Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Easy-Jet checked baggage procedures: demeaning, nonsensical and time-consuming.

My current trip is a complicated one, with four different destinations - Geneva, Budapest, Singapore and Sri Lanka.  Because I wanted to share the Geneva Budapest leg with a friend, I decided on a separate booking on her carrier of choice for frequent European travel, “Easy Jet.”  The experience  was not an “easy” one and I doubt it is one I will be repeating.
For reasons not clear to me, the exact weight of checked baggage has become, for some airlines, a fetishistic constraint at the time of check in.  Check-in counter staff members, whose principal function was once to welcome and facilitate have been tasked with the role of police enforcers.  The procedures are demeaning, nonsensical and time consuming.
Because of my complex travel regimen, I needed to check two bags, accepting an overage charge.  However because the second bag pushed me over some total limit that was never adequately explained, the cost of this seond small  bag was to be more than the total cost of the flight.  With the help of the agent we solved the problem.  First I removed the portable printer from the bag and stowed it in my back pack.  Still too heavy.  I removed two books - they would not fit in the bulging back pack so I placed them under my arm.  Still too heavy.  I removed a sweater and tied it around my waist.  This enabled me to cross the magic number threshold and check my now nearly empty second bag for the reasonable extra charge advertised on the Easy Jet Website.
The total weight was, of course, unchanged.  How it benefitted anyone for me to carry my portable printer in my back pack, books under my arm and a sweater around my waist, which checking a half empty bag (which I would need for future legs of the trip) I cannot imagine.  
No doubt I could unravel Easy Jet’s arcane procedures with sufficient time, as other passengers have done.  However this is not time I will be spending. I will not be booking another Easy Jet fight any time soon.  The Easy Jet staff members tasked to be enforcers are deserving of our altruistic compassion and Easy Jet passengers even more so.  

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Blogger Gillian Martin Mehers said...

As your Geneva flying partner, I am again sorry that this was such a nuisance! And you are right that regular passengers on this airline have developed elaborate work arounds (I frequently witness family members travelling with stuffed pockets and multiple layers of clothing which they then take off in the airplane and put in a second bag that they are carrying inside their hand luggage.) So people frequently walk off with more than they walk on with. As a volume carrier, I think the rationale deals somehow with time efficiency - shaving perceived minutes off of check in with one bag, and off of security (so they can have shorter/more attractive be-at-the-gate-in-advance times), and shorter passenger boarding times. However, you are right that enforcement takes them more time, both at the desk and at the gate and that must reduce their time gains considerably, even to the point of no net gain. And of course losing a customer on the long term is bad for business! Next time we'll find another way to Balaton!

10:10 PM  

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