I have flown with many airlines in my lifetime, from British Airways, Virgin to Ryanair & EasyJet. On my recent trip to Bucharest with the Swans, I thought I’d try flying with Wizz Air, a Hungarian based airline company. When I kept telling people the name ‘Wizz Air’ I used to get reactions of laughter or confusion for whatever reason!
I was a little bit wary to fly with them at first, as I know they have a reputation of cancelling flights with hardly any notice, sometimes leaving customers stranded. Their customer service call centre costs 77p a minute too.
For some reason their website wouldn’t initially accept my card when I tried to book flights, I pressed the ‘bank transfer’ button by mistake, meaning I had to ring my bank to do confirm the payment, after a hour it finally went through as I eagerly anticipated my confirmation. I slept easier after the confirmation email came through 4 days later, minor problem number one over!
Wizz Air seem to be the only airline that charge for taking hand luggage on board their planes, should they not meet the size requirements stated on their website. My trusty rucksack I usually take abroad with me was too big (boo), so I ended up borrowing a smaller one that JUST about fitted the 42X32X25 requirements.
Off to Luton Airport we went and dropped off our suitcase no problems or extra charges/fines to be paid. (Woohoo). So far, so good.
The flight from Luton to Bucharest went pretty well, not much leg room, but I did manage to sleep. There was a one hour delay before we took off, but this was seemingly down to the fog that didn’t want to lift – Though no announcement was made to us to explain this.
No problems in collecting the luggage on the other side, so off we went to enjoy Swansea’s 2nd away game in Europe this season!
Unfortunately the return journey did not go as well, there was another hour delay – which was no biggie really, we all boarded the plane, sat down and that’s when things started to turn into a shambles.
Checks of the plane were done, as usual, by the flight attendants, seatbelts, window shades and seats up (as if the latter two would really make that much of a difference, but I’m no aviation expert).
Then an announcement was made by the pilot to say the air conditioning doesn’t work on the ground and we were about to take off, 10 minutes later we were still in the same place, another 10 minutes passed and another announcement was made to say an engineer was needed to fix the problem, but it would only take 10 minutes.
The problem was it was extremely hot on the plane by now, people were fanning themselves and stripping off (not all the way I must add), the questions were asked to the attendants to why we were let onto the plane in the 1st place and to make matters worse you had to pay for water to hydrate yourself.
About 30 minutes passed (I lost track of time by this point), still on the ground in the same place and we heard from the pilot again and we were ready to go – or so we thought.
After many people taking their time to sit down and the flight attendant’s reluctance to do anything at all, this was making the process longer. The usual spiel for safety was done in both English and Romanian and then the pilot spoke to us again (fed up of hearing him by now).
There was now a problem with starting the engines, so a generator was needed to fix this problem, but it wouldn’t take too long (his words!). Obviously by this time tensions were rising and it was at times like this I wish I could speak other languages, so I could understand the discussions taking place.
One family had had enough and walked off, others were standing up and refusing to sit down, though again the attendants were really trying their best not to do anything at all. Then the pilot spoke to us again and said we all had to disembark, then suddenly changed his mind and said we were taking off (he must be a nightmare to go shopping with).
Chants from Swansea fans of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ seemed pretty apt. A Romanian security guard then came on to restore order and finally the air con worked and the engines started. We took off 2 hours and 50 minutes later than we were due to, sarcastic clapping followed once the plane was airborne.
That was my first Wizz Air experience, some Wales fans are flying to Macedonia there next week, thankfully I am going with Croatian Airlines.
I’d still fly with Wizz Air, though not as my first choice, they don’t seem as bad as Ryanair in the fact that all their extra fees are clearly stated on their website and personally I would rather a working plane than a non working plane.
The main issues were that the information provided to us was sometimes non existent or wrong and the fact we were all told to board when there was an air conditioning problem.
A nightmare return journey, but thankfully the plane took off and landed safely and all the passengers probably lost a bit of weight due to the heat. I suppose you do get what you pay for sometimes.