I don’t put too much weight into individual airline reviews. At least reviews based one or few experiences. Generally, one doesn’t bother to write about something unless encountering an extremely good or bad circumstance. Rarely are reviews written about an adequate and uneventful point A to B trip. Case in point, I recently flew Aer Lingus. Both of my flights were half full, allowing me a grab a full center row “sofa” to sleep and stretch myself out in across the Atlantic and back. That made for one of the most comfortable coach flights ever. My coworker on the other hand forewarned me that Aer Lingus “is a bad airline,” because she had missed a connection and had issues with accommodation. For me they were great, for her horrible. But that’s irrelevant to the rest of us and neither of those are control factors on whether or not Aer Lingus is a “good” airline. They merely two random examples and our experiences could have easily been switched.
With that disclaimer, my limited and pleasant experience based on two easyJet flightst:
I purchased a round trip from Madrid to Marrakesh, Morocco for about $70 USD. easyJet’s competitor Ryanair was offering fares for a mere $35 US. Obviously I wanted to avoid Ryanair and its atrocious reputation, so I opted to pay a little more. But seeing as these to fares were rock bottom, and Ryanair’s flights were scheduled an hour AFTER easyJet, I bought the Ryanair flight too as my own unique type of travel insurance.
easyJet has a small to medium size operation at Madrid Barajas, in the old terminal 2 and 3. Efficient once there with clean gates and nearby amenities, but like the U.S. gates it’s a very long walk from the Metro Station, located at the other end of Terminal 3
easyJet’s seating is similar to Southwest – No assigned seating and first come first choice. You may purchase the “Speedyboarding” option for about 10 Euros, which I thought a good deal. It netted me first in line with about 10 other early boarders, and I managed to get exit rows on both flights. In boarding the aircraft there are no numbers or order like Southwest, everybody just lines up like they’re waiting at the Post Office. Oddly, in Madrid, no one line up in advanced and all stayed seated. As soon as they announced pre-boarding only THEN did everyone rush to the door.
Carryon: Like other European carriers they’re far stricter than the U.S. carriers, where many agents turn a blind eye to giant bulging bags some drag down the jetway and bounce between the seats. You’re allowed ONE carry-on, and one means one. I usually have a book/laptop and a small messenger out before boarding, so as not block the aisle retrieving things. Prior to boarding I was to consolidate them all into my rollerbag and prove it could fit in the sizers.
Both flights were uneventful. Flying across the Straight of Gibralter this hazy day I could just as easily been on a flight from Albuquerque to Vegas. On board service consisted of drinks and buy on board snacks, and a pass through of the duty free cart.
Departing Marrakesh was a little less organized as we boarded via dual airstairs (which I enjoy) but we were first queued up outside on the ramp. Again no complaints – it was a beautiful day and I love planespotting, especially when I have the opportunity to be this close and see some foreign (to me) carriers. However this could be uncomfortable for some in the Moroccan summers.
I would easily fly easyJet again, and their fare were far below Iberia, Royal Air Moroc and other carriers that served that route. Note the crummy stairs that Ryanair boards with. (lower right photo)
Quick Euro tip: In Europe the overhead bins are called “lockers.”