Easyjet is Europe’s second largest low-cost carrier, after Ryanair. Like Ryanair, they have an extensive route network that compete with flag carriers and charter airlines on many popular holiday destinations. Dalaman is the gateway to Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and receives as many as 10 daily Easyjet flights during peak months. During a lull in the global pandemic, travel opened-up to Turkey. We decided to fly from Gatwick to the eastern Mediterranean for some late summer sun. Read on for our experience of an Easyjet flight to Dalaman during coronavirus.
Flight No: EZY8847
From/To: London (LGW) to Dalaman (DLM)
Departure time: 07:15
Ticket Class: Economy
Flight time: 3 hours 50 mins
In this review:
- Check-in & Security
- Aircraft Configuration
- Amenity Kit & Washrooms
- In-flight Entertainment
- Drinks Service
- Food Service
- BG1 Verdict
Check-in & Security
- The Good
- Not too busy
- Ample space to social distance in the queue
- The Bad
- The man inspecting passports in the check-in queue was in dire need of retraining
- Self check-in machines were a challenge for some older passengers
- Social distancing fell apart through security
Our Easyjet flight to Dalaman during coronavirus started at an ungodly hour of the morning in the deserted North Terminal at London Gatwick Airport. One perk – the only perk – of being at the airport this early for a flight was the absence of people. We don’t usually mind Gatwick’s crowds as we tend do Fast Track security and wait in the lounge. With Fast Track security and most lounges closed because of coronavirus, we were glad to be some of the first passengers through the airport that day.
There was a single queue serving all the check-in desks. At the front of the line, an Easyjet staff member stood at a stand behind a sheet of perspex. He said nothing to people as they approached, but then barked “passport and boarding pass please” the moment anyone tried to pass. After pressing these documents against the plastic screen, he’d then either say “OK” or just look towards the queue. We think that also meant it was OK to pass.
Automated check-in desks
The automated check-in desks were pretty efficient, although we did see one or two people struggling with the technology. Staff were floating around offering support, when requested.
Not so socially distanced security
We found a lengthy queue when we arrived at security. Snaking halfway down the terminal, we estimate it took us 15 minutes to reach the entrance. There was little in the way of social distancing in the queue, and none at all once we got into the security screening area. Whether due to passenger volumes or simply because people didn’t want to comply, social distancing was absent throughout the rest of our journey through the terminal.
Having booked an economy Easyjet flight, there was no chance of lounge access being included. That being said, there are a good variety of paid lounges in Gatwick’s North Terminal. Read about the one’s we’ve visited and see if any take your pick.
- The Good
- On time
- Crew wearing masks
- The Bad
- Missed opportunity to offer boarding by row number
- No social distancing at gate area
Boarding our Easyjet to Dalaman flight during coronavirus was pretty typical. Essentially, little had changed from the pre-COVID era. We could tell this was disappointing for passengers attempting to travel safely.
Everyone was crowded into a small holding area by the gate while the aircraft was prepared. Perhaps rules around social distancing weren’t applied once entering the gate area? We found there was insufficient floor space for everyone to stay 2 metres apart. Unlike BA, there was no attempt to try and manage boarding from the rear to the front of the aircraft. Those who’d purchased Speedy Boarding went first, followed by everyone else. Because nobody was boarding in order, there was plenty of pushing past one another in the aisle, once inside the aircraft.
Walk to your plane
After clearing the gate formalities, passengers had to walk to the aircraft across the tarmac. It didn’t seem that far compared to the walk we’d just done from the centre of North Terminal to the gate(!!). That said, request assistance if excessive numbers of steps and ramps bother you.
We were greeted by cabin crew wearing face coverings and, despite the usual Easyjet boarding melee, they managed to get everyone on the aircraft swiftly enough for an on time departure.
Before departure, the crew made announcements about the importance of wearing face coverings throughout the journey. They also informed us that no more than 2 people should be stood up waiting to use the washrooms.
Aircraft type: Airbus A321-251NX
Number of classes: 1
Number of seats in flying class: 235
Position: right-hand side of the aircraft, 16 rows from the front
- The Good
- Clean and well-stocked
- Well-managed maximum queue of 2 people
- No long waits
- The Bad
- Cramped – may be a challenge for those with restricted mobility
- Access to the rear washrooms often blocked by crew
Toilets on these aircraft always feel like an afterthought. For flights under 2 hours, the onboard washrooms really are for ’emergencies’ when people forgot to go in the terminal. With Easyjet’s longer routes (4 hours +), the toilet becomes an essential onboard amenity to most passengers, but is provided the same way as the shorter routes. They’re not easy to reach. You’ll have to pass the trolley permanently wedged somewhere along the aisle and then ask the crew in the galley to move to get the door open. When inside, it’s a little larger than coffin.
Because of COVID-19, the crew made announcements throughout the flight asking for no more than 2 people to be waiting for the toilet at any one time. A couple of passengers were asked to go and sit back down. Most waited in their seats, although it got confusing who was next to stand-up – lots of heads bobbing up and down!
- The Good
- New cabin and seat
- Adjustable air nozzles over the seat
- The Bad
- 29″ seat pitch – one of the lowest out there
- Slim-line seats have limited padding and support
- No recline!
It was a fairly new aircraft, so the leather covered seats felt new. It was the thinner, lightweight design we’re seeing on the newest aircraft operated by budget carriers. They no doubt reduce the overall weight of the plane, so reduce fuel costs for the airline. Like a bus seat, they’re perfectly adequate for a short journey, but become uncomfortable and quite unsuitable for longer flights.
Poor posture support
There was little in the way of support – the seat doesn’t curve around your back, so no lateral support. The cushions are incredible thin, so your bottom and lower back have little to sink into. With no adjustable head rest or “wings”, there was no lateral support for my head and neck. On top of all that, the seats don’t recline, so your muscles will need to do plenty of work throughout the flight holding your body into the shape of the seat. Beyond 3 hours and I’d say most adults will have comfort issues in the seat. I had excruciating neck and shoulder pain on landing – luckily, the hotel had a traditional hamam where I got it massaged out!
Legroom was fine for someone of average height, like me, but taller passengers would struggle to stretch their legs out and their knees would touching the back of the seat in front of them.
If you do or don’t like cabin air being blown into your face, there was an adjustable airflow nozzle in the panel above the seat.
There have been reports of some airlines leaving middle seats empty, or flying with reduced capacity. Our Easyjet flight was fully-booked and every seat around us was occupied. We knew that would be the case when we booked, but thought it worthy of a mention in case some of our readers anticipate having spare seats around them.
Access & Storage
Before traveling, we received an email from Easyjet informing us that Turkish authorities didn’t want any luggage in the overhead bins. They asked if all passengers could check their bags in. The only exception was for small bags, handbags, laptops and briefcases – has anyone carried a briefcase in the last 20 years??!
Following a requirement from Turkish regulatory authorities, passengers travelling into or out of Turkish airports will only be allowed to bring on one small bag, no larger than 45cm x 36cm x 20cm. If your cabin bag is larger than this, it will not be permitted on board. Please visit the easyJet Bag Drop before you pass through Security, and we will place it in the aircraft hold for free, provided it is within your standard cabin bag allowance (56cm x 45cm x 25cm). If you arrive at Bag Drop or the departure gate with hand baggage larger than this, the standard bag charges will apply. If you would like to purchase a 15kg, 23kg, or 30kg hold bag, you can add that to your flight via Manage Booking.
Because of these new rules, there was ample space in the overhead bins.
Easyjet seats are not designed for sleeping. There’s no recline, so you’re flying fully upright. If you nod-off, expect a nasty crick in your neck. Consider how long you’d be comfortable trying to sleep on a bus when considering long or red-eye Easyjet flights.
As it was an Easyjet to Dalaman during coronavirus, the aircraft appeared to have undergone a decent clean before we boarded. Arm rests and tray tables appeared to have been wiped. The floor area around the seat was free from debris.
Power & Wi-Fi
There was no at seat power or Wi-Fi on this Easyjet A321 flight to Dalaman.
What is the best seat on an Easyjet A321?
If you want extra legroom, take the seats over the wings on rows 18 and 19. Avoid at the front row and last two rows at the rear. Congestion around the toilet will be bothersome. That said, if you have a weaker bladder, taking seats right or the back should mean fewer battles in the aisle with the trolley. No seats on the aircraft recline, so you won’t be missing this in any seat!
See the seating plan on SeatGuru.
This is usually the place we score a flight on its in-flight entertainment. It’s unfair for us to do this for Easyjet, as they offer a low-cost product and don’t provide entertainment. Bring a book, a newspaper, or download something to your phone.
Because of COVID-19, Easyjet’s in-flight magazine is no longer handed out. There’s a digital copy available inside the Easyjet: Traveller app, download it free from the iOS and Android App Stores. Find out more about the app at: https://traveller.easyjet.com/
- The Good
- Good selection of beers, wines, spirits, non-alcoholic hot and cold beverages
- Once the crew have done the first (slow) round of service, the trolley moves up and down the cabin a lot quicker
- The Bad
- It will take a while for the trolley service to first reach you seat
The trolley service was operating on this Easyjet flight to Dalaman during coronavirus. Paper magazines and menus weren’t allowed, so we needed to scan a QR code on the back of the seat to download a menu app. With no Wi-Fi onboard, we needed do this BEFORE the plane took off.
If coffee is your thing, the onboard brew sadly isn’t up to much. Buy one from the many “proper” coffee joints in Gatwick North Terminal and bring it on with you.
We wonder how long it’ll take for Easyjet to install Wi-Fi that will allow customers to place at-seat orders using the app. Surely that’s more efficient than having a trolley permanently wedged in the aisle?
- The Good
- Some hot food was available
- Not overly expensive
- The Bad
- Largely junk food
- Quality wasn’t great – better options found in the terminal before you board
Food was the usual array of salty crips, salty olives, chewy paninis and “meal deals” We decided to quell our desire to graze and afford our bowels a pleasant start to our Turkish jaunt.
If you think you’ll be hungry mid-flight, we’d recommend buying food in the terminal and bringing it onboard. Nobody minds.
There was one apparent perk to consuming food or drink on our Easyjet to Dalaman flight during coronavirus; it was the one reason you could remove your face covering. We noticed plenty of passengers who’d realised this and were merrily drinking and grazing their way through the 4-hour flight. Perhaps the rule-makers didn’t think that one through?
- The Good
- Air bridge walkway straight into the terminal
- Very efficient immigration and baggage delivery
Our Easyjet to Dalaman arrival during coronavirus was quick, simply and entirely uneventful; exactly how we like it! We disembarked the aircraft directly into the main terminal building via an air bridge. After a short walk, we breezed through immigration and waited barely 5 minutes at the baggage carousel.
- The Good
- Great value for money
- Crew worked throughout the flight to remind everyone to remain safe
- The Bad
- Seat was too uncomfortable for flights over 3 hours
- The face mask rule makes little sense when you can remove it to eat and drink for the whole flight
Easyjet is a great airline. It has been connecting the masses with fantastic destinations across Europe while other airlines have been struggling to make half as many routes profitable. As a passenger, however, the perceived value for money begins to decline rapidly on longer Easyjet flights. Comfort becomes a lot more important as your flight time creeps into 3 or 4 hours. Our Easyjet flight to Dalaman during coronavirus felt a little too long to deliver the right level of comfort and felt like a false economy. For the price we paid, it wouldn’t be fair to suggest Easyjet didn’t deliver. We got what we paid for and just suffered buyer’s remorse. It wasn’t the right choice for us. Backs, necks, shoulders and bums start to complain after a while, and those complaints are worth paying to prevent.
Is it a good option if you’re concerned about Coronavirus? It’s probably the same as other economy options. There wasn’t a spare seat on the flight and a lot of people weren’t wearing masks for sizeable chunks of the flight while they ate/drank. Whether or not that presents a risk isn’t something we know enough about to comment on. If you’re particularly concerned, air travel might not be advisable right now. Alternatively, consider travelling in a premium cabin with Turkish Airlines or British Airways. Fewer passengers and more space in the cabin might lessen the anxiety.
Our crew did a great job at keeping everyone safe (and compliant) and well-served throughout the flight. The hard product was the problem here. A reclinable seat and a little more legroom would’ve made for a far nicer journey!
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