The Baggage Policy of Wizz Air
Wizz Air was one of our favourite low-cost airlines as we have rated them in our previous review. However, our latest flight with them changed our opinion after we faced their new baggage policy. Wizz Air had once again changed their free baggage rules and this time it comes with huge problems. The flexibility has gone and travelling with Wizz Air is causing stressful situation.
Cabin Luggage Is Not Allowed into the Cabin
Wizz Air's ticket includes 1 hand luggage free of charge but in the reality, the hand luggage will be put into the airlines's hold even though Wizz Air is calling it as hand luggage.
In July 2018, we were flying from Turku to Vienna via Gdansk with Wizz Air. We had examined carefully Wizz Air's baggage rules and we knew they allow only 1 piece of hand luggage free of charge so each of us had packed all our things to single hand luggage. So far the policy seemed to be just okay. Since Wizz Air does not allow extra personal item in the cabin, both of us had just 1 hand luggage and nothing more.
A surprise occurred at Turku Airport where Wizz Air's representative asked both of us to give our hand luggage to the hold. It meant that we had to give all what we had to the hold. A representative told that Wizz Air had just introduced a new policy which states that free hand luggage will always be put to the hold of the aircraft. The hand luggage won't be hand luggage anymore and we understood that no exceptions are being made.
We told Wizz Air's representative that we can't check the hand luggage into the hold because they contain electronic devices with batteries, medicines, keys and other items that are not allowed in the aircraft's hold. Wizz Air was not willing to help at all. They told: You only get the hand luggage into the cabin by buying priority boarding. We didn't buy this extra service, because priority boarding is more like a priority queuing service where you can be among the first ones to queue into the plane. Without paying them for this unnecessary service, the hand luggage can not be carried with you to the cabin regardless what it contains.
Luckily or hilariously Wizz Air had a solution. We may take all our important items to the cabin for example, by putting them in a plastic bag which the airport offered free of charge. A black trash bag was not a practical solution, so we had to put our things into pockets and keep some things on our hands. Before landing, a flight attendant asked us to put our laptop below the seat in front of us but during the take-off it seemed to be totally acceptable to keep it on the lap as the crew did not disallow it. Their rules sounded inconsistent and actually it is not so nice to keep a laptop on the floor.
How Is Flight Safety Affected?
It is possible that Wizz Air's new baggage policy decreases the flight safety. People are expecting that their hand luggage travel with them in the cabin and people are packing all burnable items like batteries inside the hand luggage. At the airport, the baggage will be taken to the hold and those dangerous items will most probably stay inside the baggage when people get confused at the airport. Finally, airplane's hold is full of backup batteries and similar things, that are considered hazardous affecting the flight safety.
The most misleading part is that, Wizz Air is still calling baggage as hand luggage even though it will be put to the hold.
Maximizing Profit - Minimizing Quality
People may be wondering what is the point of putting all hand luggage into the hold. It is easy to understand that handling the baggage at the airport costs a lot of money for the airline and putting hand luggage into the hold increases airline's costs. So the arrangement seems to be ironical. Normally, airlines are putting cabin baggage into the hold only when the cabin gets full and airline crews are usually asking for volunteers who are willing to have their baggage into the hold.
Most probably the idea of the Wizz Air's new rule is to make passenger's travelling more complicated and somehow "force" them to buy Priority Boarding service. Priority boarding is quite a useless service but it guarantees the hand luggage into the cabin. Wizz Air is probably calculating that the increased priority boarding income will probably be more than the increased cargo handling costs. Many people are willing to pay for the priority boarding to avoid problems at the airport and to avoid waiting for the hand luggage from the hold at the destination airport. But this is not the case for all low-cost airlines.
Wizz Air's new baggage policy is not customer-friendly. The airline used to be one of our favourite low-cost airlines but now Wizz Air falls to the same rating scale as Ryanair. In addition, while allocating seats, Wizz Air has started to separate people travelling in the same booking without any logical reason and asking more money if travellers wanted to sit adjacent to each other.
Wizz Air may still be a good airline to fly some routes but we recommend using Wizz Air only when they are much cheaper than their competitors. There are now many better low-cost airlines like Transavia or Norwegian Air Shuttle. People should fly with airlines which are solving problems leading to customer's increased satisfaction, rather than making passengers' flight more unpleasant.
Have you had bad experiences with Wizz Air or has everything gone smoothly? Comment below. Before flying, check Wizz Air's up-to-date baggage policy from their web page because the information may have changed.