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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.

  • TimM says:

    “One person asked whether a glue stick counted as a liquid. I will leave that particular query to a popular vote in the comments.”

    Yes, like lipstick, a glue stick is considered a ‘paste’ and therefore is covered by the 10 x 100ml in a resealable bag rule.

    When is a paste a paste and not a solid? That is down to the discretion of the security staff who are trained to err on the side of caution. The Cell Block H staff at Manchester security relish this aspect of their work.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      I was told by a French security person a few years ago that my cheese is a liquid until I said why its not spreadable. He backed down. So to me debate settled

    • RussellH says:

      MAN security have told me that asthma inhalers which just dispense a dry powder (NO liquid propellant) DO contain liquids and should be in the plastic bag.
      Other airports disagree.

      • KP says:

        If MAN security would have that they would classify the passenger as a liquid too… given that we have 75% water in our body…

  • TimM says:

    I should add that it would be very suspicious in its own right to be taking a giant (larger than 100ml) glue stick on holiday.

  • Lou says:

    Rhys, as an occasional user of wizz, I heartily recommend you consider getting a dedicated bag if you’re only traveling for 3-4 days away. 24 litres of capacity is loads if you plan carefully. Not that the size does not need to include handles/straps!

    I have a CabinMax rucksac myself

    • supergraeme says:

      Absolutely – even without a dedicated bag you can easily stuff enough stuff in for a couple of days.

      I’d be interested to see what other people use as a dedicated bag – I’ve been after one for some time but can never find something I’m quite happy with. The bag you use looks good though.

      • ThinkSquare says:

        I have a Loewepro camera backpack for leisure trips and a Deuter large laptop backpack for work. Can get enough clothes for a 3 day trip into either, together with either large DSLR and lenses, or large laptop, and still stuff them under the seat. Rolling clothes instead of folding them is the trick.

      • Lou says:

        The nice thing about the CabinMax (lots of choice now! When I bought mine many years ago there was just one choice!) Is that the side straps allow you to ‘adjust’ the size based on what’s permitted. All Wizz care about is that it will fit under the seat in front of you.

        Also yes, rolling your clothes or Marie Kondo folding them makes it way more space efficient. The benefit of doing the latter, along with a bag like the CabinMax that opens up like a suitcase is that you can also find where all your stuff is!

    • Rhys says:

      I think my Eastpak bag is probably roughly at the size limits already (especially when stuffed) so not sure I would get a huge amount more in!

      To be fair, I did take a large book, my 15″ work laptop etc etc.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        It is rigid wheelie bags that the baggage dragons at check-in look for. You are much more likely to be able to get away with a slightly oversize backpack than a slightly oversize wheelie bag. I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and I have never had to pay extra for baggage. I always get slightly nervous at the gate, though, so there is that.

        • lumma says:

          Exactly this, my full size carry on is a 45 litre soft sided Lowe Alpine bag with a shoulder strap and no wheels. There’s been many times when people are being forced to gate check smaller bags and I’ve just walked on with it.

          • Princess says:

            Me too! Now that me boys are 5 they also carry their own backpack maximised to size requirements and we can do 4/5 days without paying for luggage at all.
            I use WizzAir or Ryanair when I can save money I don’t get people that pay £200 for a 2 hours flight in Europe (£800 + for return ticket for a family of 4???)
            ….then of course I feel a bad mum of course because they can only bring a couple of little toys with them….you can’t win it all

      • Lou says:

        Coat with big pockets for the book 😂

    • SammyJ says:

      Entirely agree about the bag – flying WZZ regularly we have 4 ‘Wizzair bags’ which are exactly on the limits (search Wizzair bag on Amazon/eBay – I also found a Puma & Nike holdall virtually perfect). Packed properly these are easily big enough for enough clothes for a 4 day weekend away somewhere cold, and as a family of 4 we’ve managed a week in the Canaries and still had room to spare.

  • tony says:

    I think Wizz also has A321s in the fleet, something which sticks with me because of this story…

    https://www.gov.uk/aaib-reports/aaib-investigation-to-airbus-a321-231-g-wukg

    • Paasan69 says:

      Wizz Air UK has 11 A321’s in their fleet where 4 are Neo’s. I’ve flown with these Neo’s many times from LTN to LCA and back. These flights are around 5 hours and I got by quite well. Can’t beat a round trip like this for less than £50, incl Priority.

      Wizz Air Hungary has 70 A321’s in their fleet, 35 Neo’s and 35 200’s.

    • Rhys says:

      They do 🙂

    • Richie says:

      The incident was nearly 2 years ago, has there been any incidents since then?

  • Charlie says:

    Methinks you are making too much of a fuss about ticket purchasing. Admittedly the first time you need to keep your wits about you but on subsequent purchases, it is a breeze if you want the no baggage or anything else fare, as you know exactly where to click. The flight is not always that comfortable if it is full but the prices are usually much cheaper than any other carrier. If you travel at all frequently, especially with someone else, the WIZZ membership is great and really does save a lot. Also the smaller airp[sorts that WIZZ uses in Europe are generally much quicker in and out than the large legacy airline frequented places. This flight from a larger low-cost airport to a large European airport was not really a fair test of airport times. I travel frequently and 5-10 minutes to get through security is not “not bad”, it is absolutely great these days!

    • SammyJ says:

      Agree with all of the above. Regularly book WZZ flights after several bottles of wine and if I can manage it in that state, someone sober and reasonably IT literate should have no issues at all. Just keep ticking ‘no’!

    • John says:

      Well I thought it was a useful guide should I ever consider booking a wizz flight (unlikely but I’ve learned not to say never)

  • Entitled says:

    “That said, the hassle of booking the ticket is enough to make me think twice.”

    In this case it’s a few clicks to an actual flight. Much better than lots of clicks to points, followed by lots more clicks to accumulate points, followed by lots more clicks to find a way to use the points.

    Seems a lot less hassle than 3V, NS&I, mini cauliflowers, following AMEX’s eligibility rules, ebaying something you didnt want/need purchased to earn a few points etc.

  • Novice says:

    Good writing Rhys. Have never tried Wizz but might give it a go in near future.

  • TimP says:

    My one experience of Wizz’s priority boarding is being first to be allowed out onto the ramp to stand in sleet and a bitter wind to await the crew allowing passengers to board significantly later.

    • SammyJ says:

      The benefit of priority boarding is that you can stay in your seat/lounge until the flight actually starts boarding (rather than just calls to say it is), then wander along and skip the queue!

      • Londonsteve says:

        Err, that’s certainly not how priority boarding works with Wizz (or probably any carrier) at Luton. The priority queue is processed first and descends a staircase to await ‘release’ when the crew are ready and the apron is staffed to allow passengers to safely cross the service road to walk to the aircraft. If you delay arriving at the gate, while you’re entitled to use the priority queue and will be seen promptly by the gate staff, at that point you join the boarding queue at whatever point the gate staff have got to with non-priority passengers and there is no way to move forward. It makes for a more comfortable journey if you’re at the gate in time for when boarding commences, generally 35 minutes before anticipated departure time (which is sometimes even before the inbound aircraft has landed) otherwise you’ve ‘lost your slot’ so to speak and you’ll be battling to find space for a large cabin bag in the overhead lockers once eventually on board. In bad weather you’re also more likely to be left standing at the bottom of the stairs in the pouring rain or howling wind while waiting for others to board. So much more comfortable to be one of the first to gun the gauntlet of sunny Luton weather and dash for the sanctuary of the aircraft.

        • Lady London says:

          Could be worse.
          Could be Stansted

          • Nathan says:

            +100 makes me shudder just to think of it.

          • Londonsteve says:

            Agree entirely. It used to be such an elegant airport, a breath of fresh air that others aspired to. Only today I read about them having to install number plate technology to stop people from tailgaiting on exit from the drop-off area of short term car park while seeking to avoid paying hideous fees. It has become that sort of airport, a cat and mouse game between operator and customer.

        • Bagoly says:

          Too true.
          At some airports (E.g. Gatwick, Berlin SXF) the two groups of passengers are held in separate areas so up to real boarding time, Priority does work.
          The latter even had official signs saying “Priority: please push in to the passport check queue”!

          Sometimes it’s architecture, but often it’s just the gate staff at different airports which vary wildly in whether Priority Boarding ends up meaning more unpleasantness in bad weather, or is always better.
          As you wrote, Luton is unnecessarily bad – generally boarding would be completed no later if they allowed only Priority passengers through the gate until the first passenger was allowed to start climbing the stairs

          • Bagoly says:

            Which prompts the question – at non-hubs, how many check-in and gate staff effectively work for the airport rather than the airline?
            They are no doubt mostly legally employed by Menzies Aviation or suchlike, but to what extent do they switch between airlines on different days?

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