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Easyjet A320 economy class
CHECK-IN I arrived at London Gatwick by train from Victoria (31 minutes with Southern) at 1617 and took the stairs up to the departure level. Most Easyjet flights leave from the North Terminal except those with codes starting with a five or seven, which depart from the South Terminal. As my flight code was 8547, I jumped on the shuttle to the North Terminal, took the lift to departures, and turned right for Easyjet check-in zones G and H.
Zone G had plenty of counters open but a long queue (there were also three Speedy Boarding desks available), while Zone H was assigned for bag-drop only. As I had checked in online and printed my boarding pass the day before, I waited here (for ten minutes) until my case had been tagged and weighed.
Security was less than a minute’s walk away. I grabbed a clear plastic bag en route for my liquids and went straight through – boarding passes but not passports were checked. There were about a dozen people ahead of me at the X-ray machines so it took another ten minutes to be processed. It was relatively hassle free though with laptops taken out and jackets removed as normal. I was airside by 1650, with plenty of time until my flight at 1825.
BOARDING My gate (107) was due to open at 1730. It was a good ten-minute walk along travelators and down escalators to get there, and when I arrived at 1740 people had already formed a line. Boarding started at 1750, with boarding passes and passports checked and access to the plane provided by an airbridge.
Most passengers were on the aircraft by 1820 and, apparently, the flight was full, but when the doors closed at 1825 no one had taken the seat next to me, which was a real bonus. The crew seemed friendly, and before doing the safety demo lifted up a sandwich and asked if anyone had dropped it. No one claimed it.
THE SEAT Although Easyjet is trialing assigned seating on certain routes (click here to see which routes and how much it costs) most travellers (including those on this service) have to get whatever they can when they get on – unless they pay extra for Speedy Boarding.
Despite not having Speedy Boarding, I was still near the front of the queue so managed to get window seat 3F, which would allow me to disembark quickly on arrival. Good-size tray tables folded down from the seat-backs in front, and upholstery was the usual grey and orange. It all looked quite clean.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? There are 30 rows of seating on the A320, and unless the plane happens to be disembarking from the back as well, it is better to choose a seat near the front if you can. If you want to take your pick, get to the gate as early as you can and get in line, or book Speedy Boarding. If you are tall, opt for seats A, B or C in row one as they offer the most legroom. Exit row seats are also a good bet.
THE FLIGHT The aircraft pushed back at 1830, at which point crew did the safety demo. Take-off was 15 minutes later at 1845. Behind me, a woman started crying because she was scared but once cruising, a sensitive member of crew took the time to calm her down and reassure her.
The refreshment service began at 1900, with snacks including a “cold meat feast wedge” announced. The Boutique and Bistro seat-back magazine listed items such as Heinz tomato soup for £2.50, muffins for £2.10, Pringles for £1.75 and Nastro Azzuro beer (330ml) for £3.60.
ARRIVAL The estimated arrival time in Prague was 2010 (2110 local time in Czech), and we started the descent at 1950, landing exactly on time after a one-hour 45 –minute journey. There was a ten-minute taxi to the stand, after which disembarkation was very quick.
Immigration was three minutes away on foot and no one was ahead of me at the e-gates so I went straight through after scanning my biometric passport. I was in baggage reclaim by 2125, but the advantage I had was lost because of not being able to travel with hand-baggage only – my case didn’t come out until 2145.
VERDICT A punctual short-haul service with professional crew. I was pleased to get a window seat near the front despite not having Speedy Boarding and all in all considered the journey to be stress-free. A good flight.
SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
SEAT PITCH 30in/76cm
SEAT WIDTH 20in/51cm
SEAT RECLINE 4in/10cm
PRICE Internet rates for a return flight with Easyjet from London Gatwick to Prague in October ranged between £69 and £188.