Explore new destinations with Wizz Air
I’m super excited this weekend as I’m partnering with Wizz Air for a weekend escape to Romania. Another country on my bucket list just got a whole lot easier to visit thanks to two flights a week from Doncaster Sheffield Airport to Cluj-Napoca, a small town in the heart of Transylvania.
Flying from Doncaster Airport
It is just twenty minutes from our house to Doncaster Sheffield airport which makes a delightful change from the ninety minute journey to Manchester that we usually have to endure. So here we are at the crack of dawn, bleary-eyed and a little grumpy, but full of anticipation for our weekend visit to Romania.
About Wizz Air
I will be honest – the only reason I had even heard of Wizz Air is because of their distinctive pink livery – way classier than orange don’t you think?
The airline was launched in 2004 in Katowice, Poland and has grown to become a leading Central and Eastern European carrier opening up easy access to many destinations previously difficult to reach. Within a few hours, you can be touching down in medieval cities drenched in fascinating, historical significance, such as Warsaw, Gdansk and Skopje.
This airline has me dreaming of weekends away, offering 420 routes from 25 bases in the region. I think I may be about to become their newest frequent flyer!
Departures from Doncaster Airport
The destination map from Doncaster Sheffield has me salivating at the prospect of great value weekend breaks to places I had not considered before. Just take a peek for yourself.
It is a similiar story too from the other UK airports that Wizz Air serves.
Booking your seats
When it comes to booking your seats, Wizz Air is not your typical budget airline. It offers a range of creative, added services at a very reasonable price and rewards loyalty through the Wizz Discount Club.
Here’s how the pricing works when you book flights online quickly using the search facility. It returns two prices; Basic and Plus.
In this example selecting Basic results in a fare of £84.98 per person including one hold bag priced at £26.50 for 32 kg. Be sure to double-check the costs of the hold baggage, as this varies depending on the route, with Vilnius for instance costing less.
It is possible to check in at the airport for just £9 which is incredibly reasonable considering Ryanair once charged me £80 to print my boarding pass. I swear to god that is the most expensive piece of paper I have ever had the misfortune to own.
If you book Plus flights instead, the cost rises to £128.98 but includes a range of extra benefits including:
|Feature||Individual Cost (inbound and outbound)|
|Free airport and online check-in||£18.00|
|+1 Small personal item on board||Included|
|1 Large cabin bag||£18.00|
|1 Heavy checked-in bag||£26.50|
Personally I think this is incredibly worthwhile as the extra cost is just £44 and if you add up the value of all the additional extras it comes to a whopping £95.50 (assuming of course that you value those benefits!).
Talking of baggage, fees can make a huge difference to the price of your budget flight but to be fair Wizz Air baggage costs seem pretty reasonable if you opt for the basic fare.
|Type||Size||Weight||Cost||Number of bags allowed|
|Small Cabin bag||42x32x25cm||10kg max||Free||One|
|Large cabin bag||56x45x25cm||10kg max||£9 online or £30-£40 at the airport||One|
|Hold bag||119x149x171cm||32kg||£13 – £50 per item||Up to 6 items per passenger|
Fees may vary depending on the route.
The good news is that unlike the poxy 15 kg allowance for Ryanair hold luggage, Wizz Air offers a very generous weight allowance with a choice of either 23 kg or 32 kg bags. The downside is that you really need to be careful with the size of your hand luggage as if it exceeds a certain size, there will be a surcharge at the airport.
Wizz Flex is an incredibly innovative feature which personally I think makes opting for the Plus worthwhile in itself. It allows unlimited flight changes for free up to an astonishing four hours before the flight. Now, it is rare that I cancel a trip but occasionally life gets in the way, people get sick, circumstances change.
How great to know that you are booking your trip with no need to worry about any changes you might make ultimately costing you the price of another ticket!!
Wizz Discount Club
The Wizz Discount club is another innovative feature which I have not come across before on any airline. Essentially you pay an annual fee which then qualifies you for at least £7.50 off the fare price, discounts on your luggage costs and member only offers. It costs just £26.99 per year.
I’ve just signed up as I have already booked further flights with Wizz to Macedonia. See, what I mean about a whole new world awaiting me? The savings on your first trip fund the club in any case!
Applying the Wizz Discount club to the basic booking actually decreases the price from £84.98 to £81.97 – yes that’s a saving of £3.01 once the relevant discounts have been applied. This really rewards those who will book more than one trip per annum with Wizz Air and is evidence of how this airline thinks differently.
Plus your membership is good for up to five family members making this exceptional value but make sure you book any more family members at the same time otherwise the discount will not apply.
Wizz Express Booking
Express Booking is a new, first of its kind function which launched in May as part of the new Wizz Air website. It enables WIZZ customers to buy their ticket in just three clicks, within thirty seconds. This is great for those who prefer to use mobile devices and won’t even test the patience of someone as impatient as me!
You can check out the video below to see exactly how this feature works.
Wizz Privilege Pass
Privilege pass is for those who fly regularly and for €99 per annum, you enjoy free seat selection, priority boarding, a small personal item and large cabin bag. Given the cost of paying for these items, you would need to fly several times to get your money’s worth but more importantly you need to consider whether you really value those benefits enough to want to pay extra for them.
Whilst I think the Wizz Discount Club totally makes sense, I am more on the fence in respect of this pass.
On the whole, Wizz Air offer some great innovative booking features but on the downside, when booking flights to Macedonia, I found the booking process to be slow and cumbersome so be patient. Rather surprisingly also, a day after booking I received a free Wizz Air Discount Club coupon which is no use to me at all considering I already signed up for it when making my bookings!
Before and during your flight
So once you have booked your flight and are en route, what else can you look forward to?
Well first you may wish to download the Wizz App which allows you to easily check schedules, change flights, make bookings and stay updated. It is much easier to use this than trying to navigate around the website on your mobile phone.
For passengers with small children or with disabilities, Wizz Air offers Priority boarding free of charge. For everyone else, there is a small extra charge of £3.50 unless you opted for a Plus ticket.
Personally, I would not bother with this as in reality all it means is that you are the first to board the bus and then wait ages for everyone else to get on which is what happens on our return journey from Cluj. At Doncaster, you will be the first to enter the gangway only to end up waiting in the drafty corridor until the plane is ready.
It is quite nice being able to smugly walk past everyone as you jump the queue and admittedly isn’t expensive but doesn’t really achieve anything!
Once onboard, I find myself impressed by the trendy, fun design with pink and purple decor throughout. The seat pitch is reasonable and the seats comfy.
The staff look smart and presentable in their purple uniform and the service is good. Even better, the prices onboard don’t leave me reeling, with water and coffee costing €2, wine, beer and sandwiches €4 and spirits €5. I need that strong coffee, considering the ungodly hour of the flights on both the outbound and inbound routes!
What else do you need to know about Wizz Air?
Flights leave on Mondays and Fridays from Doncaster to Cluj-Napoca with fares starting from a super low £24.99 (One-way including taxes and non-optional charges). Don’t miss our upcoming posts on our weekend in Romania by signing up for updates here.
In total, Wizz Air offers 77 routes to 37 destinations in 15 countries from nine major UK airports (Gatwick, Glasgow, Belfast, Aberdeen, Doncaster, Liverpool, Birmingham, London Luton and Bristol). You are spoiled for choice!
You can take your pick from a vast amount of destinations in the Balkans, Baltics, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and can also book hotels, car parking and hire cars online with Wizz from as little as €12 a day.
Although, you can book airport connections online between many of the destinations, I wouldn’t recommend this. Prices from Cluj Napoca to downtown are €15 single or €30 return and we only paid between 20 and 30 Lei which works out around half that price.
Wizz Air pack a punch for a budget airline. Their route map has me excited for weekend trips to Europe when I had long ago dismissed Europe as a weekend destination having ticked off the main tourist cities.
The airline offers a range of cool services which I haven’t seen on other airlines and best of all for me, it flies from an airport which is practically on my doorstep. I feel a bunch of weekend trips coming on!
The only downside is that you have no choice over your seat selection unless you pay extra but we were seated anyway. You also don’t seem to be able to add an additional person to your booking so if you happen to book people separately, you will likely find yourself sitting in different parts of the plane.
That’s a small price to pay in my opinion when the airline opens up a range of exciting new affordable destinations. It definitely won’t be my last trip on Wizz Air.
Have your say?
Have you flown Wizz Air and if so, what did you think? Which is your favourite budget airline and why? I’d love to know.
Disclaimer: Please note we flew courtesy of Wizz Air but all opinions are unedited and our own.