Monday 18 February 2008

EasyJet, London Gatwick to Barcelona

At Gatwick, EasyJet has plenty of desks open and short check-in queues for the lunchtime flight to Barcelona. Even though you can also get through security quickly, you still need to be at the airport early - EasyJet tries to close the gate up to 40 minutes before departure time. There are no allocated seats, but you can pay for "speedy boarding" to catch the first bus ferrying passengers over to the plane. On board, the seats are narrow, but legroom is okay for a two-hour flight for anyone under six foot. Around you, the orange staff uniforms, orange trimmings and orange safety card give the cabin the ambiance of a fast-food joint, which is appropriate given the food on offer. The underwhelming menu includes a squidgy, red-hot pizza that lacks flavour and tends to make a mess of your face and hands. You can follow-up with an excessively sweet cappuccino or a watery coffee and a pricey Mars chocolate muffin.

Discounted perfumes
In-flight entertainment is primarily the cabin crew, on commission, cheerfully trying to sell lottery tickets, discounted perfumes and other special offers over the tannoy. You can hide behind the surprisingly respectable in-flight magazine, which is strewn with typos, but has some decent travel photos and punchy descriptions, aimed at young party goers, of the cities EasyJet flies to. For the mid-morning return flight, the check-in wait at Barcelona can be up to 40 minutes as about a dozen EasyJet flights depart around this time. Still, passage through security is swift and, at both Gatwick and the Barcelona, EasyJet gets you and your baggage off the plane quickly. Despite the lousy food, this is budget travel at its more palatable. 7/10