Established in 1995, EasyJet was launched by Sir Stelios Haji-Iannou, who leased two Boeing 737 jets in order to kick start his cheap flights company. Originally offering discount fares flying from London Luton to Glasgow and Edinburgh, EasyJet has since blossomed into one of the world’s most popular ways to travel, offering an affordable way in which the public could start jetting abroad for a holiday.
Since those early days, the budget company has greatly expanded, driven by a high demand from the public for low-cost and cheapest journeys possible to Europe and further afield. The popularity of the airline has meant many other carriers have sprung up, meaning the budget holiday flight industry is now filled with names such as Jet2, BMI Baby and various other companies offering cut-price fares, meaning that air travel is now an easy, affordable thing for customers of any budget
Despite the rapid expansion, EastJet have stayed true to their routes – with more routes and travelling options than ever, they still base their headquarters out of their grounds of their original London Luton airport.
Much like its main competitor, RyanAir, Easy Jet’s business strategy is to keep costs as low and possible. This includes cutting out in-flight entertainment, snacks and connecting flights. Anything that they can legally charge extra for, EasyJet do in order to keep the headline prices of their flights down. Priority boarding, hold baggage and food itself are among the most popular of its add-ons for customers taking a journey with the company.
The main way in which EasyJet different from RyanAir and other companies is that they provide an enormous amount of flights to main cities around Europe. Whereas RyanAir will often fly a customer out to a far-flung location – their main Paris airport being a 75-minute journey from the city, for example – EasyJet use the French capital’s main two destinations to fly in customers. This is the only luxury in their otherwise extremely stripped back, easy, budget airline, and which also means it is a choice for thrifty businessmen and families who simply want to get to their destination quickly.
It is the cheap, European inner city routes in which EasyJet have been most successful. Especially as business customers look for extra corners to cut, switching to EasyJet has mean that their usual travelling requirements are not curtailed, while still managing to save extra pounds on their budget each year. It is for this reason that flying with EasyJet provides the most cost-effective (and, in effect, cheapest) method of travel for many.
The company’s early marketing strategy was based around making travelling “as cheap as a pair of jeans” and was largely based around the customers themselves cutting out a travel agent and going straight to EasyJet themselves for the booking. However, it was the BBC TV series Airline that brought them to national acclaim in the UK. Showing the lengths that the company would go to ensure low costs for the customer, and passing those savings on to give the consumer the best deals on their holidays that they can manage.
Though airfares have consistently been on the rise in the past few years, EasyJet have managed to maintain cheap fares and, thus, have drawn more customers to their brand. The budget airline flew a record 60 million passengers in 2013, which lead to record pre-tax profits of £478m. The ease of which customers can book flights with the company, and the manner in which pan-European jet travel has become commonplace has provided EasyJet with the perfect environment in which to blossom.
With the recession, families who may have flown with British Airways or similar before are now travelling with EasyJet due to the added strain on their budgets. There has been a similar spike in customers flying competitors RyanAir, BMI Baby and Jet2 thanks to this. While customers may have greater budgeting issues in the modern day, they are still keen to make sure that they get jetting off for their usual holidays and travels.
In recent years, EasyJet have attempted to expand their brand even further – their carbon offset EcoJet brand being chief among these developments. Offering a green option to environmentally conscious fliers, their specially built aircraft are lighter and coated in a special polymer that make travelling through airspace much less difficult for the plane. These developments could save the company £14million a year from their annual budget, savings which could then be instantly passed on to travellers. Though foreign holidays have always historically been bad for the environment, it seems that EasyJet are among the few air travel providers offering a means in which to make holidaying in the future a much greener affair. Though EcoJet hasn’t yet launched, it is promised that people will be able to make their first journeys on the carrier by 2015.
The company has drawn criticism in some quarters – Germany in particular are upset that EasyJet do not observe the European law on compensation for customers that suffer delays on their flight. The Advertising Standards Agency has also complained about EasyJet for some of their claims in marketing – especially in regards to creating greener travel for holidaymakers. They have also taken actions against a flier who used social media to complain about his journey being delayed – despite the cheap fare, the customer clearly hadn’t budgeted for such bother, tweeting about his problems. The complaint meant that staff for the airline initially wouldn’t let him board the plane being of his postings.