Wizz Air is a budget airline based in Budapest, Hungary. My best tip for flying Wizz Air is don’t. But if you have no choice, here are some tips.
I flew Wizz Air because it appeared to be the best value between London and Sofia. Well, that was the case, but I still ended up paying fully twice what the posted fare was!
Wizz Air keeps its prices low by nickel and diming you for everything. Read their insane luggage policy very carefully or you will pay very, very, very steep penalties. Basically, you’re allowed a teeny bag on the plane for free, that’s it. I can’t even begin to summarise the myriad of ways they can separate you from your money when it comes to luggage. What I can tell you is how I managed to get both of my bags in the cabin for £14.
First, I paid for a “large cabin bag.” My carry on suitcase was exactly the right size for that. Even though the suitcase is a little smaller than what would be allowable by most reasonable airlines, it was the maximum size for Wizz Air. In fact, I ended up pulling a few things from my suitcase and wearing them to give the suitcase just enough give to fit easily into their sizing rack.
Great, now my suitcase was on the plane, but I’d lost the privilege of bringing my electronics bag with me!
This is where you need to start taking notes. My host, Max, who flies Wizz Air all the time thought I was a genius when I told him what I did to get the electronics bag on board with me.
I paid £3 for priority boarding.
Priority boarding is an absolute joke since Wizz Air makes you stand for ages on the tarmac before boarding, but it allows you a “personal item” on top of your large one! My electronics bag was actually a “small cabin bag” and therefore not eligible to fly free with me under priority boarding, but I knew that the bag had to fit under the seat and that I wouldn’t have any problems making it fit. When I checked in with Wizz Air at Luton Airport, I wore my electronics bag on my back, where it had a very slim profile, and did not draw attention to it, making sure they stayed focused on the larger bag, which weighed just over 5KG less than I would have been allowed. No one said boo about my smaller bag.
As if the luggage issues weren’t enough, the Wizz Air website is an absolute disaster and not particularly well translated. The iPhone app is a bit better. Be prepared to receive A LOT of emails reminding you of their luggage policy. One thing that Wizz Air could do to tighten up its operations and make me less annoyed with it is to stop sending irrelevant threatening emails. I’d paid for a large cabin bag and shouldn’t have received something like 10 emails telling me that I was going to have to pay something like £65 to check my bag at the airport!
Wizz Air also works with National Express coach lines in the UK to offer a slightly reduced rate to get to the airports. This can be good value for some people, but the information is lacking. They were unable to tell me where and when I could be picked up near Baker Street and should have told me to check with National Express.
Another thing I found ridiculous is that I had to check in online or else pay a steep fee at the airport to check in in person, but I still had to go to the check in desk because I’m a non EU resident/Bulgarian citizen. Checking in online involved a ton of hoops, including installing the Wizz Air app on my phone, and I should have been spared those hoops since I had to go to the check in desk anyway.
Once I was out of the wind and rain and finally settled in the plane, I got a lot less cranky with Wizz Air. While not exactly spacious, the seats were a tad more roomy than WestJet and I had a bit more leg room, even with my bag under the seat. They don’t have a free beverage service, but their prices are comparable to what I pay on WestJet as was the quality of the sandwich I got. Staff was very friendly and spoke good English. And I have to say that I liked Wizz Air’s pink and purple colour scheme. 🙂
I don’t like jumping through hoops for nothing. Flying with Wizz Air was actually not that bad, but getting onto the plane was a nightmare. If they could tighten up their ticket purchase and check in procedures, they’d be a halfway decent airline, even with their insane luggage policy!