Wizz Air

I’m a big fan of budget airlines, but on recent flights I’ve been frustrated by the lack of space in the overhead bins — last year I had to put my backpack under the seat in front of me, where it clearly didn’t fit.

Wizz Air recognised this problem and found a solution that had the added advantage of generating added revenue: charge for carry-on bags. You can carry a small bag (schoolbag-sized, for example) for free, but if you want to take a larger piece of luggage, you have to pay a €10 fee.

We discovered this charming policy when planning a trip to Italy, and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I hate extra charges with a vengeance, but I also recognise the need to have more space for luggage in the cabin.

The main problem is that when searching for flights in a flight aggregator, this charge isn’t included in the final price, so you have to know about it in advance before committing to the booking. I expect to pay for a check-in bag, so if I was taking one I’d factor this into the price, but paying for a carry-on bag is a new one for me.

At the airport, the two travellers ahead of us in the check-in line obviously hadn’t read the small print correctly, and hadn’t paid for their large cabin bags in advance; of course it cost more to do this at the airport — another easy source of revenue for Wizz Air.

There's not much leg room.

There’s not much leg room.

This difference was the defining feature of our journey with Wizz Air, which was otherwise not dissimilar to travelling with other budget airlines. All the staff were very friendly and helpful, but there was the normal long line for boarding and we didn’t end up with our preferred seats. And the seats had the smallest amount of legroom we’d experienced for some time — there certainly wasn’t enough space to use a laptop, so Craig couldn’t do the work he’d planned to do. Of course, we could have bought an “XXL” seat with extra legroom for an additional €8 each…

On the whole, though, the journey was smooth and pleasant, and great value for money — even with the extra €10 charge, it was still the cheapest option for our journey. I’d fly with them again.

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