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Review: What does a £1.79 Wizz Air flight get you? I try it out (Part 2)

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This is part 2 of my review of my recent Wizz Air flight. Part one of our Wizz Air review – click here – covers the difficulty in booking the free-bag-only no-extras £1.79 flight itself. Wizz Air doesn’t make it easy, but I did get away with just paying £1.79 in the end.

How was my Wizz Air flight?

All things considered, my flight with Wizz Air was fairly comfortable, mainly because the flight was virtually empty. There were only a handful of passengers on board an aircraft that Wizz crams with 180 seats.

The good news is that Wizz Air flies an exclusive A320-family fleet, which means marginally wider seats and aisles than on the Boeing 737s operated by Ryanair. Although the difference is small I find it makes a BIG difference to the overall experience and always prefer the A320 to the 737.

Check in

I used the Wizz Air app to check in for my flight and have to admit that I was impressed.

During the check-in process you are given a short list of all the documents you need to bring for your flight. In my case, this included a test and vaccination certificate. Having this in the app and during the check-in process is extremely helpful and should be what all airlines do.

The app also asks you to upload your proof of vaccination, which was again extremely simple to do. I could do it all within the app, without being taken to a separate page in my browser. The process was extremely slick.

Unfortunately, due to the remaining document checks (such as the Austrian requirement for a test certificate) I wasn’t able to complete online check. I did, however, find the whole experience much better than almost any other airline, British Airways included.

I made sure to get to Luton Airport the requisite two hours prior to my flight because I was extremely wary of long queues at check-in due to the document checks. I needn’t have worried, because this was what welcomed me:

Wizz Air Luton check in

There was no-one waiting whatsoever, and I managed to duck under the ropes and get to the desk in no time. I was glad I arrived early however – it is impossible to predict what these things are like. If you have booked Wizz Priority then you do get to queue jump.

Wizz Air Luton check in desks

I found the ‘No mask, no fly!’ slogan particularly entertaining.

Having been allocated my seat (25B, at the rear of the aircraft) and given my boarding pass I then breezed through Luton’s normally nightmarish security:

Luton security

The queue was small although it did take 5-10 minutes to get through as there was only one security lane open. The clientele at Luton Airport also tend to be infrequent travellers who are unfamiliar with security protocols which can increase processing times as they realise they have to decant all their liquids into a single plastic bag etc. (One person asked whether a glue stick counted as a liquid. I will leave that particular query to a popular vote in the comments.)

10 minutes is not bad for Luton, and I was quickly through into the duty free zone. Luton has, I admit, improved in recent years. The main terminal building now feels very modern and there is a greater selection of restaurants and boutiques than you would otherwise expect to find at a similar low-cost airport elsewhere.

Still, during peak times, Luton Airport can be heaving. When I was there 50% of the shops were closed and it was eerily quiet, which made for a fairly relaxing time.

Unfortunately the Aspire lounge is currently only open in the mornings and the Clubrooms lounge is permanently closed. I had to make do with the public seating which isn’t the most comfortable, especially when it turns out your flight is delayed by 30 minutes.

(My recent review of the Aspire lounge at Luton Airport is here.)

Luton concourse

Boarding

Eventually, the gate was announced and I headed over to the aircraft. It was at this point that it became clear just how empty my flight would be, with just a handful of people queuing at the gate:

Wizz Air Luton boarding

Anyone with Wizz Priority gets the Priority queue, which you can see on the right hand side.

I was one of about 35 passengers in total, it turns out, and quickly boarded the aircraft. There was no jet bridge so you are exposed to the open elements, which is miserable in bad weather:

Wizz Air Luton boarding aircraft

Inside Wizz Air’s A320

I was assigned seat 25B but had a whole row to myself and consequently sat in the window seat instead. The Wizz Air seats are quite smart, if a little garish, in blue and pink:

Wizz Air A320 seats

Leg room, as you would expect, is pretty tight. For reference, I am 6’2″ (188 cm):

Wizz Air leg room

A safety card, sick bag and in-flight magazine are in the seat pocket:

Wizz Air magazine

The in-flight magazine also outlines the buy-on-board dining options, which include meal deals for €7.50:

Wizz Air meal deal

and

Wizz Air drinks

No hot food appeared to be on offer, not even a warmed panini. I can’t review the food as HfP had banned me from buying anything in order to stick to the £1.79 total cost!

The tray table is fairly small and surprisingly highly placed, although I’m sure it suffices for the small amount of food available:

Wizz Air tray table

I am glad I did not have a passenger next to me, however. I have been on full Wizz Air flights in the past and the experience is very different.

On those flights, boarding queues were a nightmare and staff were VERY fussy about luggage size, forcing anyone who had more than they had booked to pay the chunky at-airport fee. This, followed by a jam-packed 180 seat aircraft, makes for a far less comfortable flight.

All in all, I managed to get a solid 2.5 hours of reading in on my flight and was only mildly disturbed by the nursery vibes coming from the large family a few rows behind me ….

Conclusion

My quiet flight was, I admit, not particularly representative of Wizz Air, particularly during normal times.

For £1.79 it’s hard to go wrong although, in reality, you are likely to pay much more. Without a larger cabin bag I was restricted to my Eastpak backpack and I ended up wearing the same clothes for my entire trip, bar a change in underwear. For any longer stays, or where you want a choice of outfits, you will have to pay significantly more for luggage – at least an extra £20 one-way.

Once you factor in all the extras you are probably spending just as much as you would flying a legacy airline such as British Airways, which lets you take a trolley bag on for free. Plus, you’ll also benefit from any status benefits you have and the ability to collect Avios and tier points. These days, BA can be just as cheap (if not cheaper) than any low cost carrier.

That said, British Airways can learn a LOT from the slick in-app check-in and travel processes that both Wizz Air and easyJet have. You can’t even check in properly within the BA app – you end up being diverted to the website and then need to restart the app to access your boarding pass.

Would I fly Wizz Air again? For the right price, absolutely, especially as Wizz is about to start 14 new routes from Gatwick. That said, the hassle of booking the ticket is enough to make me think twice. With Wizz Go, Wizz Priority, Wizz Flex …. there are so many different bundles it can get a little overwhelming. Sometimes, simpler is better.

Next stop …. I went from my £1.79 flight to one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe, indeed one of the very best I have visited anywhere. More to follow.

Head for Points made a financial contribution to the Woodland Trust as part of this trip. The Woodland Trust creates and manages forests in the UK in accordance with the Woodland Carbon Code.

Comments (82)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Peter says:

    Flew with Wizz all the way to Dubai 3 times now, each time cost less than £50 return. Each and every flight was great considering the price. Note that is the only LCC that does not offer any flexibility for free, even Ryanair let’s you change flights for free up to 7 days before. It also deliberately splits up groups of people like Ryanair to get people to pay for seat reservation (I believe if it more than 4 people though, it only splits the group once, i.e. 2+2). They also tend to cancel routes if they don’t have enough bookings, and don’t offer any alternative. Still, great airline with brand new planes.

    • elt says:

      BA also cancel routes ( eg Seoul) and dont offer alternative. The nearest they would get me is to Tokyo

      • Jonathan says:

        I’m in a very similar position, I booked some flights a while ago that cost around £240, cancelled them and didn’t offer any rerouting options on the dates required for travel, replacement flights with Air France cost nearly £830, so I’m going to buy these tickets and purse the cost from BA.
        They really need to think things through before they go round cancelling flights and not offer rerouting options, as they have an obligation to get you to your destination.

  • James Harper says:

    I think these days BA ‘cram’ as many seats on an A320 as Wizz do and at the back, I doubt the experience is much different except that BA still allow unlimited amounts of hand luggage aboard inconveniencing everyone.

    If you’re paying to travel at the front no doubt BA is better, at the back, I would buy only on price these days (but still won’t fly Ryanair).

    • Londonsteve says:

      BA have pulled quite the conjuring trick here in my opinion, offering Wizz Air levels of legroom while maintaining the perception of retaining a premium product, even while also denying passengers a free drink. At least one CAN easily book an extra legroom seat while flying with Wizz and other LCCs who are keen to generate extra revenue from these seats. Flying with BA the front bulkhead row is Club while the emergency exit rows are invariably blocked out online, I’m not sure who can access these seats and when, other than during airport check in if the staff take pity on lanky passengers. Are they initially reserved for BAEC Silver and above?

      • Nick says:

        Yep, it’s funny how 180 seats on a Wizz A320 is ‘jam packed’ but the same number on a BA A320 is not. Leg room is actually better on Wizz too, given they use the paper thin seats throughout, whereas on BA it’s only from row 14 backwards.

        • Rhys says:

          To be fair, whilst BA has 180 seats it isn’t selling 180 tickets given the middle seat is free in Club.

          • James Harper says:

            However the quality of the seat and the pitch and the width are identical. Yes, the middle seat is free if you pay to sit at the front but as I said above, at the back with all the hand luggage, it’s probably worse.

        • Londonsteve says:

          Does that mean legroom in CE is actually worse than in Economy down the back of the plane. BA used to offer a 34″ seat pitch forward of the emergency exit rows to enable these seats to be dual function, CE or Economy depending on the load. It was quite nice when flying Economy to book once of these seats, invariably they were filled with status holders and none were left when online check in opened 24 hours before the flight unless it was a very quiet flight. It was another ‘benefit’ of status – CE legroom for Economy money irrespective of the ticket price.

      • Deborah says:

        The emergency exit rows can only be occupied by certain people, and not by certain people such as children disabled etc. This is for emergency reasons to help open the doors and assist passengers evacuate.They are blocked off on the online booking system as a visual check of the passenger is required by the checkin staff to ensure they fit the requirement for the emergency exit row seats…….not for pitied lanky people!

        • Daftboy says:

          On BA, Gold and (I think) Silver exec club members can choose exit row seats at time of booking

        • Bagoly says:

          But the LCCs sell them.
          They just swap out after boarding the passengers who do not meet the requirements, E.g. under 16s.

          • Londonsteve says:

            This was my point. If I don’t fly in Club row 1 or have BA Silver to book an emergency exit row seat, if comfort is important you’re better off with an LCC who allow you to book a row 1 or emergency exit row seat at the time of booking. Are emergency exit row seats not available to buy on BA at the time of booking?

  • Bob says:

    “HfP had banned me from buying anything in order to stick to the £1.79 total cost!”

    :-))

    I am very happy Rob has great corporate rules that you needed to follow Rhys!

    It would not have been an interesting experience if you had paid more than £1.79 for a 35 passengers load service.
    So it is possible at this price to get a nice flight.

    Thanks Rhys for the review and to have done it for us!

  • Nathan says:

    🤔 Why are the next and previous article links functionally opposite and the wrong way around on the page?

  • JJ says:

    I thought this was a disappointingly condescending review; not up to HfP’s usual standards.
    I’m reasonably familiar with the main 3 budget airlines as I use them for much of my short haul travelling thanks to the greater range of destinations (Long haul is strictly business/first – at my age my body takes too long to recover from over 4 hours in economy).
    Navigating Wizz Air’s website is no worse than Ryanair’s once you’re equally familiar with it.
    I don’t find the blue seats with pink piping garish, especially in comparison to the blue & yellow or orange colour schemes of the biggest budget airlines.
    I’d choose Luton airport over Stansted every time – better parking, less “exit via the gift shop” after security and generally much quicker through the airport on the return journey.

  • athruna says:

    My other half was always of the view that the best thing about WizzAir was the (now sadly discontinued) in-flight two beers/wines for 8 EUR deal.

  • Bagoly says:

    And it looks as though I have a learning process for improvements: In August at Luton one came to the the Priority check-in queue before the non-Priority one, so of course some people paying no attention and who had not paid for Priority were in the Priority queue.
    I suggested to an energetic junior that they swap it round, and from Rhys’s picture it looks as though they have done so.
    I realise that doesn’t mean it was (only) my comment which made it happen!

    • Dubious says:

      Hopefully they have a staff incentive scheme and the energetic junior got some kind of award from their employer!

  • NFH says:

    I’m not sure that the “No mask, no fly” is entertaining for passengers who have a genuine medical exemption to wearing a face mask. According to https://wizzair.com/en-gb/information-and-services/covid-information-hub/general-travel-information Wizz requires exempt passengers to provide “proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test (not older than 48 hours before the outbound and inbound flights’ scheduled departure time)“, even if this is not required for entry to the destination country and even if the passenger is triple-vaccinated. This additional cost is blatant discrimination against passengers who have a genuine medical exemption.

    • HarryB. says:

      Well, I’m happy that Wizz is a carrier that tries to mitigate the increased risk of an unmasked passenger. Just because someone has a mask exemption doesn’t mean that others should be at the receiving end of increased risk of transmission. Well done to Wizz Air.
      It’s a discrimination to the unmasked passengers’ favour that they bend their “No mask, no fly” rule.

      • NFH says:

        The requirement for a PCR test is not on its own unreasonable. However, the passenger’s exemption is not the passenger’s choice and the requirement for a PCR test is entirely the airline’s choice. Therefore the airline should fund the test. Requiring the passenger to fund the test is unreasonable and discriminatory.

        No public transport operator or UK-based airline requires mask-exempt passengers to obtain a PCR test before travel. This is because it would be disproportionate and discriminatory.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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