at the end of the transaction is the total price to be paid and in most cases even with the deceit charge Ryanair is generally cheaper.  So what am I complaining about then?  Well, it’s a matter of principle, Ryanair are being dishonest and I question therefore their business ethics and their respect for the customers.

The reason that easyJet are generally more expensive is that while the two airlines share a common business idea, EasyJet’s strategy differs from Ryanair’s in a number of areas. EasyJet flies mainly to primary airports in the cities that it serves, while Ryanair often chooses secondary airports to reduce costs. For example, EasyJet flies to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris Orly, the primary airports in Paris, while Ryanair flies to the smaller Paris Beauvais Tillé Airport, a 75 minute bus journey from Paris.

Out of the way airports do not really matter to me and are not necessarily a factor in selecting a location because generally I find in more cost effective to hire a car and stay in a cheaper hotel in a nearby town rather than stay in expensive city centres.  This worked well recently in Carmona near Seville and in Vila do Conde near Porto both of which had the benefits of a quieter location and better hotels than I could really afford in the city.

Thumbs Up for Ryanair

Also worth a mention:


Easyjet plane