Wizz Air Baggage Check Scam

I’m a capitalist at heart, but when a company abuses the system and screws their customers, I become upset.

In the business of flying,  any airline is a perfect substitute for another. This results in most customers choosing the flight with the lowest price. There are several price aggregators (Kayak, Orbitz, Cheapoair, etc) that allow you to easily compare prices of the same flight by different airlines.

Airlines know that customers will only choose them based on price, so they compete to offer the lower prices than any other airline. This sort of competition is good for the consumer, as it forces airlines to streamline their processes, cut costs and run more efficiently. Unfortunately, some airlines decide to use this as a way to screw the customer.

How I was screwed by Wizz Air:

I’ve traveled on over 20 planes in 2011, through a dozen airports and through a dozen airlines, all with the exact same luggage set-up.  One small piece of hand luggage (carry on) and my small backpack (personal item).  I’ve often times saved money by buying a ticket that does not include checked baggage.  In this time I’ve never encountered a problem.  My hand luggage always fit in the over-head compartment, and nobody has ever questioned it being too big (its pretty small).

I purchased my Wizz Air ticket from Rome to Prague because it was the cheapest.  It did not include checked baggage, which was fine with me since I’ve never been required to check it.  I went ahead and booked the flight.

Next, I’m told that I must print out my boarding pass before entering the airport, or I’ll be charged 10 euro.  I don’t have a printer, but I can find one.  I print out the boarding pass, and then it tells me I still have to visit the check-in desk.  What is the point of doing the e-check-in then?

While I’m waiting in line for the check-in, I see people frustrated at the counter, and leaving/returning with little slips of paper.  I don’t understand what the confusion is.

I visit the check-in desk, and they ask which piece of luggage I’d like to check.  I explain that I have on piece of hand luggage and one personal item, and this has been just fine with every other airline I’ve ever traveled with.  The lady says that you can only have one item.  Realizing that I have no choice at this point, I’m check my piece of hand luggage.  That will be 40 euro, go pay at the ticket window.

I head to the ticket window with my slip of paper, realizing that everyone else in line has been screwed just like myself.

Why this is unethical:

One of the fundamentals of capitalism is consumer choice.  Consumers can chose between competing businesses based on the good/service and price.  However, when faced with the 40 euro baggage charge, I did not have a choice.

Furthermore, the 40 euro fee was not a fair price to check a bag.  I could have easily carried it on board, just like I have done dozens of times in the past, however Wizz Air came up with a policy that would generate extra profits from unsuspecting customers.

Wizz air was the cheapest price upfront, but ended up costing me more in the end.  Had they included their hidden fees in their initial price, they would not have been the cheapest price, and I would have made the choice to go with a different airline.  Wizz Air decided to spring the extra fees on me when I had no choice, thereby going against the very ideals of capitalism.

Why complain about it?

Hopefully a few people will stumble upon this blog post while searching for Wizz Air baggage, and decide to go with a different company.  Also, I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my Wizz Air flight, its fresh on my mind and I wanted to rant.

8 Responses to “Wizz Air Baggage Check Scam”

  1. adam says:

    Hey Tom,

    welcome to Europe. Unfortunately it’s not an airline specific thing, but an airport one. Most of the airports in Europe don’t allow to have more than 1 piece of hand luggage, including your camera/laptop case.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_luggage (Security restrictions part)

    ryanair:
    http://www.ryanair.com/en/questions/cabin-baggage-allowance

    easyjet:
    http://easyjet.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5/~/what-is-my-hand-luggage-allowance%3F

    Cheers,
    adam

  2. Therese says:

    Hi,

    Your article is informative and well written. You might want to post in this tripadvisor forum:

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i10702-k4326308-Wizz_Air-Air_Travel.html

    or some other place where users can find it.

  3. Tommy says:

    I’ve already been on 4 flights in Europe. Dusseldorf to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Amsterdam, Barcelona to Madrid and Madrid to Rome, and didn’t have a problem with any of them. Also, I saw plenty of people in the security line in the Italy airport that had a hand bag and a personal item. I guess I’ll have to check the requirements again before booking a ticket.

    Still pretty underhanded to profit in this manner. People don’t check bags because airlines started charging, so people just bring hand luggage. Now they are forcing you to check your hand luggage. Go find better ways to make a profit.

  4. adam says:

    better ways like this? ;)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1263905/Ryanair-toilet-charges-phased-in.html

    lol…

    I normally put the “second” small items under my t-shirt though, and tell them that is part of my clothes.

  5. adam says:

    *clothing

  6. Tommy says:

    Wow. I had a discussion about this last night here in Prague, and someone mentioned that they would like to have “standing” seats to stuff more people in.

  7. Totally agree it’s unethical. And just because other low-cost carriers do it doesn’t make it right. Good that you’re getting the word out.

  8. Jane D says:

    I completely agree with you. This airline is a scam! After arriving at my gate, they purposely delayed the flight so that the staff could cash in on everyone’s carry-ons. The staff at the Wizzair gate in Madrid Barajas insisted on being paid 60 Euro – CASH ONLY (they refused to take credit cards – now how legit is that??) in order to let me board the flight and confiscated the carry-on that I had used on numerous other flights during this trip and others (standard carry-on that fit and complied with every other airline I had been on, including Wizzair during a previous flight with them just a month earlier). They could have easily asked people to pay or rearrange their luggage when checking in, but instead chose to trap everyone and force people to pay cash when they had no other choice left. People were ripping the wheels off their carry-ons or simply abandoning them at the airport! It was a complete circus, a scheme orchestrated by a criminal airline. Wizzair’s size requirements do not comply with international standards (no well-made carry-on with wheels will fit their frame.. so if you use Wizzair for a connecting flight, forget about your carry-on) and their policies and employees are simply abusive and immoral..

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