Wizz Air: Bad Site Design Or Purposefully Misleading?

Just returned from a last trip to the UK before we hunker down in Budapest for Christmas and the birth of our daughter  in February. It was good to see everyone and catch-up on work but slightly soured by the experience of flying Wizz Air.

Not only was my flight out delayed by two hours and diverted to Venice! – yes Venice – so that the airline could deliver a spare part but I was clobbered with a £100 charge for excess baggage despite paying for an extra bag online.

The Venice diversion wasn’t anything to do with our plane being faulty – it was fine – it just turned out that delivering a part to the Venice using our plane and our time – was the easiest option for Wizz Air. Which might have been just about tolerably despite adding two hours to our flight time if they had the sense of fair play to offer a sandwich or a cup of tea but we were told by the air-hostesses that although they would like to – the company would not allow it.

The second mishap on the way back was due to fact that Wizz Air has a stupidly complex – some might even say purposefully so – website when it comes to excess baggage that requires you to not only pay £15 for an extra bag but then pay more depending on how much that bag will weigh!! Thinking that I had paid for my bag I missed the extra step only to find out that I had paid for an extra bag which wasn’t actually allowed to weigh anything! The cost of paying for the bag which weighed 8Kgs was £104 at £13 a Kg. Nice – especially at 6.30 am.

Anyway – suffice to say I that I won’t be flying Wizz Air again.

Here’s my complaint letter:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am a UK journalist currently based in Budapest. I specialise in writing about technology and the web and have a question to ask about your website regarding the excess luggage section.

I am wondering specifically why it is possible to select the option of paying for an extra bag – and then being given the option to choose one that weighs 0 kg?

I am asking this question as I fell foul of this fault this morning when traveling back on Wizz Air Flight W6 0202 to Budapest from a press trip to London. As I was bringing back some products for my pregnant girlfriend – I was happy to pay for an extra bag – which I did online and was charged an extra 5500 HUF.

However it was not until I arrived at the airport to catch my flight this morning that I was told that although I had paid for an extra bag – I had not paid for any kg!!!!. I would like someone to explain to me why the site is designed to let this happen as at worst it is very poor site design and at worst could be seen as willfully misleading and simply an opportunity to confuse travelers and make them pay more for excess luggage.

I did try to tell the check-in attendant that I had tried to pay for the extra bag but was told that there was nothing that could be done and I would have to pay an extra £104 for a bag that I had thought I paid for. The attendant – evidently guilty about enforcing the rules which must catch plenty of people out – actually admitted to me to my face that: “Well they are a low-cost airline and will do what they can do get money out of people.

I would like this money this money compensated back to me as I feel that the web site is misleading and poorly designed – in a way that could be construed to try and extort money from unsuspecting customers – and will be exploring as much in frequent blog postings, news articles and features on the poor customer service at Wizz Air.

I was happy to pay extra for the bags but feel I have been unjustly penalised thanks to the poor design and wording of the site.

This problem was bad enough – but on my outward trip to Luton from Budapest W6 209 on 27 November – the flight was delayed by over two hours because your airline thought it was easier to deliver a part to Venice by diverting our flight to London and inconveniencing everyone on board – than send it by another route.

The flight was due to take off at 17.45 and but did not actually take off till nearly 18.30. The detour to Venice then meant us waiting on the ground for another 45 minutes before the part could be dropped off – before we finally took off again for London. We arrived in London at 21.40 – over 2 hours late.

Despite inconveniencing passengers for your own ends – we were told by the cabin crew that they could not compensate us in any way at all – not even a drink or sandwich was offered – despite the fact that we had been inconvenienced to save your airline time and money rather than as part of any kind of safety emergency or technical problem with our plane.

In short – my whole experience of your airline has been terrible and as someone who regularly meets with senior business executives in the UK and Hungary I will be only too happy to spread the message to everyone I meet during the busy Christmas period ahead.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Donoghue

One Reply to “Wizz Air: Bad Site Design Or Purposefully Misleading?”

  1. Reply from Wizz Air – which is at least a start…

    Dear Mr. Donoghue,

    We are very sorry for the caused inconveniences. If you go through the reservation process again, you will probably notice that there are 2 fields to fill about the registered baggage. The first one is for the number of check-in baggage pieces you will use, and the second one is for the excess baggage you will use. Please note, that in several places(including our General Conditions of Carriage) in our website it is stated that:

    14.1.1 We will charge a handling fee for each piece of Checked Baggage. The amount of such fee is available on our Website or from our Call Centre. Should the total weight of all Checked Baggage exceed 15 kilograms in aggregate per Passenger, excess baggage charge will be payable by the Passenger, the amount of which is available on our Website and from our Call Centre. Excess baggage charge shall be paid at the airport upon check-in.

    What we can see in you reservation, is that you obviously paid for 2 pieces of baggage and thought that you have the right to carry 30 kilograms of checked-in baggage with you. Clearly, the airport agent confused you by telling you didn’t pay for any kilograms of baggage, for which we are very sorry. We sincerely hope that this matter is clear now. That is why we strongly advice all our passengers to read our General Conditions of Carriage(or at least our travel conditions) before going to the check-in.

    As for the inconveniences, caused to you by the delay of our flight, we will gladly compensate you for any meal you had on or off board(connected to the flight) as a small token of our apology. However, we will need scanned copies of the receipts for those meals.

    Best regards,

    Yoan Ivanov

    Wizz Air Customer Relations

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