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In 2018, we faced a predicament with Wizz Air's luggage policy. Although the regulations have since changed, this story serves as an illustrative example of the issues that can arise from rigid rules.
Luggage Policy of Wizz Air in 2018
Wizz Air used to be among our preferred budget airlines, as we have highlighted in a review. However, one of our an experience with them altered our perception due to the implementation of their
Our Wizz Air Experience at Turku Airport
In July 2018, we embarked on a journey from Turku to Vienna by means of Gdansk with Wizz Air. Before our flight, we thoroughly reviewed Wizz Air's regulations regarding luggage and discovered that only one piece of hand luggage was permitted at no additional cost. Consequently, each of us carefully packed all our belongings into a single piece of hand luggage. Initially, this policy appeared to be satisfactory. However, since Wizz Air prohibited the presence of extra personal items in the cabin, we were both left with only one item of hand luggage and nothing more.
An unexpected event took place at Turku Airport, where the representative of Wizz Air requested that both of us surrender our hand luggage to be placed on the aircraft's hold. This stipulated that we had to relinquish all our possessions for storage. The representative informed us about a newly implemented policy by Wizz Air, which mandated that free hand luggage will now always be stored in the aircraft's hold. Consequently, what was once considered hand luggage did no longer retain its previous status, and it became clear to us that no exceptions would be made under any circumstances.
We informed a representative of Wizz Air that we cannot check our hand luggage into the aircraft's hold due to the presence of electronic devices with batteries, medicines, keys, and other prohibited items. Unfortunately, Wizz Air was unwilling to assist us. They explicitly stated that the only way we could bring our hand luggage into the cabin was by purchasing priority boarding. However, we decided against availing of this additional service as it mainly offered priority queuing rather than addressing our concern about carrying essential items in the cabin. Therefore, regardless of its contents, we were unable to bring our hand luggage with us without paying for this unnecessary service.
Fortunately, Wizz Air presented a solution that was either fortuitous or amusing. To be specific, we were allowed to bring our essential belongings into the cabin by placing them in a complimentary plastic bag provided by the airport. However, using a black garbage bag proved to be impractical, so we resorted to storing our items in pockets and holding onto some of them.
Before landing, one of the flight attendants instructed us to place our laptops under the seat in front of us. Surprisingly though, during take-off, it seemed acceptable to keep it on our laps as no objections were raised by the crew. The inconsistency in their rules is somewhat disconcerting and keeping a laptop on the floor is not particularly pleasant either.
How Was the Flight Safety Affected?
It was possible that Wizz Air's luggage policy decreased the flight safety. People were expecting their hand luggage to travel with them inside the cabin and packed all burnable items like batteries inside the hand luggage. At the airport, the luggage was surprisingly taken to hold and those dangerous items stayed inside the luggage. In the end, the aeroplane's hold was full of backup batteries and similar things, that were considered hazardous affecting flight safety.
The most misleading part was that Wizz Air was still calling the luggage "hand luggage" even though it was put on hold.
Maximizing Profit - Minimizing Quality
We were speculating regarding the rationale behind the decision to place all hand luggage in the aircraft's hold. Understandably, handling luggage at airports incurs significant expenses for airlines, and stowing hand luggage in the hold adds to these costs. Therefore, this arrangement appeared paradoxical. Typically, airlines only store cabin luggage in the hold when all available space within the cabin is occupied, and airline staff often seek volunteers willing to have their baggage checked.
Presumably, Wizz Air implemented this new policy to complicate passengers' travel experience and subtly encourage them to purchase Priority Boarding services. Although Priority Boarding was previously deemed unnecessary, it did ensure that hand luggage remained with passengers in the cabin. Wizz Air likely calculated that additional revenue generated from the increased adoption of priority boarding would compensate for cargo handling expenses. Many individuals were willing to pay for priority boarding to avoid inconveniences at airports and bypass waiting times for retrieving their belongings from the hold upon reaching their destination airport.
In 2018, Wizz Air's policy regarding luggage was anything but customer-friendly. This low-cost airline, which used to be a favourite among many, suddenly shared the same rating scale as Ryanair due to this particular experience. Moreover, when it came to seat allocation, Wizz Air had also started separating individuals who were travelling together without any logical explanation. To make matters worse, they started to ask for an additional fee if passengers wished to sit next to each other.
While Wizz Air may still be a viable option, we recommend considering alternative low-cost airlines such as Transavia or Norwegian Air Shuttle. These airlines have proven to offer better services and prioritize solving problems that lead to increased customer satisfaction rather than making the flying experience more unpleasant.
Have you had similar experiences with Wizz Air? Please share your story below in the comment area.
We have been following the travel industry for years, while travelling in Finland, in various regions of Europe and Asia. Our multicultural background with the extensive travel experience gives us a diverse perspective. We encourage individuals embark on high-quality yet sustainable journeys. Furthermore, we are thrilled to introduce the captivating beauty of our homeland, Finland.