Needing to find a way across Europe I stumbled upon an ultra-low fare from Wizz Air onboard their A320 from regional airport Bristol to Polish southern airport Katowice. Flying from 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM, would I be game to try the midnight low-cost-carrier express?
Wizz Air is part of the Indigo Partners group (same as Frontier in the US). They operate mostly regional airport to regional airport and offer rock bottom fares. Their fleet is all Airbus, with a mix of A320-200s (today’s aircraft) and A321s.
Here is a video of the trip:
It begins with the check-in process. Wizz Air offers three ways to check-in: Online, their App and at the airport. At the airport attracts a pretty hefty fee that makes you want to check in via either of the other two methods, however, this reviewer had to go to the check-in desk anyway to drop off bags.
So, online it asks you to print off your boarding pass or install the app. Fearing that I would not be given the option to board without a printout, I decided to follow through with the app. The app itself kept trying to upsell and incorrectly add passenger information on my phone (the way to enter dates was irritating, to say the least) and I was on one of the most common operating systems, the iPhone.
Eventually, I was able to check-in and proceed to the airport.
Arriving at the airport, dropping off the bags was easy. Because Wizz is a low-cost-carrier it seems most of the other passengers opted to not pay the extra baggage fee. As I also did not choose a seat, I was given a random one which happened to be 1C at the front of the plane (score!). But we will get to the seat later.
We boarded via a bridge and it was actually quick with both the front and the rear door open.
The seat was surprisingly more comfortable than I expected, with a nice polished leather giving it a rather luxury feel (better than cloth). Upon doing research online, I noticed that the aircraft is listed as having 28 inches of legroom throughout, but as I was in the front row I had a few more to spare (I’d estimate 30-31), which was a game-changer.
You can actually book to have this forward seat if you pay extra, but I happened to get lucky on this occasion.
You do miss the rear seatback tray table and under-seat storage, however. The other thing you might notice is that you are directly face-to-face with the cabin crew. They all happened to look like Hungarian supermodels, so I was in luck, but for those who don’t like eye contact, it can be a little odd to have someone right in front of you.
Video of the day:
The food and service
Once we took off, the cabin crew offered a pay as you good meal service that was surprisingly cheap.
With an even bigger menu of options
Knowing that inflight meals on a low-cost carrier can generally be good (after all they want people to buy them), I purchased the salami baguette.
I do have to admit though that the sandwich was far smaller than I thought. Those familiar with the size of a bottle of water or a 4-bar Kitkat will see that it is small. Although it was cold, it was tasty and a nice little treat.
After meals and duty-free shopping (remember that is still a thing on some airlines), the cabin crew prepared for the landing and we arrived at one past midnight local time. As so few people added the checked luggage, my luggage was there as soon as we bused to the terminal and I was on my way into the cold Polish night.
Just a small note, for those who are looking for a cheap way to get to Krakow and think about flying to Katowice and taking the night bus – don’t. It is not worth it; I arrived much later (4 am to my hotel) and took a day to recover. Next time, fly direct.
The bottom line
In the end, Wizz Air provided a completely fine service between these two destinations. The seat was cramped (although I had more leg room as I was at the front), but the service and food was good enough.
The total cost of my entire trip? 20 Euros for the flight and 20 Euros for baggage. Not bad.
What do you think? Will you consider Wizz in the future?