EasyJet remains my favorite European budget airline, though it is essential to prepare yourself for longer flights. How is service to Israel on EasyJet?
We “chose” EasyJet for my trip to Israel, though it was hardly a difficult choice. Not only was EasyJet the only carrier that offered nonstop flights between Basel and Tel Aviv, it was also (by far) the cheapest. We paid about $130 round-trip per ticket, which is just amazing. The price would have been 3x higher had we gone to Zurich and flew EL-AL or SWISS.
In Basel, there was a special check-in desk for the Tel Aviv flight, though the “security interview” took only a few moments. We were traveling only with hand baggage, at my insistence. Not only did this save us money, but my goodness, who needs more than a large carry-on bag on a short vacation?
After visiting the EuroAirport Skyview Lounge (for about five minutes…), we passed through passport control and joined the boarding line. The overhead bins were apparently full because we were told immediately we would need to check our bags (for free). That was annoying because we did not bring any personal items, just our three bags. But after gathering some items to keep Augustine occupied, some books, and my computer we boarded via stairs.
It was a very nippy morning, though Israel would not be that much warmer.
Basel (BSL) — Tel Aviv (TLV)
Sunday, January 05
Duration: 04hr, 05min
Onboard, we found our seats in row 28 and settled in. I always give my wife Heidi the window seat when we travel, but little Augustine claimed it immediately and my wife graciously let him take it. She took the middle seat and I took the aisle.
Even before takeoff Augustine fell asleep and slept for about two hours…
As the sun rose, service began. In my Meal of the Week post I already outlined my breakfast onboard, but we ordered a ham and cheese sandwich, some porridge, coffee, water, and potato chips. In total, the meal cost 15EUR.
The tray tables on EasyJet are small and legroom is tight. As a result, I just could not get in a comfortable position to work. As an upside, I did use the time to catch up on some reading, which was enjoyable. When Augustine woke up, he enjoyed his porridge.
EasyJet squeezes two lavatories in the back where other airlines would normally place just one in. One is directly behind the crew seat and quite narrow.
The lady in front of me decided to take a nap with her head sticking out in the aisle. As you might guess, flight attendants conducted another beverage/snack run before landing and smacked her head. She screamed loudly then glared angrily at the flight attendants. They apologized, but clearly did not care.
I passed the remainder of the flight by practicing vocabulary with Augustine from the in-flight menu.
We landed on-time in Tel Aviv, were bussed to the terminal (passing decommissioned EL-AL 747s), then faced huge immigration lines (so annoying with a young child…).
All things considered, no complaints about the flight. Power plugs, wi-fi, and more space would be nice, but for $65 I feel I received a great deal.
* * *
After a great week in Israel, It was time to head back.
EasyJet uses Terminal 1 in Tel Aviv, the budget terminal which offers limited amenities and no lounge. After our security interview and long queue for metal detector screening, we had a cup of coffee before boarding the flight home to Basel.
Tel Aviv (TLV) — Basel (BSL)
Sunday, January 12
Duration: 04hr, 35min
As always, the flight departed from a remote stand, which required descending stairs, boarding a bus, then climbing stairs again.
The “IFE” was a constant temptation for Augustine:
Heidi did not enjoy this flight. She found the cabin staff to be “extremely rude”. I should let her explain why, because my limited interactions with the crew were not negative. Apparently some terse words were exchanged while I was in the lavatory about overhead bin space.
Anyway, Augustine fell asleep again, though only slept for about an hour. Like last time, the space was just too constrained to work effectively so I passed the time reading myself then reading to Augustine.
Heidi had a cup of coffee, but we did not eat anything else on this flight (still full from the amazing breakfast spread at The Jaffa).
As we approached Basel, we were treated to beautiful views of the Alps and the early winter sunset.
We were delayed about 40 minutes out of Tel Aviv and did not make up any time enroute, driving into Basel around 5:40PM.
EasyJet was clean, reliable (despite the delay), and a great value. I would not hesitate to fly EasyJet to Israel again, though I would have preferred SWISS or EL-AL had the flights priced in a similar range.
Have you taken EasyJet to Israel before? Share your experience below.