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"Wizz"ing off to Poland
Member Name: loulou22
Advantages: Low flight prices. Comfort
Disadvantages: On board prices are expensive
Having recently arrived back in the UK on one of many Wizz Air flights I have taken this year I thought it was about time that I give them a review to compliment the high standard of service I have always received from them.
I first booked with Wizz Air back in January 2011 for an April flight to Warsaw in Poland. I was wary at first as I could only vaguely remember seeing a poster of them of a previous trip also to Poland. However with the reassurance of a friend who had flown with them before and also their attractive low prices I decided to book.
The booking process was fairly straight forward, I went on their website www.wizzair.com and was greeted by a bright page, mainly in pink and purple. At the side of the page was the drop down boxes for selecting destinations and dates. Being unsure of where Wizz Air operate from in the UK I looked through the list and found Liverpool, Doncaster/Sheffield, London Luton and Glasgow Prestwick airports. Living in Birmingham none of these are particularly local and after a quick Google maps search I found out that give or take a few miles all except Glasgow Prestwick are roughly the same distance for me so I decided to fly from Doncaster/Sheffield and leave my car in airport parking. I selected my dates and went through to a page showing me the available flights along with the prices. Seeing the prices were reasonable I proceeded to book my flights. There is a charge for paying by credit card, however not by debit card. The checkout process was fast and simple and at the end of it I was asked to create a password to enable me to log in to my Wizz profile if I needed to make any adjustments or book more flights. Within minutes of my booking being confirmed I received an email with all the flight details and booking references.
The next part of flying with Wizz Air is checking in. You can check in online for free from 7 days before your flight and up to 4 hours before departure. There is also the option to check in at the airport, however there is a charge for this. In my excitement I checked in 7 days before my flight, this was also a simple process. I logged into my Wizz profile and clicked the My Bookings tab, I then selected check in and was asked to enter my passport number and other details before being taken to a screen asking the famous check in questions: Did you pack your bags yourself? Has anyone asked you to carry anything for them? and Could anyone have tampered with your bags? After clicking No my online check in was complete and I was given the option of printing my boarding card from either a web page or a PDF file. I tried the web page option first, however this didn't print correctly so I downloaded the PDF instead and printed this out no problem. Now is a good time to note that although I checked in for my outbound flight 7 days before I was due to leave I could not check in for my return flight until 7 days before I was due to return. This was fine because I was only going away for a long weekend so a few days later I repeated the process, however this is something to consider if you are going to be away for longer as you will need to be able to have access to print your return boarding card otherwise you will have to pay a fee of £20 to have one printed in the airport.
On arrival at the airport I saw the check in desks and baggage drop desks all clearly signed with the Wizz Air logo, destination and flight number but I didn't need these as I was checked in and only travelling with hand luggage so I continued through security and proceeded to wait for boarding. I have since travelled with baggage so I will return to the subject of drop off desks later. Keeping an eye on the departures board I was pleased to see my flight was on time and waited patiently for the plane to arrive. Within minutes of the plane landing the flight was called to the gate for boarding, this was like a mad rush! The plane itself was still being parked up and everyone was rushing to be at the front of the queue! As we could see the passengers disembarking through the window the boarding gate staff started checking everyones boarding cards and passports and moving us through the gate ready to board the plane as soon as everyone was off. This was all hassle free and a very fast procedure and before I knew it I was walking up the stairs and stepping into this lovely coloured aircraft. Just inside the doorway were two very smartly dressed cabin crew checking boarding cards again and giving a friendly greeting in either English or Polish depending on the passengers nationality. After this I learnt why there was a mad rush to be at the front of the queue... Wizz Air doesn't allocate seat numbers so to get the best seats or the seats that you personally prefer you need to be at the front of the queue. My personal preference has always been by the window near the wing, but not so much that I would rush to be at the front of the queue, my view is that as long as you are in the queue the plane wont leave without you so why push?
Once on board the cabin crew were quick to get everyone seated and begin the safety demonstration as the plane taxied towards the runway. The safety demonstration was presented in both English and Polish, I presume the languages will vary dependant on where you are travelling to. The demonstration was very clear to understand and supported by a safety card for you to read in the seat back pocket in front of you.
Also contained in the seat back in front of you there is a complimentary magazine and just in case you might need it... a sick bag.
Talking of seats, they are very comfy as far as a plane seat goes, they are a burgundy soft leather and have the standard tray table and seat pocket in the back of them and on occasional planes I have seen fold up cup holders in the backs of seats too. I found I had plenty of leg room which I wasn't expecting on a low cost airline and also the seats are of a reasonable size so plenty of elbow room as well.
After take off the in flight service is basic but very good. The cabin crew move through the cabin offering goods for sale including gifts and food and drink. While I found there was a reasonable selection of goods available I found the prices to be a little expensive. The prices are listed in the back of the free magazine, they are shown in Euros however you can pay in English pounds or the currency of the country that you are travelling to or from. I have purchased a can of coke on one flight for £2, I found the service fast and efficient however I wasn't too pleased about £2 for a 330ml can of coke!
During the flight various announcements are made to make you aware of what the crew will be bringing through the cabin to buy, there is usually also an announcement from the pilot to welcome you on board and give you various facts about the flight, weather and arrival times. I was also pleasantly surprised on a return flight to the UK to receive a free O2 pay as you go SIM card to receive 100 international minutes with a £15 top up. I am still yet to use this but think it is a great freebie if you have friends or family abroad and want to avoid the large bills.
The landing of the flight was as smooth as take off, although my one pet hate happened shortly after touch down, everyone started clapping. I don't understand why they do this, yes the pilot did a good job flying safely and the crew are great too but I do a good job at work everyday just like these people and I don't get a round of applause! Maybe I have applause envy ;) Upon landing the cabin crew make another announcement again in both languages to welcome you to your destination and thank you for flying with Wizz Air.
Disembarking the plane was the same mad rush as boarding. Everyone stood up the second that the seatbelt sign was turned off and the isle was instantly blocked with people removing baggage from overhead compartments even though no-one could move as the doors were not open. As soon as the doors opened the cabin crew made another announcement to let us know this and said goodbye or thank you to each individual as we got off.
Just before I summarise my opinion on Wizz Air I think it is best to point out that if like me you are travelling with hand luggage only please becareful on the size of your bag and the weight as they are very strict about this and they do check at the boarding gate and if your luggage is too heavy or too big they will either charge you to carry it in the hold or refuse you travel.
Overall I have flown with Wizz Air a total of 10 times this year and so far I have suffered only one delay of just one hour. I have always found the cabin crew to be very polite, efficient and always very smartly dressed in their Wizz Air uniforms. I find the prices to be very reasonable, the most I have paid was £215 for a return flight to Warsaw, however this was booked very last minute. Usually I have been paying around £70 - £90 for my return flights to Warsaw. I have travelled with hold baggage twice and both times I had no problems. I simply entered the airport and proceeded to where the check in desks are and there was a separate one with only about two people waiting where I simply had to put my case on the conveyor belt and show the check in staff my boarding card for them to attach the destination tags. My luggage has never been damaged or lost with Wizz Air and both times it came off the plane and into the baggage hall by the time we had gone through passport control.
I highly recommend booking and flying with Wizz Air.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: A great low cost airline... possibly the best I have use so far