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18 Easyjet tricks

How to manipulate the budget behemoth

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Sally | Edited by Guy

Updated 3 Oct 2016

Easyjet is the UK's biggest airline – and its booking complexity means there are a host of clever tricks to help bring down costs if you know what you're doing.

Always compare against the best alternatives using our Cheap Flights guide, and also see our Ryanair Tips guide for more budget flight MoneySaving – but if you're looking to bag a bargain flight with the orange-loving airline, read on.

Beat the school hols price hike with the 'book the wrong date' trick

No matter which airline you fly with, prices fluctuate wildly according to demand – especially during the school holidays. Yet with Easyjet, we've found a clever way to battle price hikes. Its 'Flexifares' let you switch dates by a few weeks without paying extra. It works at any time of year – but it's particularly useful when prices really take off.

The idea is to book a Flexifare on the same route at a less busy time when flights are cheaper. Do note that restrictions mean you can only move the phantom ticket one week earlier or three weeks later, so you can't just book any old date.

You'll usually pay more than a standard flight for a Flexifare ticket, but as you'll get the flexibility to switch dates, so long as it's cheaper than the cost of a peak time standard ticket you win. Plus as an added bonus you'll also get speedy boarding and one piece of hold luggage (max 20kg) free per person.

Provided there’s capacity, 24 hours after booking you can switch to the dates you originally wanted at no extra charge, possibly saving you £100s. (It's worth noting Flexifares aren't available on every flight and are only available 120 days in advance.)

MSE Steve saved a cool £431 on flights to Sardinia (read his blog here):

We had to go away in the last week of May – prices were through the roof because it was half-term. Flights for the family, travelling at the weekend with luggage, cost £836 all-in. But booking flexi-flights two weeks earlier cost just £405. After a nervous 24-hour wait we switched them to the weekend we wanted.

Forumite Green1960 used the trick on flights to Lanzarote:

When we went on the Easyjet website the flights were over £1,500 including bags. We then booked the flexi flights, which were £848 – a saving of £700. A bit nerve-wracking for the 24 hours, but we know it works.

Please note, some of our forumites have reported a hike in Easyjet's flexifare tickets so this may not work. If it has for you, we'd like to know about it on the Easyjet tricks forum thread.

How to do it: full step-by-step help

Use the Easyjet refund trick to get the difference if the price drops after you've booked

If you've booked a flight with Easyjet, check the price afterwards to see if it drops. The airline's little-known price promise guarantees that if you do find the same flight for less after booking, you'll get the difference back as a credit voucher.

You'll need to have booked direct though and you won’t get the difference back if the lower price you’ve found is a sale price.

'I received a £280 voucher within minutes'

Sonia told us of her success on flights to Spain:

After reading your info on the Easyjet price promise I discovered the price of five return flights I'd booked to Alicante for May 2016 had gone down. I rang the number you provided and received a voucher for £279 within minutes! I advised my brother-in-law - he received a voucher for £130. All thanks to this wonderful website!

Maria also emailed her refund success after booking family flights:

I've just got Easyjet to refund me £450 for some August flights, but paid for in January. Now they are selling them cheaper, so hey presto their price promise works! Albeit the money comes in the form of vouchers, but as a family who travel a bit, this will come in VERY handy – thank you MSE.

And Jo got a huge refund on her summer break:

After seeing your weekly email, it reminded me to check our Easyjet flights to Menorca. Well, we managed to get an £803 voucher! We wanted to book a winter break, so the flights are now covered, all thanks to your website.

How do I make a claim?

  • Step 1. Check if the price has dropped. Compare the price Easyjet's website lists with what you paid. If it's cheaper, and there isn't a sale on, then you should be able to claim the difference. Don’t forget the final price you paid may include extras such as baggage, seat selection and a card fee, so factor that all in.

  • Step 2. Call to claim your voucher. Have your booking reference and flight details to hand, then call Easyjet customer service on 0330 365 5000 (as it's an 03 number, the call will be part of your minutes allowance or cost no more than a standard number). You have to call – you can't claim by email or letter.

  • Step 3. Use your credit voucher within six months, by phone only. The difference in price will be sent to you as an Easyjet credit voucher by email, usually immediately. However if you don't get it, check your spam folder. You'll then have six months to use it on any Easyjet flight – you'll have to call up when booking but Easyjet says you'll always pay the price it quotes online.

Quick question

Does this trick work on other airlines?

Boost your hand luggage allowance using a duty-free carrier bag

Easyjet normally has a strict hand luggage limit of just one item – so you can only take one small suitcase or handbag, laptop bag etc. It's a far stricter policy than some of its rivals (even Ryanair).

However, there is a loophole to get a second bag on, and it lies in duty-free, post-security shopping. In addition to your standard hand luggage allowance Easyjet allows you to take one duty-free bag on board (see its full baggage policy).

Now it's worth noting that officially Easyjet says this must be "one standard-size bag of duty-free goods from the departure lounge in the airport" – and of course, we're not suggesting you purchase unnecessarily.

But if you do have a carrier bag from duty-free, it'll give you some room for manoeuvre when you walk through the departure gate. Some flyers report they've been able to stuff the odd item which won't fit in their hand luggage into it, or even a handbag – others say they've successfully boarded with a carrier bag they brought with them specially.

Take squishable hand luggage – it can defy size limit restrictions

Like most airlines, Easyjet has specific hand luggage size restrictions – but while size matters, the type of bag you take can make a big difference too.

Holdalls can carry all you need, and are likely to fit into the overhead lockers even when they're mostly full of hard–sided wheelie cases. Plus you're more likely to be able to cram one into the bins all hand luggage must fit into if asked to prove it's the right size.

It's also possible that staff may let a holdall through even if it's slightly bigger than the rules for cabin luggage allow.

Now – the cheapest time to book millions of seats? Includes Easter 2017

Easyjet's prices are fluid and move based on demand for any particular flight. When they're released, they're usually priced cheaply, then this can change quickly depending on how many are booking. So if you can pounce when they're launched, you're often getting the very cheapest deal.

When does it launch the tickets?

They're released in five tranches throughout the year. Easyjet's prices are based on demand, so be ready to buy on the day it launches a new wave of tickets and you're likely to get a good deal.

Tickets for travel from 26 Mar 2017 to 25 Jun 2017, including flights over Easter and May half-term, went on sale on Thu 6 Oct 2016. Easyjet says some 23.5 million seats are covered by the latest release.

Lots of MoneySavers managed to find bargains on recent seat-release days, eg:

If you've managed to bag cheap seats by booking on the day, tell us in the forum.

Will I definitely get the cheapest tickets as soon as they're released?

There's no way to know that. If there's no demand for a flight, prices could come down. Plus Easyjet does occasionally run flight sales, and there's also the chance it changes its pricing policy.

But in the past, booking on seat-release day has worked well – and booking in the days after has normally ensured a decent price too. Only book if it feels right and always do a flight comparison to see if other airlines can beat it.

Trick to get a refund if the price drops after you book

Easyjet's 'get the difference refunded' policy means if the price drops after you've booked, you're entitled to the difference back in Easyjet vouchers. (However, it is worth noting if the price is cut due to a sale, you don't get the difference back.)

Easyjet's ticket release calendar

You can currently book flights up to 25 Jun 2017. If you're looking for tickets for flights after that, see below for Easyjet's schedule of release dates.

Travel period

Tickets go on sale

Up to 25 Jun 17

Already on sale

26 Jun 17 – 10 Sep 17 Nov 2016

11 Sep 17 – 28 Oct 17

Dec 2016

If you 'like' Easyjet's Facebook page it'll give you a heads up a few days before new seats are released. You can also sign up to Easyjet's email to get an alert on the day the tickets are released (ensure you don't opt out of receiving special offers and promotions otherwise you won't get email alerts).

Going with a family, couple or group? Book in one go to avoid multiple admin fees

Easyjet charges a one-off £14 admin fee on every booking, regardless of how many people are flying. So an easy way to avoid paying it multiple times is to pay for all flights in one go, assuming you've got the room on your card to do it.

The only problem you may face is keeping track of who owes what and ensuring everyone pays you back, if they need to.

Check in 30 days in advance for a better seat on your flight – at NO extra cost

Unlike other airlines, Easyjet lets you check in and allocates you a seat 30 days before you fly, free. You'll have to pay if you want a specific seat, but the earlier you check in, the more likely it is that you get allocated a better seat and avoid being sandwiched between Jabba the Hut and Godzilla.

If you don't want to take the risk and would prefer to reserve a seat when you book, Easyjet charges anything from £1.99 for a basic seat on a short flight to £19.99 to stretch out in the front row on a longer trip (for a list of costs, see Easyjet's fees and charges).

Whether you pay or just check-in for free 30 days ahead, don't leave it until the last minute. Many seats will already have been snapped up and there's a greater chance you'll be sat away from your family, partner or friends.

The best bet is to check in online (and secure your seats) as early as possible.

Travelling with kids? You DON'T have to pay extra to sit near them

Many budget airlines charge a 'family tax', whereby parents have to fork out up to £15 extra each, per flight, simply to guarantee they can sit next to their children. We're campaigning for this to change – see the MSE calls for airlines to scrap 'family tax' MSE news story for more.

Easyjet however doesn't charge parents extra. It says it will seat parents next to children even if they don't pay to reserve a seat, although there's no such guarantee for other passengers travelling in groups.

Trick to check in luggage for free

If you'd prefer not to lug heavy luggage or want the convenience of putting your bags in the hold without paying the standard fee of up to £45, there's a clever way to get hand luggage-sized bags checked in for free.

Overhead lockers get full quickly on busy flights so staff often ask for volunteers to check in their hand luggage. So ask if it's an option at the gate (or even check-in), and you may be able to stow your gear in the hold free of charge.

If you do this, remember to pack a small bag within the luggage you hope to check in, so if you're successful you can whip it out and use it to carry your actual hand luggage. And remember you won't be able to pack lots of liquids, as you may have to take the bag through security as if it was hand luggage (or even take it onto the plane – this trick doesn't always work).

What size of bag can I take?

Easyjet's cabin luggage maximum is 56 x 45 x 25cm, including wheels, handles etc. If you're hoping to get it checked in free, ensure it's no bigger than this otherwise they could still charge you.

It's worth remembering too than on Easyjet there's no weight limit for hand luggage (see more below). So a good option if you're weighed down is to put the heavier stuff in your hand luggage, then try and get it checked in for free so you don't have to haul it around.

Avoid sky-high food prices – pack a mile-high picnic instead

It's a little known fact than mid-air picnics are perfectly within the rules – it's only liquids over 100ml that are banned for security reasons.

Protect your pennies and plan ahead – stocking up on snacks could save a fortune compared to flight prices, and even prices in the shops after security. For instance, when we checked, an Easyjet ham and cheese sandwich cost £4.50. Even at inflated airport prices, a Boots Meal Deal is around £4, and it comes with a drink and a snack as well.

Easyjet may call its in-flight food a 'bistro' to make it sound fancy-schmancy, but according to those at MSE Towers who've sampled it, well, let's just say it isn't going to win Masterchef. So bringing your own food may mean you win on taste as well as price.

And the food doesn't have to be boring, either. Why not make it part of the holiday and theme it around where you're going – chorizo and olives for Spain, cold pizza for Italy, sausages and sauerkraut for Germany? Check out the forum for a host of ideas – plus if you've a good one, join the discussion and add your own.

Board earlier to ensure you and your luggage stick together

Yes, it really is worth getting in the queue as soon as you can.

As with most airlines – and those that fly short-haul in particular – storage space in Easyjet cabins is at a premium. If you board late, there is a chance the overhead lockers near you may be full, meaning you may be forced to put your bag at the other end of the plane.

So to avoid negotiating the scrum to collect in once you've landed, or annoying other passengers if you need something from it during the flight, get to the gate and queue early.

Think carefully about how you pay – debit is cheaper but if an individual flight's over £100, credit is safer

You used to be able to tool up with niche payment cards to avoid some admin fees. However nowadays most fees are pretty much standard no matter how you pay.

The safest way to pay for flights over £100 is on a credit card (fully repaid so there's no interest) – then you get Section 75 protection. This means the card company's jointly liable if anything goes wrong. But with flights, it's not quite as straightforward as this.

Under Section 75 each flight counts as a transaction. So if you book a return where each leg is £50, even though the total is £100, you're not covered. Each individual single flight would need to be £100 or more to get the extra protection.

Easyjet charges a credit card fee of 2%, plus a £14 admin fee per booking, so you need to balance the risk versus the cost.

Debit card payments get some protection too

Avoid expensive Easyjet extras such as car hire, hotels and travel insurance – always check prices independently

Once you've chosen your flight, Easyjet will try to bombard you with extras such as hotels, car hire and travel insurance.

While all can be useful or important, don't fall for the flashy graphics, and always check prices elsewhere before booking.

Take travel insurance. Buying it via airlines or holiday agents/brokers is usually far costlier than doing a comparison and finding your own policy (see Travel Insurance for full help finding one).

When we looked, Easyjet was offering single trip insurance on a trip to Naples for £11 per person – for single trip bought separately, prices start at around £5 for an individual Europe policy.

For our top tips to cutting costs, check our Cheap Travel Insurance, Cheap Hotels and Cheap Car Hire guides.

There's no weight limit for hand-luggage – pack right, and you might be able to take more than you think

Like other budget airlines, Easyjet is pretty strict with its hand luggage policy in terms of the size of your bag – its maximum allowed bag is no more than 56 x 45 x 25cm. But crucially there's no weight limit. As long as you can carry and stow it, you're good to go – far better than the likes of Thomas Cook, which restricts hand luggage to a measly 6kg.

You do still have to contend with (what some may consider) a small bag but you may be able to squeeze in more than you think. Here are some general packing tips – if you've got more you'd like to share, let us know in the forum.

Stick to carry-on rules

Don't buy posh travel-size toiletries

Buy cheap, lightweight cases

Take a soft case

Take travel laundry wash

Leave space for your return

Watch MSE Rose packing like a pro

To really push hand luggage packing to the max, watch this top packing tips video from former MSE team member Rose, who is now studying a PhD (though we don't think it's in luggage packing). She has tons of experience flying on budget airlines and there's nothing like a visual demonstration to help you master the art too.

Top packing tips for flying hand-luggage only

With MSE Rose – filmed on 23 July 2013

Trick to get an extra piece of cabin luggage from as little as £7 each way

If your luggage won't fit into your cabin bag but you don't have a huge amount extra to bring, there's a neat trick to get an extra cabin bag from as little as £7 each way - and some extra room to stretch your legs into the bargain.

If you book an extra legroom seat, you're entitled to take an extra bag in the cabin (maximum size 45 x 36 x 20cm - the usual Easyjet small cabin bag restriction). It works the same if you book an upfront seat - those in the first three rows of the plane - too.

Prices for extra legroom and upfront seats range from £6.99 to £19.99 each way. You need to check the prices for your flight, but that can considerably undercut the extra £13 to £30 each way you'll pay to check in an extra bag.

Always decide how much luggage you'll need and book checked bags in advance

To max a budget flight and keep costs down, hand luggage is obviously best. But if the thought of limiting your holiday luggage to a small case leaves you feeling cold, always pay in advance to check luggage in, otherwise you could be charged as much as £90 per return flight (see Budget Airline Fee Fighting for other airlines' policies).

If you book checked bags when you book an Easyjet flight, it's £13-£30/flight. This rises to £32/flight at check-in, then £45/flight at the gate – costs that easily make a budget flight not so purse-friendly.

Checked-in bags are a maximum of 20kg so ensure you weigh before you go. If even this is too small a limit for you, you can buy excess weight in advance too. It's £3/kg in advance, rising to £10/kg at check in.

Don't carry your luggage – wear it

Unless you've paid for an Easyjet Flexifare which includes a second, small item of hand luggage (ie a hand or laptop bag), you're restricted to one item of hand luggage only (plus duty free shopping – see above for how to make the most of this).

And if you've already experienced the boarding gate of an Easyjet flight, there's usually a fair few trying to cram or rearrange luggage in order to fit handbags.

Don't let that be you. Make use of a very valuable asset that you have no choice but to take everywhere with you – your person. The more you carry on you, the less you need to squeeze everything into your cabin bag.

Think large, deep pocketed coats and jackets. Examples include the likes of a 22-pocket Scottevest, a special US survivalist jacket that Martin tested for an ITV show. It was heavy but somehow managed to fit a laptop, two books, a towel, passports, a T-shirt, socks, magazines and much more.

Until recently, a less extreme version popular with forumites was the Rufus Roo, but unfortunately it's no longer available. You might want to try looking for a second-hand one, but we couldn't find any when we looked.

Or for a less extreme idea, try wearing heavy coats, big boots and chunky jumpers. They all take up valuable space in a case. Stow items under the seat in front of you if it gets too stuffy on the plane.

Don't assume Easyjet is cheapest – always compare

Easyjet may have the reputation of being a low-cost carrier, but while it can be possible to nab a dirt-cheap flight, you may find a better deal elsewhere.

So after using these tricks always compare the final price you're quoted to the best alternative, using our Cheap Flights guide. Plus see our guide to Beat Budget Airline Fees for loads more hints and tips.

Flight delayed in the last six years? You could be owed £100s in compensation

No one wants their flight to be delayed, but thanks to a European Court of Justice ruling, you could at least get some money back for your time.

If you're delayed more than three hours, or your Easyjet flight is cancelled, you could be owed anything between £110 and £510.

Whether you can claim depends on factors such as where your plane took off from, when it arrived and what caused the delay. To see if you could be owed compensation see our Flight Delay Compensation guide.