Three weeks ago I flew Wizz Air out of Iceland to Lithuania. This was my second flight with Wizz, including last year’s London Luton to Kosice, Slovakia on Wizz. The competitive advantage of Hungary-based Wizz Air is they have many unique eastern European routes.
Most memorable line from TBEX 2016 Stockholm was a conversation with travel bloggers about any airlines we would never fly again. One travel blogger said Wizz is an airline she would never fly again.
I have no complaints about Wizz Air.
I do not have any permanent airline biases myself, although Spirit Airlines sits low on my choices after my only flight experience with them in 2012 separated me from my checked bag for a couple days.
Skipped WOW Iceland to Copenhagen and flew Wizz directly to Lithuania
My travel plan had flown me from San Francisco to Keflavik KEF, Iceland on a $70 WOW Air one way ticket to Copenhagen. My WOW itinerary was a 1:30pm arrival in Keflavik and a 6:30am departure the following day. The price of tickets out of Copenhagen CPH or Malmo, Sweden MMX airports to Vilnius or Kaunas, Lithuania meant I would need to stay overnight in Denmark or Sweden to get a low fare to Lithuania.
Instead, I booked Wizz Air from Keflavik to Vilnius for $71 and skipped the early morning 6:30am WOW flight departure for Copenhagen. As WOW Air departed Iceland for Copenhagen at 6:30am, I slept in at the Hilton Nordica Reykjavik. My Wizz flight at 5:50pm gave me several hours during the day to walk around Reykjavik before the 50 minute ride bus back to Keflavik airport.
Wizz Air was the second of four flights I ticketed on low cost carriers to travel from California to Europe and back for $325 all-in airfare:
- WOW Air San Francisco – Keflavik, Iceland KEF – Copenhagen $70 one way.
- Wizz Air Keflavik KEF – Vilnius, Lithuania VNO $71 one way
- Norwegian Air Riga, Latvia RIX – Stockholm Arlanda ARN $36
- Norwegian Air Stockholm Arlanda ARN – Oakland, California OAK $148
- Vilnius to Kaunas by train cost $5, bus to Klaipeda was $17 and Klaipeda, Lithuania to Riga, Latvia was $19 by bus.
Since I did not pay any airline bag fees or buy seat assignments on any of my four low cost carrier one-way tickets, I traveled light with one small backpack and a winter parka.
My backpack fit perfectly for WOW free carry-on bag. Wizz Airlines has same size free carry-on allowance of 42x32x25cm. Wizz Air also has a pink theme to its airline and crew uniforms. There is a whole lotta pink at Keflavik airport.
Wizz Air whole lotta drinkin’ goin’ on
Wizz Air has 80 aircraft with 63 A-320 and 17 A-321 planes flying routes to 28 countries in Europe, Middle East and Morocco.
My flight karma ran out for this Wizz flight. I was assigned middle seat 30E in the last row of the aircraft, seated between two men for the four hour fully loaded flight. Best aspect was my backseat view of the Wizz flight party happening on the way to Lithuania.
Beer and wine for 4 EUR inflight is a real bargain compared to the price of alcohol in Iceland. Even better is buy 2 bottles or cans of beer/wine and the price is 3EUR each.
This flight outdrank any flight I recall in years. Think Hawaii or Las Vegas flight, and add a binge drinking element. I was amazed the aircraft carried so much alcohol. I was tired after a day hiking around carrying my loaded backpack for six hours and only drank water on the flight.
There was a crew of young men and women traveling together who looked like they may have been a band or some kind of entertainers. At least they were entertainment for me on the 4-hour flight.
One guy stood in the single lane aisle for at least three hours of the flight. It looked to me like he started out drinking canned beers from his duty free purchase bag. A while later in the flight, duty free bag no longer visible, he was drink passer-in-chief for his crew, picking up beers and bottles of wine from the cart at each pass. And the drinks cart kept rolling up and down the aisle throughout the flight.
The guy next to me had four bottles of wine. For the last hour of the flight he became talkative, although admittedly, he said he could only understand about 25% of what I was saying to him and I could only understand about half of what he said to me.
His short story is he was a Lithuanian working in Iceland, he did not say what he did there, and he was flying to Vilnius for the week to meet his girlfriend.
A 3-hour time difference and a 4-hour flight meant our 5:50pm delayed flight departure to 6:30pm resulted in Vilnius arrival around 1:30am. Fortunately the aircraft was unloaded from the rear of the plane, so I was off the aircraft quickly, through VNO and out the airport doors to grab one of the waiting taxis.
I paid 10 EUR to get to Ramada Vilnius in the center of Old Town, one of the city’s finest hotels. If I had arrived in daytime, the public bus is 1 EUR.
Wizz Air is launching direct flights between Reykjavik and Prague PRG or Wroclaw, Poland WRO in May 2017.
The deal is low cost flights from the USA to Europe on WOW all transit through Keflavik Airport KEF Iceland. WOW low fare sales generally offer continental European destinations at a lower price than a ticket to Keflavik KEF as your destination. WOW Air does not fly to Prague.
This means if you travel one way on WOW with only carry-on bags, you can exit in Iceland, hang out for however long you want and catch a Wizz flight directly to Prague or several other destinations for a cheap one way ticket to a destination (Prague) that does not offer many sale prices from USA airports.
Wizz Air route map is useful to see where the airline flies, since there are so many unique routes. Plug in a departure airport and see the routes Wizz Air has from there.
Wizz Air Warsaw, Poland WAW routes.
As I try to piece together summer itineraries in June and July, Eindhoven EIN, Berlin SXF, London LTN, Warsaw WAW, Nice NCE, Porto OPO, Stockholm NYO play heavy into my routing plans.
I am discovering routes I did not know existed like Berlin SXF and Wroclaw, Poland WRO to Lviv, Ukraine LWO. Wizz has seven new Ukraine routes in 2017. Don’t think I can convince Kelley to go to Lviv, but I want to get there. I’ll keep these Wizz routes in my mind for future reference.
Looks likely I will find myself flying Wizz Air again this summer with low fare deals around Europe.
I plan to travel 8 to 10 countries over two extended stay trips. Wizz Air might help me connect currently ticketed flights arriving in Barcelona and departing Stockholm on one trip and an arrival in Stockholm with departure in London on second trip.
Barcelona, Porto, Nice and Stockholm are one trip idea.
Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Riga, Stockholm and London are another idea.
Poland seems like a multi-city gateway to low fares for transiting across Europe with Wizz Air. I can take a 6.5 hour $50 train ride from Berlin to Prague or I can fly Berlin SXF to Lviv, Ukraine to Wroclaw, Poland with stops in 2 cities and take a 5 hour bus ride Wroclaw to Prague for $15. It comes down to a matter of preference in touring more places or staying in one place for a longer time. I did the Prague-Wroclaw-Krakow 3 cities in a week on a January 2017 trip.
Those $11 flights on Wizz Air between Stockholm, Sweden Skavsta Airport NYO and Warsaw, Poland WAW look like my kind of deal.
I can even throw in the fee for Kelley’s checked bag and not feel gouged by an airline ticket. Might even skip seat assignment fees to see if Wizz keep us seated together since one reservation or if we both end up separated in middle seats.