Thursday, 3 December 2020

No more free overhead luggage lockers for the majority of easyJet passengers - no baggage policy to start next year.

So it has now been confirmed that easyJet is changing its luggage policy and start charging extra for bags in the overhead luggage lockers.

If you want to use the overhead baggage bins you'll need to buy a higher-priced ticket, or you'll need to put your cabin bag under the seat in front of you.  Of course, that will reduce the room for your feet and shrink the already limited legroom even further.  More DVT's on the way, I'd expect.

From 10th  February 2021, the new policy will come into effect and means all customers can take a small under-seat bag onboard flights free of charge, of course, this must fit under the seat in front  (max 45x36x20cm).   

People who have paid for extra legroom seats or seats in the Up Front of the aircraft will be able to take a larger (max 56x45x25cm) bag to go in the overhead lockers.  But worth bearing in mind is that there are between 42 and 63 'up front' and 'extra' legroom seats on each flight, depending on the aircraft type, so you might not be as close to the front as you might have wished or thought you would be. 

easyJet Plus cardholders and those paying for the FLEXI fare type will also be entitled to take on an additional cabin bag for the overhead locker -  but this is subject to space onboard.  

The airline says it is making the change to "reduce queue times during boarding and other associated delays which occur due to putting excess cabin bags in the hold and so the move will lead to improved punctuality for all customers."  however the airline has refused to disclose how many flights were delayed due to cabin bags having to be removed and placed in the aircraft hold. 

Robert Carey, Chief Commercial & Customer Officer for easyJet said:  "Punctuality is important to our customers and we know that if they have their bags placed into the hold at the gate due to the limited space onboard this can cause flight delays, and it can be frustrating for them too. Our new policy will improve boarding and punctuality for everyone, as well as give our customers certainty of what they will have with them onboard. 

Customers with existing bookings from 10 February will be offered Hands Free for free, allowing them to travel with their cabin bag at no extra cost."

‘Hands Free’, sounds good, but really it is just another name for hold baggage,  as people who pay for this option can take a large cabin bag to the Plus Bag Drop and it'll be returned on arrival as the normal baggage reclaim carousel.  It costs £7 per bag per flight, but as it is in the hold, it isn't really a cabin bag and is not usual for things needed for the flight or passing through the airside section of the airport. 

The new cabin bag policy will also apply to easyJet holidays customers, however, all easyJet holidays continue to include 23kg of hold luggage per person as standard. 

The move has been met with some hostility by passengers, travel organisers and consumer organisations alike.  The Express newspaper is reporting that Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, says customers should do a lot of research before booking with easyJet,  saying "While this decision has been framed as a means of improving boarding and punctuality, airlines make millions from the sale of flight add-ons, so passengers would be forgiven for thinking this is nothing but EasyJet finding a new way to get more cash out of them.

With Easyjet primarily serving holiday destinations, this new baggage allowance will be of little use to many passengers, who will now feel they have no choice but to pay more.

We'd advise people to do a proper flight fare comparison before choosing who to fly with, and look at the total price – other carriers may have a higher headline price, but could work out cheaper overall once add-ons like baggage are factored in.".

Most commentators believe this is just another way of easyJet making money out of every customer,  which follows a similar change from Wizz and Ryanair.  Unfortunately,  it just adds to the poor reputation low-cost- airlines have in the UK and Europe, which is, let's face it, down near the bottom of the heap.  easyJet had, until recently, been one of the most respected low-cost-carriers, with more business passengers than its budget rivals. As most laptop bags will not fit in the small cabin bag space, they may not find it cost advantageous to travel with the airline again.  The logic of alienating more people,  just when your airline will is needing to encourage as many folks to book flights as possible, is a bit lacking in my view. 

The bottom line is, easyJet slips down in the reputation and customer satisfaction stakes,  it makes the total cost of easyJet flights more expensive and therefore less attractive to many. It may very well encourage more aggravation and hostility in the cabin when a bag that's supposed to be placed under the seat is put in the overhead luggage lockers.  It is clearly less about reducing delays and more about raking in more money by squeezing every last penny out of passengers as humanly possible.  

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