Review of easyJet flight London Inverness in Economy

Airline easyJet
Flight EZY 863
Class Economy
Seat 8F
Aircraft Airbus A319
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 30 Apr 14, 12:25
Arrival at 30 Apr 14, 13:55
U2   #12 out of 24 Low-cost airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 561 reviews
Sealink
By 4785
Published on 11th May 2014
Time for a trip North! I was actually flying all the way from London to the Orkney Islands - but with two different airlines and two different bookings. And therefore two different reports.

Inverness is the perfect distance from London for UK airlines - the train service which is very competitive to Glasgow and Edinburgh slows down for the last 140 miles and adds hours to the journey. So flying is still an attractive option.


The history of flights between Inverness and London is quite interesting. Many years ago, Dan Air flew three times daily to Heathrow and this transferred to British Airways when they bought Dan Air for £1. BA then moved the service to Gatwick to great local annoyance; before transferring it again to smaller aircraft operating BA Connect, which was then purchased by FlyBe. In the meantime, KLMuk tried a daily service from Inverness to Stansted (which was not a success.) easyJet however have had success with a daily (sometimes twice daily) service to Gatwick and a daily service to Luton. They have had more success since March when FlyBe sold their Gatwick slots to easyJet; meaning that the 'upstart' is now the only airline to ply the route. So for now there are three easyJet departures daily - two to Gatwick and one to Luton that are often fully booked. That will change in October when Flybe return to Inverness with a London City service, but for now, it's a very very busy route. That said, I paid about £80 return for my flight - including prebooked luggage and seat selection.

But enough history, here is my journey.

My local station has a twice hourly service to East Croydon, where you can catch a plethera of trains to Gatwick, which call every ten minutes or so. There are two rail companies: Southern and First Capital Connect - with First Capital Connect charging only £4.50 : however they operate some of the oldest trains and can often be dirty.

However, getting to Croydon was a hassle from the start! With this message:

photo IMG_1640

This was not what I wanted to see! I tend to leave ample time to get to the airport - but what if this delay was on the mainline to Gatwick? Stress level - calm.

My option two was a connecting train just to get to Croydon, and as I changed trains a Gatwick Airport train arrived. However my ticket was First Capital Connect ONLY so I couldn't use it. Stress level - calm.

I got to East Croydon where I saw that the next train I could use was seven minutes away, so that gave me time for a relaxing connection.

First Capital Connect Trains are generally dirty, however this one was old, but clean. And empty!

photo 14096949914_3724f74008_b

The train is non stop to Gatwick, and arrives at the South Terminal.

So the signage is really clear - just follow signs for the North Terminal!

photo Gatwick Travelator

After the travelator, there's a driverless shuttle to the North Terminal.

photo Gatwick Shuttlephoto Gatwick Shuttle 2

This operates every few minutes and today two shuttles were in operation. photo 13902482090_27301488f0_b

I have a video of the whole journey - it takes about two minutes. I will add this shortly. Once YouTube is behaving!

The North Terminal certainly feels smart these days.

photo 14087943554_f67dbc8a90_b

No danger of ice today.

photo 13901011687_765f66f94f_b

First of all, time to drop off my bag at the bag drop area. I cannot imagine how awful this would be in the peak season!
There was a queue which moved quickly. I noticed that easyJet now have a priority bag drop for speedy boarding passengers.
I didn't have to wait long though. There are rumours that easyJet will take over the entire North Terminal - I can easily see this happening. I didn't feel comfortable taking a pic of the 'live' bag drop area, so this is the opposite side which wasn't in use today - however it does give you a sense of the size of easyJet's Gatwick operations.

photo easyJet BagDrop

Security was a breeze, taking about two minutes - now that I now to wear soft trainers, no belts and put everything in the tray!

Then it was off to try the No. 1 Traveller Lounge - I had been to South Terminal one several times but this would be a first for me.

I like the 'oversize' signage at Gatwick - it certainly made things clear!

photo North Terminal large signage




The Emirates, BA, Servisair and No. 1 Traveller lounges are in the same part of the airport - one on each floor.

photo Lounge Reception 2

The No. 1 Traveller lounge is a nice place to spend time.

photo 13900005680_18142b42ca_b



I had a wander around…



It was busy, however I found a place to sit and have some refreshments.



I decided to try and visit the Aspire lounge on the lower floor, as my Priority Pass provides access here too.
Aspire lounges are operated by Servisair whose lounges can be very hit and miss affairs. This one was new.

However I was not to get in… as they were full. I actually could see several empty seats / tables so not sure why they had an A4 sheet saying 'full' on the door. But I will have to wait for another time to sample this lounge!

photo Aspire Lounge

Now that I was out of the lounges I wanted to go to the gate, however there was a delay.

This was not managed well - a small delay became a major irritation. easyJet warn you that gates close 30 minutes before the flight departs, and the screens simply displayed 'Gate announced at 11:25. 11:25 came and went and at 11:35 was updated to say Gate announced at 11:45. Quite annoying. The reason (from the easyJet app) was a delay on the aircraft's previous flights but there was now a large number of passengers anxiously waiting. And I had booked a further flight from Inverness to Kirkwall! Stress level: irritated.


The gate was then announced and there were about 120 passengers trying to get to their flight. Remember easyJet have harsh warnings about gates closing.

photo Walk to LGW gate


We then went to a stifingly hot gate, where we waited for a bit longer.
Boarding was announced (easyJet card holders and Speedy Boarders are permitted to board first.)
There was scramble for the boarding queue, which, as expected simply ended up in a backlog of passengers on the jetway.


photo Jetway

People get very anxious about boarding, but with easyJet's pre-allocated seating and there is no need to panic, really. I think reserving you space in the overhead locker could be the next ancilliary service that low cost airlines will charge for!

The flight was nice. I fell asleep almost instantly after struggling to put my seat belt on.
I am sure that they have made the straps shorter. ;-)

A gorgeous day as we left Gatwick.

photo View from plane

I was planning to have a drink on board, but with no pricelist in my seat pocket I decided not to - also I was super tired for some reason. So I dozed off a few times, and I think I may have snored. Sorry fellow passengers.

Inverness was reached in what felt like no time at all, passing the Norbord woodmill which is constantly pumping out steam.

photo Landing

It was a grey day in Inverness… but as an added bonus there was a Loganair plane (I haven't seen their logo on the tail of a plane for about 15 years! They became a British Airways franchise in the mid 90s, and then a FlyBe franchise in the mid naughties.) The plane you see is a operating a Royal Mail contract.

photo Inverness landing

Next up: Inverness to Kirkwall!




















See more

Verdict

easyJet

7.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew10.0
Buy-on-board menu10.0

No.1 Traveller No.1 Gatwick

10.0/10
Comfort10.0
Meal/catering10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Services10.0

London - LGW

8.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness5.0

Inverness - INV

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

easyJet go from strength to strength, having found a winning formula that combines friendliness and value.

Related

3 Comments

  • Comment 108335 by
    marathon GOLD 9566 Comments

    Interesting and lively report. I look forward reading the next episode. Thanks !

  • Comment 108337 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5305 Comments

    Thanks for this report and the lounge-hopping. Priority pass is definitely a nice thing to have. You don't expect to see lounges in an EasyJet report so thanks for that! EasyJet definitely offers good value overall. I've flown them a few times in Europe and have been satisfied....Ryanair on the other hand, I have absolutely no desire to try. Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 294043 by
      Sealink AUTHOR 67 Comments

      I think easyJet quietly got on with it while Ryanair continued to annoy passengers - and the passengers had enough. So now Ryanair are putting on a show of being friendly!

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/10404226/Ryanair-extra-baggage-and-lower-charges-herald-customer-friendly-upgrade.html

Login to post a comment.