We knew we wanted to travel to Europe this summer, but we also knew we wanted to not spend too much money on airfare. Wizz Air, a Hungarian budget airline, recently started operating out of Dubai's new Al Maktoum airport. From there, Wizz Air flies to Budapest, Sofia, Kyiv, or Bucharest. We priced it all out and got the five of us to Bucharest for a third of what it would have cost to fly to Europe on a regular airline.
We've flown our share of Southwest in the US, and Air Arabia/Fly Dubai in the UAE. But Wizz Air took "budget airline" to a new level. Here are the ups and downs of Wizz Air.
Price. Wizz Air fares are very cheap. In fact, "the tickets were cheap" became my in-flight mantra to help me deal with all the discomfort, annoyance, and inconvenience of the process. If you are flying as a family, make sure to pay the 29 Euros to join the Discount Club, which then gets you at least 10 Euros off each fare.
Routes. Wizz Air has a corner, if you will, on a certain corner of Europe (the four cities mentioned above). They are the only ones with a direct flight to Bucharest from Dubai, for example, and that ended up being a great option for us.
Fees fees fees. That cheap ticket you just bought entitles you to sit yourself and a backpack or purse on the plane. That's it. There is no free luggage allowance. If you want to stow a bag in the overhead compartment, or check a suitcase, you have to pay, and it isn't cheap (anywhere from 10 Euros to 65 Euros).
The fees get even more expensive if you wait to pay them at the airport. This even applies to checking in. If you check in online and print out your own boarding pass, it's free. If you wait until the airport, it's 20 Euros. Each. Etc.
The seats don't recline. Whatever. At least the seat of the person in front of you doesn't recline, either.
There is no (free) food or beverage service. You will have to pay even for water.
The flight is rough around the edges. Little stuff, like how even though ours was a night flight, they kept the cabin lights bright as day until the last hour or two, with constant interruptions for announcements about duty-free shopping. Our poor Emirates-pampered girls kept asking when the stars would come on.
The boarding process was a nightmare. It's possible to pay for a service called Priority Boarding, but to me, it seemed that Priority Boarding was just normal boarding, and then they made things worse for all the rest of us.
Open seating. I can't believe open seating still exists in this day and age. What a circus!
Overall, I'd fly Wizz Air again (including, obviously, our trip home next month). The point is that they offer cheap fares, not a frilly traveling experience!
(Oh, and our girls were allowed to take their Trunki suitcases on board as small cabin bags. I googled that before we left and couldn't find a definitive answer.)