easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, is today celebrating twenty years of flying. On 10 November 1995 easyJet’s first ever flight took off from Luton to Glasgow. Twenty years on, the airline flies over 68 million passengers to 137 airports in 31 countries and operates 788 routes across Europe.
Captain Fred Rivett was at the controls of that first flight which was EZY121 operated by a Boeing 737-200. Lisa Burger (now easyJet’s Head of Customer) checked in the very first easyJet passenger and easyJet’s founder Stelios joined passengers and media on board that first flight. All three and others from the airline’s early days were among the guests at a special birthday event at easyJet’s headquarters in Luton.
easyJet unveiled a special livery aircraft featuring a mosaic of more than 100,000 of its customers’ most-loved holiday snaps and selfies taken during their travels across Europe over the past twenty years. The aircraft symbolises the role that easyJet has played in changing the way that people across Europe travel thanks to its low fares, friendly service and focus on making travel easier and more affordable.
Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s Chief Executive, said:
“We’re delighted to be celebrating easyJet’s success over the past two decades. 20 years ago easyJet changed the way Europe travelled. We challenged the high price monopolies of the legacy airlines and enabled a new generation of people of all ages, incomes and interests to enjoy Europe. Since then we’ve carried over 600m passengers and flown over 4.7m flights but that challenger spirit is stronger than ever in the easyJet of 2015.
“We started with fares to Glasgow from £29 – or as we advertised at the time, the same price as a pair of jeans. A pair of Levis 501s will now set your back £75 while our fares to Glasgow start from £27.49.
“All of this would not have been possible without those who have been part of the easyJet team during that time. They have worked incredibly hard to make travel easier and more affordable for our passengers.
“I also have to thank our fantastic customers for their loyalty and support and, of course, our suppliers and partners for their professionalism and commitment.
“Although today we’re celebrating 20 years of generation easyJet, we’re even more excited about the future. We will continue to challenge conventional thinking and we look forward to where the next two decades could take us.”
Stelios Haji-Ioannou, easyJet’s founder and owner of the easyJet brand, commenting from the event in Luton:
“Today is the best possible opportunity to thank all the 30,000 people who make easyJet work on a daily basis. I want to thank those employees and sub-contractors – both on the ground and in the air – who have made easyJet over the last 20 years such a great investment for its shareholders and such a great brand for its customers.”
Captain Fred Rivett, who operated easyJet’s inaugural flight from London Luton to Glasgow on 10th November 1995 commented:
“I remember watching the first passengers step aboard. It was a cold dark morning and the cabin was filled with excited passengers who knew they were part of something new. They had also paid very little for their seats! It was a very proud moment for me and all the crew. The short hop to Glasgow was completely routine but we now know that it was just the start of changing the way we all travel by air.
“The airline has come a long way in such a short time and being here today brings back all the memories. It’s great to get a glimpse of what’s planned for the future.
Lisa Burger, easyJet’s Head of Customer who checked in passengers on the first flight said:
“I’ll always remember the energy, excitement and hype surrounding our first flight. I recall explaining to customers as we checked them in for that inaugural flight that their confirmation letter or booking reference was all they needed to check-in – and not a ticket as we were ticketless. In exchange we gave them a reusable plastic boarding pass explaining that we had free seating and they could choose where to sit when on board. 20 years ago this was revolutionary. No tickets, free seating, an inflight service where you choose and paid for what you purchased on-board.
“From day one we began to educate customers how to interact and travel us and that we could make travel more affordable by cutting out complexity, overheads and costs that didn’t add value or that would compromise service. The perception of many was that we would be another airline that would come and go but the Orange spirit that today is still as evident as it was then along with the belief in the model and brand, meant that we defied the odds and revolutionised the way people travel.
“20 years on I still love the opportunities we have to challenge and innovate. We continue to find ways to make travel easier and more affordable for our passengers.”
During the event, attended by more than 500 guests including media, stakeholders, suppliers as well as past and present staff, the airline reflected on the past two decades with an exhibition of memorabilia including the airlines’ first ever adverts – the first of which famously advertised flights for the price of a pair of jeans. A catwalk show showcased the iconic crew uniforms from 1995 to the present and beyond.
As well as reflecting on the past twenty years of success the airline also looked forward to what the next twenty years may hold for air travel announcing a trial of uniforms for its crew and engineers incorporating wearable technology. The uniforms demonstrate how the application of innovative technology could play a role in making tasks easier, helping with communications and enhance safety procedures.
Source / Author: easyJet