On Monday night I was booked on an Easyjet flight from Belfast to London, and then another from London to Tallinn on Tuesday morning. Inbetween times I had arranged to stay with MWK. As my new life has encouraged me to massively trim back on the amount of stuff I own, I decided to arrive not just with gifts for his children, and some Finnish liquorice pipes and Moomin lollipops, but also a whole bunch of crazy books that I thought needed a better home than just a charity shop.
I realised that if was going to be able to deliver everything I wanted, I’d be over my luggage allowance, so I decided to be pro-active and book an extra stowed bag via the Easyjet website.
Suitably pre-arranged, I arrived at Belfast Airport to discover that my 42kg wasn’t just a little over my 2 x 20kg limit (but hey, no big deal, I can put a few extra things in my hand luggage if they’re really going to be picky), but a lot over my 1 x 20kg limit.
It took me a while to work out what they were saying, as it just sounded so completely insane. Even after the ensuing fight with the check-in attendant, I had to go confirm it with their ticket desk, as it couldn’t possibly be true.
But, indeed, scarily it is.
If you pre-book extra bags (the website helpfully allows you to purchase room for between 1 and 8 extra), you are indeed allowed to check in extra bags. But … you can’t actually put anything in them!
Well, that’s not technically true. You can move some of the stuff that would otherwise have been in your first bag into them, but you can’t put anything extra into them. Your weight allowance remains fixed at 20kg. Anything above that is still charged at £5/kg.
So, if you had gone on a huge spending spree and availed of their generous “8 extra bags” offer, the only thing you’re really buying is the ability to ensure that each bag has an average weight of no more than 2.2kg. If you actually arrived at the airport mistakenly thinking that you had bought an extra weight allowance, your now filled extra bags would cost you an extra £800.
The Easyjet staff were obnoxiously smug about this, in a “Wahey! We’ve caught out another idiot” way, explaining with glee that the website explains all this clearly.
I guess it does, if you make sure you read the small print, have a degree in advanced logic, and have a lawyer’s mind that knows that just because you’ve paid extra money for something, it doesn’t mean that what you’re going to get is what you actually wanted, and thought you were buying.
I get paid to program computers. I should have known better. But pick an average person on the street and try to explain the difference between “all bags must weigh less than 20kg” and “each bag must weigh less than 20kg”. I’m having a really hard time believing that Easyjet aren’t being deliberately obnoxious here, knowing that the vast majority of people will arrive at the airport and have no choice but to pay the extra fee.
But they’ve now joined KLM on my list of airlines never to fly on unless there’s absolutely no alternative.