easyJet has launched Worldwide by easyJet, the first global airline connections service by a European low fares airline.
Legacy airlines have traditionally offered connectivity through costly and complex interline and codeshare agreements and procedures.
With the new service these will be replicated by self-connect and sales partnerships through a digital, virtual hub which will offer the same sort of connectivity but more simply and efficiently.
With seats available from today, Worldwide by easyJet enables customers to seamlessly connect their easyJet flight with partner airline flights with launch partners WestJet and Norwegian using the Gatwick Connects product.
Ryanair launched a similar service, although on a smaller scale, with Air Europa earlier this year.
easyJet will sign other airlines up to Worldwide by easyJet with talks already far advanced with middle-eastern and far eastern carriers among others.
As well as adding partners at Gatwick Airport easyJet plans to expands to other key easyJet airports in Europe such as Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Barcelona.
easyJet is also starting to sell stand-alone tickets on behalf of partner airlines alongside the connectivity product on easyJet.com.
Loganair is signed up as a further launch partner and their tickets will be available on easyJet.com from next month.
Worldwide by easyJet will also allow easyJet passengers to connect with other easyJet flights through Gatwick Airport.
Currently around 200,000 “self-connect” on easyJet – booking separate easyJet flights and the Gatwick Connects product themselves in three different transactions.
All of this new connectivity has been enabled by technology partner Dohop.
Carolyn McCall, easyJet chief executive, explained the strategy behind Worldwide by easyJet: “Around 70 million passengers flying through an easyJet airport each year are connecting on to other flights, mainly long haul, and it is this market segment that Worldwide by easyJet will open up for us.
“Because of easyJet’s strong positions at Europe’s leading airports and our customer focus long haul carriers have been asking to work with easyJet for some time and the new technology platform has now allowed us to do so.
“Our own customers and those who fly with other airlines, short and long haul, have also asked us to make it easier to connect with easyJet flights and this simple booking platform makes it easy for them to do so.
“By opening this new market segment this now means that easyJet can access a greater range of passengers flying across Europe.”
easyJet flies on more of Europe’s 100 largest routes than any other airline.
Norwegian chief commercial officer, Thomas Ramdahl, said: “Travel should be affordable for all so we are delighted to partner with another quality low-cost airline like easyJet to offer passengers even more choice.
“We already see a large number of passengers making connections between Norwegian’s own long-haul and short-haul networks and we welcome initiatives like Worldwide by easyJet that give customers even more opportunities for affordable transfers between flights.
“With Norwegian’s growing long-haul networks and easyJet’s extensive European routes, millions more passengers will have the chance to travel to some of the world’s top destinations, all with great fares, smooth connections and a quality service.”
Worldwide by easyJet is subject to a two hour 30 minute minimum connection time, which will give customers plenty of time to transfer between flights and/or terminals.
Should a passenger miss a connecting flight they will be transferred to the next available flight.