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Flight Review: $140 to Iceland on EasyJet is a Very Easy Decision

May 29, 2014 at 4:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

Know what sounds nice? A long weekend in Iceland. While most Americans would chose to fly Icelandair or seasonal non stops from the US on other major carriers, we managed to fit an Iceland trip into a visit to London, all because of the availability of cheap one-ways on Easyjet. What proved to be most notable about the entire EasyJet travel experience is the time spent at the airport, and not actually on the flight.

For the 7.35am departure from London's Luton Airport (LTN), we reserved a £12 4.15am National Express coach bus from Victoria Station, which arrived to LTN at 5.25am. From there, we clutched our print-at-home boarding pass and, with no luggage to check, we headed straight through to airport security. Luton seems better equipped than Heathrow to handle crowds of passengers at security as, despite the morning rush, we were through security and handled (not manhandled!) in under 10 minutes. So far, so good.

Airside, Luton is a massive food court, with the boarding gates located down hallways. Passengers find seats only in the main central area, and then stand to rush and line up at the gate the minute info screens announce their flight. This early in the morning, when budget airlines love to sell their seats cheapest, the terminal resembled a safe house during an evacuation drill. Every available seat was taken, and passengers clutched their luggage on their laps as there simply wasn't room to spread out.

The last thing we want to do an hour before a flight is squeeze into cramped seats next to strangers with morning breath, so we grabbed a half-dozen glistening Krispy Kreme donuts and ventured in the direction of where we hoped our gate would be. Down a hallway we located a few seats and here enjoyed peace, quiet, donuts, and a view of boarding Wizz Air and Monarch planes.

Speaking of boarding...since our one-way flight had totaled only $140 USD (purchased 28 days before flight) and we managed to avoid extra ticketing and baggage fees, we "upgraded" to the first few rows of the plane and speedy boarding for a few dollars more. While this ensured we'd be among the first on and off the plane, it doesn't provide any other perks. Boarding was uneventful, aside from the short outdoor walk from terminal to plane, which revealed our aircraft's amusing tail number of "G-EZFU."

EasyJet flights are, by nature, budget hops. Hops is the keyword; the airline flies only Airbus A319 or A320 jets on routes around Europe, with a couple destinations outside. One of their lengthiest routes is between London and Tel Aviv, clocking in at just under 5 hours. Even our 3-hour flight from London to Iceland is a stretch.

As such, there's no in-flight entertainment or complimentary refreshments; this is bare-bones travel. Despite the donuts we'd eaten back at Luton, the for-purchase food and drinks menu was enticing and we ended up passing an hour onboard perusing and then enjoying the selection. This is actually the area of expertise for our seatmate and friend, @inflightFeed, who swears that EasyJet's Croque Monsieur (hot ham and cheese sandwich) is "the best toasted sandwich [he has] eaten in flight to date," and trust us that this man eats a lot of in-flight sandwiches. Read his full easyJet to Iceland food review for more. We then supplemented the sandwich with a $5 kids snack box for fun.

Despite the airport mayhem and no-frills flight experience, we have to hand it to EasyJet for mostly flying to major airports. It's so nice to land at Reykjavik's Keflavik International instead of, say, Keflavik's backup, Egilsstašir, which is almost on the other side of the country. Arriving to Keflavik on an Easyjet flight doesn't mean being singled out as a budget traveler or heading to a shanty terminal; our plane arrived alongside Icelandair jets, and we used the same immigration, baggage, and airside duty-free facilities as other premium airlines.

Would we fly EasyJet again? Yes, assuming the price is still far less than that of an airline on which we could earn miles. Would we fly EasyJet to Iceland again? Probably not, but only because we discovered a better budget option on our return flight back to London. Stay tuned!

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher]

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