After a rocky start due to a record breaking snow storm , our trip with our moms to Europe was now really hitting its stride. We spent a fantastic 3 days in Berlin. Berlin is an absolute one of a kind city. There are very few cities in the world that have a history like Berlin. Berlin is literally and figuratively a city divided. Due to the divide into East and West Berlin after the second world war, Berlin is like a living cold war museum. It is by far one of the most interesting, most dichotomic (is that even a word), places I’ve been. While I will go into this in a different post, it was time to leave Berlin and head to Copenhagen. We flew to Copenhagen on the ultra low cost carrier EasyJet.
For those not familiar with EasyJet, EasyJet along with Ryanair are the two biggest ultra low cost carriers in Europe. These airlines made it possible to travel anywhere in europe quickly and for very little money. I really owe my passion for travel on these two airlines. While studying in London in law school I was regularly able to find weekend getaways to some of the more difficult places to get to in Europe, for less than $40 round trip. These airlines made every weekend an adventure on a student’s budget
These airlines do have a draw back. Typically they only allow you to bring on one carry-on bag, and charge crazy fees if you have to check something at the gate because it is too big. They take this one bag policy extremely seriously. They will make you shove a purse or small laptop bag in your carry-on to board the plane. If you can travel light or check your bag ahead of time, they aren’t too unreasonable.
There are only 3 airlines that fly directly from Berlin to Copenhagen: SAS, EasyJet, and Norwegian. With this being such a short trip, I wanted to keep travel short to spend the most time exploring. So I really only wanted to book direct flights. At the time I booked, EasyJet was by far the cheapest. At $30 a person for the one way flight, there was really no beating this. Of course this is before any baggage fees. Typically for a trip of this length I pack utilizing my backpack and a rollaboard bag. While looking at my options I saw that paying the an extra 10 Euro to get an extra legroom seat also entitles you to a second smaller carry-on bag. Given the nature of EasyJet this is a great deal.
So I went ahead and booked 4 tickets on a flight from Berlin Tegel Airport to Copenhagen. The total cost ended up being €144 or about $40 a person and included the two carry-ons.
Getting to the Airport/Check-in
There are two airports in Berlin, Tegel Schoenefeld. Both airports are close to the city and have reliable public transportation running 24 hours. Our flight to Copenhagen departed at 7:40, so we left for Tegel at about 5am. The airport was only about a 4 minute walk and 12 minute bus ride from the Charlottenburg neighborhood of Berlin. Even at an early hour this was extremely plainless.
Traditional check-in is not available at the airport on EasyJet. The airline lets you check in up to one month before the flight, and requires you to print your boarding pass at home. If you arrive at the airport without your boarding pass, EasyJet typically won’t print it. In the past they would print at the airport for a fee, however, that option is not on their website now. So, it is extremely important to print your boarding pass before you leave.
When we arrived at the airport, we had another concern. Stephanie and I’s carryon bag is big. It meets most airlines baggage standards but doesn’t always fit in the overhead bin. When we were looking at the EasyJet sizers at ticketing, our bags didn’t come close to fitting. Instead of risking a gate check fee, we decided we would check it at ticketing.
While waiting in line, we noticed they had a new “Easy Jet Hands Free” service. This €7 service will let you check your carryon, so you don’t need to lug it around the airport. Best of all, they didn’t size check our carryon. So, despite our bags being a little too big we were able to utilize this service which saved some big money.
After spending an hour at the C-Lounge, we headed over to our gate., Boarding on EasyJet was extremely unorganized. Our extra legroom seats entitled us to priority boarding, but there did not seem to be any separate line for priority boarding. We ended up just heading to the front of the line to ask the gate agent about it, and she let us skip ahead of the line and board. In the end though it didn’t matter.
Our EasyJet flight was leaving from a remote stand and we had to take a 10 minute bus ride from the gate to the plane (it felt like we were driving to Copenhagen). Being the first one the bus we were quickly ushered to the back, and we ended up being very last on the plane. It didn’t really matter for us, but for those who really needed to be the first on, priority boarding was not effective.
EasyJet Flight operates this route with both its Airbus A-319 and Airbus A-320 planes. Our flight was on an A-320. When you are flying on an EasyJet flight do not expect a nice and new plane. What you should expect is a decent ride that will get you from point A to point B. EasyJet’s Airbus A-320 was a pretty old and dated plane. The plane showed visible signs of wear and age.
The Cabin is set in a 3-3 layout and all standard seats are 29 inches from seat back to seat back and 18 inches wide. While the width is pretty good, the legroom is an extremely tight fit. The second I sat down in my extra legroom seat I knew it was worth it. There had to be at least 34 to 36 inches between sweet as I was able to get comfortable and stretch out.
The seats themselves, however, were extremely hard and uncomfortable. Out of all the flight I went on this trip, this seat was by far the worst. My butt was getting sore halfway through this 50 minute flight. It would be extremely uncomfortable to fly a 3-4 hour flight across europe on EasyJet. I am not sure how I did it when I was younger.
When flying a low cost carrier like EasyJet, don’t expect service and you won’t be disappointed. Everything on EasyJet, including water, comes with a fee. Given this, I did not bother purchasing anything to eat or drink on this flight. Given that the flight was only 50 minutes, I put on my headphones and took a short power nap.
Easyjet had an issue with the battery on the plane, so it had to be, well I guess jump started before we left. This resulted in a 10-15 minute delay. We got really lucky on this trip as this was another turbulence free flight and I was able to nap through the vast majority of it. Despite the late takeoff we were still able to land on time.
As an ultra low cost carrier you should not expect much from EasyJet. However, they are a cheap way to get decent ride from point A to point B. The Seats were uncomfortable. The Service was non-existent. But Easyjet got us to Copenhagen. As always with EasyJet you should be hyper aware of the size of your carry-on baggage.