In Winter 2016 I was scheduled to head to Amsterdam for a holiday with the family. That, of course, meant actually getting to Amsterdam from Belfast.
Based on my preferred timing and budget, Easyjet turned out to be the most convenient option. As Easyjet’s base in Belfast was, and remains Belfast International Airport (BFS) at Aldergrove, it also turned out to be my first time flying out of BFS.
First posted 4 April 2020. Updated 16 February 2023.
Departure experience at Belfast International Airport
Belfast International Airport is a wholly unremarkable airport, and certainly looks like it needs a good renewal program. Unfortunately that is unlikely to happen for a good number of years to come.
Once airside, there are a limited number of F&B options. In terms of affordability there really only are two choices: the Burger King and the Starbucks. The Starbucks is also a popular haunt, as it is located right by the big glass windows that offer a great view out onto the runway and tarmac.
I was lucky enough to be able to secure a seat by the window where I spent some time snapping away at the variety of Easyjet aircraft.
As boarding time approached I headed to the gate holding area which was serving between 2-3 flights at once, with the resulting queues causing a bit of congestion in the area.
Operating flight EZY6773 was G-EZFK, one of the few a/c in Easyjet’s fleet painted with the then new livery. While A319s usually feature only 1 overwing exit on each side, Easyjet’s feature 2 due to the increased passenger capacity.
I was assigned an aisle seat when I checked-in online, which meant limited views out the window.
Cabin & Onboard Amenities
It goes without saying that orange is a big component of Easyjet’s branding, lining everything from the aircraft’s exterior, to the overhead bin compartments and also in the details of the seat fabric. Perhaps the biggest (mis)use of the colour can be found in the lavatories, as an entire wall is painted orange.
Like Ryanair, Easyjet’s seats do not recline. This means if you don’t enjoy flying Ryanair, chances are you won’t enjoy flying Easyjet too especially on longer flights. On the flip side, the Airbus A320 (and its siblings) do feature a slightly more spacious cabin than the Boeing 737, which meant that the cabin didn’t feel as narrow than my Ryanair flights.
F&B are Buy-On-Board (B.O.B) on all Easyjet flights, though I did not partake of their selection on this flight.
Commentary – Easyjet or Ryanair?
At the time, Easyjet’s baggage restriction was more restrictive than Ryanair. Easyjet only allows passengers one cabin bag with the base fare, which in practice means either a small bag/backpack that fits into under the seat in front of you, or (more realistically) a bigger bag that fits into the overhead lockers.
This wasn’t particularly appealing, as I travel regularly with my DSLR stowed in my backpack when I’m not using it. Under Easyjet’s rules, I had to pack everything (including my backpack) into my roller bag to store in the overhead lockers. I then had to make do with hand carrying my DSLR all the way to the destination airport. If I wished to bring aboard a second under-the-seat bag, I would have to purchase a Flexi, Upfront, or Extra Legroom fare instead.
Ryanair on the other hand allowed 2 cabin bags with the basic fare. This suited my travel needs better, which is why Ryanair remained my LCC of choice in Europe for the years I spent in the UK and Ireland. Towards the end of my stay in Manchester in mid-2018, however, Ryanair started changing their cabin baggage policy to resemble Easyjet’s and so nowadays on Ryanair flights, you’ll have to purchase Priority & 2 Cabin Bags to allow you to bring aboard a 2nd (bigger) cabin bag, as well as allowing you to join the Priority Queue for boarding.
These days, Easyjet’s base baggage allowance favour bigger bags while Ryanair’s favour smaller personal bags, no doubt intended to encourage passengers to purchase the Priority & 2 Cabin Bags option. I’d recommend checking both airlines’ baggage policy to know exactly what you’re getting into.
Arrival at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
We landed on Schiphol’s Polderbaan runway (18R), necessitating a long taxi to the terminal. Non-Schengen LCC flights are handled at Pier H, which is visibly designed to cater to the operating requirements of LCCs, meaning no airbridges. Passengers arriving from non-Schengen European destinations are also required to undergo passport checks at border control.
Schiphol itself is well connected to the rest of the Netherlands with its integrated train station, so I’d certainly consider pairing flight+rail if I were headed somewhere out of Amsterdam.
Easyjet was certainly reliable enough as a mode of transport. But like Ryanair, your only expectation should be for it to get you to your destination on time and without giving you too much back pain.
Just ignore the bright colours, and you’ll be fine.