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All right, I think this will be my last airline review for awhile. But before we get onto a new topic, let’s look at easyJet, yet another discount airline based in Europe. Don’t you wish they had these in America? Pop down to Florida for forty dollars for the weekend…ah well. It’s nice to dream, right?

Ok. On to easyJet.

First thing I think is “oops.”  I managed to find their page on linking to their site.  The restrictions area bout a mile long and very lawyer-speaky.  Oh, I have to tell you that if you click on their link here you’ll be redirected to a new window, and I’m not allowed to say anything “defamatory” about them.  Does this mean I can’t say that I don’t like them, or does it mean something different?  Now I’m feeling a little nervous about this whole thing.  Oh well, I guess I’ll find out that I’ve broken their laws when they contact me with a lawsuit or something.  Oops.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, what do their policies look like?

Luggage policy: You get a free carry-on, and then you pay £5.00 online or £10 at the airport for each piece of checked luggage that you bring (up to eight pieces with a combined weight of not more than 20 kg.)

Check-in: You can check in online as long as you don’t have any checked baggage.  Then you can go straight to security at the airport; just print your boarding pass at home.  The boarding gate closes strictly twenty-five minutes before departure–DON”T BE LATE!!  You’ll forfeit your seat.  Unlike Ryanair, they don’t appear to have any check in fees; definitely a bonus.

I couldn’t find any other fee information on their website.  I don’t know if there are any or if they’re pretty sweet and fee-free.

Refunds: you will get a refund if you cancel up to two hours before the flight, as long as it’s within twenty-four hours of the original booking.  This refund excludes administrative fees.  Then there’s a thirty Euro cancellation fee.  They don’t provide refunds for cancellation due to medical reasons, blah, blah blah, unless it’s within the twenty-four hour booking period.

If there’s a death in the family and you need to cancel, you may get a refund provided you give them the Death Certificate.  That seems a little brutal, doesn’t it?  But then again, there are a lot of people who will lie about stupid things like that.  I could tell you so many stories of people trying to lie to get out of paying tiny amounts of money at the restaurant I used to work at…and those were for just a few dollars.   I can understand their need for confirmation.

Their flight from Dublin to London…is not available.  So let’s go with a flight from London to Barcelona in June, like the other flights.  Their best price was offered on June 16th at £32.99.

That included all taxes and fees, according to the site.  Now I realize that this is not equal to the Dublin-London flight, but it’s still pretty cheap.

Conclusion: I was a little baffled by their website, and a little nervous because of their lawyer-y language once I got past the standard pages.  But their prices seem pretty reasonable, and there aren’t many taxes that I could find.  They have a decent check in policy and baggage policy.  What’s not to love about that?   I guess there’s nothing wrong with this airline.  It seems similar to Ryanair, but more commercial and less personal.  Of course, that’s just my opinion.   I haven’t actually used either airline, although I can’t wait to get the chance to.  have you used a European budget airline listed here?  My readers and I would love to read about your experience.

This concludes my budget airline series.  Next up: cheap and amazing hostels in the U.K.

Cheers,

Senoritaburrito

There are a ton of discount airlines in Europe, but they are not all created equal. In this series of articles on discount airlines offering flights in Europe, I give you links to their homepage and a brief summary of their features: luggage, check-in, and cancellation policies…and what’s not so great about them.  And if you’ve used one of these airlines, let me know what your firsthand experience was like!

First, we have Ryanair. It is Europe’s largest discount airline.  They serve over 50 million customers a year and add new bases almost monthly.

Luggage terms: You don’t get a free luggage allowance.  You can carry up to three checked bags not exceeding 15 kgs total, but you have to pay £12.00/€18.00 each.  If you go over your weight limit they have other hefty fees in place.  Babies don’t get checked bags, and sports and musical equipment is discouraged.  Mobility equipment is free of charge.  You can carry one piece of carry-on luggage, not exceeding 10 kg and dimensions of 55cm*40cm*20cm.

Check-In:  You have to pay to check in at the airport, a fee of a few euros.  Sometimes you can check in online, but there’s a long list of restrictions for people who can’t, including people with mobility equipment, checked luggage, a person who’s traveling with one of these people, and passengers traveling from Italy to the U.K. (?)

Boarding closes ten minutes prior to departure, and don’t be late.  They won’t wait for you even if you”re only thirty seconds late.  They make you purchase a new ticket for a later flight.  If flights are canceled for reasons outside of their control, you won’t receive any monetary compensation.  However, if they cancel or reschedule your flight and you’re unable to work with that, they will compensate you.

Conclusion: Strict policies, but cheap prices and decent hubs.  But also remember that many discount airlines fly out of airports that are miles from the cities they claim to be in, so factor bus/cab expenses into your ticket prices as well.  Tickets can be dirt cheap, (I searched a flight from Dublin to London and it said fare was 0…?) but there are taxes, check-in fees, luggage fees, and transportation to and from the airport.  Every situation will be different, so just know what you’re getting into when you book.  Even with all these extra fees, though, these flights look super cheap.  How can a flight be free?  They only charge for tax.  It’s ridiculous!

Tomorrow: Germanwings.

Cheers,

Senoritaburrito

The most important thing to consider before purchasing a Eurail pass is how long you’re staying in Europe and what your itinerary looks like.

If you haven’t come across a Eurail pass before, it’s basically a prepaid train pass for train travel in most countries in Europe.  Their website is http://www.eurail.com/eurail_home.

Of course it’s not always that simple.  The U.K. does not use the Eurail pass.  They have their own train pass, called the Britrail, but if you’re traveling there it’s probably more economical to take their bus service.

Back to Eurail passes.  There are a multitude of different plans that you can buy.  For instance, the one I’m most interested in is the global pass, which gives me access to up to twenty European countries and from ten days to three months of travel.

I’m planning on going for eight weeks, through at least six countries…so I want a pass that will do all that.  I will probably want at least ten days of travel, and so I’ll probably choose the Global Pass with ten days of travel in two months for 387 euros plus ten euros for the pass security.  ($625.02 in U.S. dollars.)  This is for the Youth second-class (people under twenty-five).  If you want first class you’re going to pay more.

For a trip that involves a lot of train travel, or a short trip, it may be cheaper to buy individual tickets, though.  The Eurail pass does not mean you can just hop on a train whenever you want for free.  You usually have to reserve a spot beforehand and on some high-speed trains there is a supplement.  On the other hand, the Eurail pass can entitle you to discounts on other modes of transportation, like ferries and buses.

Also before you buy your Eurail pass remember that short flights in Europe can be extraordinarily cheap.  Ryanair, for example, offers flights as low as five euros.  Of course, their destinations are limited and so are the times when the extremely cheap flights are offered.  I searched for a flight from Paris to Rome (there weren’t many destinations available) for June 21 and came up with a price of 29.99 EUR.  A train ticket for the same would cost 187 US.

You really need to take into consideration the duration of your stay, your budget, the amount of traveling that you will be doing, and the countries that you will be visiting.  These all factor into how much money a Eurail pass can save you.  If you’re only doing one or two long-distance journeys then you should look at discount airlines and individual train tickets to see if they will cost you less than a pass.  On trips where you are going to multiple destinations in mainland Europe, definitely look into a Eurail pass.  It can save you a ton of money.

To further flesh out my example, let’s say that I was going to go from Paris-Brussels-Berlin-Vienna-Zagreb-Venice-Bern in June and July, peak months.  Individual tickets would cost, respectively, (for second restricted class in US dollars where available, all leaving in the evening to save on lodging) $43–$145–$297–$119–$75–$126.   Totaled up, that’s $805.  With the Eurail Global pass, you’re spending $180 less, plus you still have three more travel days to use.  That’s a significant savings, as well as getting discounts on other things.

The best way to find out what is the most economical is to do your own research and find out where you’re traveling and what individual tickets cost.  You can do this by going to http://www.raileurope.com for train tickets or for discount plane tickets, http://www.ryanair.com/site/EN/.  There are other discount airlines too, but generally even the cheapest plane tickets will cost more, and another point to air travel is the amount of security and lines that you have to go through, not to mention frequent delays.

Just take all these things in to consideration and make sure you do your own research before you go.  That’s really the thing.  You can’t just rely on someone else to tell you everything–go look it up yourself.  You’ll find the best information.

Good luck with your travel plans, and if there’s anything I can help you with, feel free to contact me!

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