What makes Wizz Air the UK’s worst short-haul airline, according to a new survey?
Wizz Air has been named the UK’s worst short-haul airline in an annual survey completed by Which? amid many complaints.
The rapidly expanding budget company was placed below previously bottom-ranked Ryanair in the poll of more than 8,000 travellers. Wizz was given an average of one star out of five for boarding, cabin environment and seat comfort.
Which? also published data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) showing Wizz was also one of the least punctual airlines, with only 56 per cent of flights arriving in the UK on time.
The airline’s overall customer score of 48 per cent put it at the bottom of the ranking, below Ryanair (52 per cent), Eurowings (53 per cent) and British Airways (56 per cent).
Jet2, with 78 per cent, was rated as Britain’s best short-haul airline and Emirates, at 80 per cent, was found to be the best for the long haul. Lufthansa, with 57 per cent, was the worst.
Which? said: “Wizz Air has long been the only option for large parts of eastern Europe, but has expanded rapidly to more destinations in recent years. Unfortunately, it achieved its growth by becoming a kind of mini-me Ryanair. Like its rival, it charges if you want to bring anything bigger than a bag you can squash under your seat.
“It was also accused of having a similar attitude when things go wrong, with almost half of the respondents saying it had no staff available during delays. That’s a big problem when you consider just how often these happened. Over 2 per cent of flights were more than three hours late — higher than most rivals, although it did tell us it has staff at sales desks to help customers.”
Wizz Air said: “At Wizz Air, we do everything possible to ensure that passengers reach their destination on time and with minimal delay. Wizz Air operates a fleet of brand new, state-of-the-art Airbus aircraft, with an average age of 4.6 years, which offer passengers comfort, space and modern interiors.
“The A321neo features the widest single-aisle cabin configuration with 239 18-inch-wide seats. Every aircraft is cleaned after each flight and deep cleaned every night.”
But what contributed to the airline taking the unwanted wooden spoon in the rankings?
Launching routes – then closing them
Which? said Wizz, which has been flying from the UK since 2004, has billed itself as a specialist in routes to Eastern Europe. However, in recent years it’s expanded to destinations such as North Africa, Turkey, Spain and Italy.
But not all of its expansion has been successful. It opened bases at Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Cardiff Airport and then closed them soon afterwards.
Wizz cancelled more flights than rivals such as easyJet, Jet2 and Ryanair. During the period of the survey, 1.8 per cent of its UK flights were cancelled fewer than 24 hours before departure, compared with 0.5 per cent for Jet2 and Ryanair and 1.3 per cent for easyJet.
Alexandru P wrote on TripAdvisor: “Simply you cannot make any plan for a holiday with them. Out of nowhere they cancel flights and offer no solution.”
The CAA found that it was one of the least punctual airlines, with only 56 per cent of flights arriving in the UK on time. More than 2 per cent of flights were more than three hours late.
Which? said many of Wizz Air’s policies were similar to those of its rival Ryanair. For example, it charges passengers if they want to bring any luggage that won’t fit under the seat in front.
It also has a long list of other charges for services such as airport check-in (€40), name changes (€50) and sitting with travel companions (€10).
Ryanair was rated three stars for customer service by survey respondents, while Wizz received only two.
Abel B wrote on TripAdvisor: “Avoid this company at all cost, they offer you cheap tickets, then they charge you with unexpected check-in, service, seat reservation, luggage etc. fees.”
Wizz Air received one star in this department in the Which? poll, the same score it earned for boarding and cabin environment.
On TripAdvisor, 10,469 of the 22,039 reviews give the airline one star out of five.
However, some were more positive. Robert O said: “No problems whatsoever always did their part of the job, no problems, no concerns. They are professional. Keep it up!”