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and a warm welcome to this brand new report of my return flight from Vienna to Warsaw Chopin with Wizz Air on their A321ceo. After spending 3 busy days in rainy (?) Vienna it was time to head back home, Poland. You can find the report of the WAW-VIE journey here (this flight was operated by an A321neo).
Before coming on to the flight report, I'd like to share with you a few shots from Vienna itself which is a really great city (not my favourite one in Europe though). Maybe the weather wasn't perfect but great companions always make up for that :)
The cloud are already there, but still not raining…
Albertina art gallery with some very good collection of modern art and impressionist art pieces. Definitely a must in Vienna.
Evening shot in the not very busy City Centre.
The Vienna's well-known palaces. Schoenbrunn and Belvedere. Both magnificent and worth spending some time at.
Cafe central where we looked for some warmth to escape from the wind and rain. Good coffee and cakes, though a bit pricy in my opinion.
Johann Strauss's monument in a city park which seemed very deserted (bad weather/coronavirus being the reason why?).
St. Stephen's cathedral. I absolutely love the wide-angle camera of iPhone 11Pro :)
Make sure you visit Julius Meinl am Graben delicatessen in the neighbourhood. They offer a range of products from around the world and look very nice inside.
Prater Park, where girls spent a very exciting and thrilling evening (I'm not a big fan of those thrilling attractions) but at least I served as a photographer ;)
Hundertwasserhaus which was the last attraction we visited.
Now, I'll move on to the flight report itself :) Our hotel, Best Wester Plus Wien Amedia (not the best one to be fair, but a good value for money) was located near Vienna Bio Center St. Marx railway station, from where we caught the train S7 to the airport. The ticket cost, again was 2.5 Euro per person (each way). The journey was really convenient, train was new, air condition was working fine, and it took us no more than 25 mins to get to the airport, no delay whatsoever.
The train itself is very new and modern. All people respected social distancing and wore masks/shields on board (as it was the case in the whole Vienna in general!).
From the train station, you need maybe 3 minutes to reach terminal 3, which is the only working terminal now at VIE.
From the arrivals level, we took really narrow escalator to reach the departure levels. Wizz Air check ins could be easily found following the signs.
Passing by Austrian business class check in, which has a definitely visible entrance (but could look better in my opinion - isn't the small patch of wallpaper a bit kitschy?).
Flight number: W61344
Route: Vienna Schwechat T3 - Warsaw Chopin
Flight date: 6th August 2020 (1410-1530, actual 1416-1507)
Scheduled flight time: 1:20 (actual 0:51)
Aircraft model: Airbus A321ceo (sharklets)
Aircraft registration: HA-LXJ
Seating configuration: Y230
Aircraft age (at the time of flight): 3.9 years
Seat number: 11E
Departure gate: F09 (jet bridge)
Arrival gate: bus gate/remote stand
We arrived at the airport quite late this time, only 1 hour before departure, but this proved to be more than plenty for our departure. To avoid problems with liquids during security check (ironically I did have a problem, see later ?), I asked at the Wizz check in counter if we can check in our hand luggage - we had bought Wizz Priority before. A very kind and helpful lady at the desk said she can do it without any problem! We were more than happy, needless to say.
A lot of Wizz Air check in counters were open this afternoon, so no queue there ?
A standard Wizz bag gauge at check in. But even though our bags were a little bit too heavy, the lovely check in agent didn't make problem from that.
By the way, Vienna Airport is not the cleanest… can you spot some rubbish on the floor next to the gauge?
Before we proceeded to security, I had to take a shot of this 767 from Austrian ❤️
At security, it was a little busy but we didn't wait more than 5 minutes, as lots of lanes were open. Girls proceeded to one lane whilst I came forward to a different one. In my backpack I had a pistachio cream (in a jar), which I forgot to transfer to the "checked in bag". But, to be fair, on the jar, the mass (in grams) was given and not the volume in MLs… Anyway, of course it raised an alarm on the X-ray screening and I was directed onto personal check. Fortunately, I had a really kind agent, who told me to be quite and she let me go :) Lucky me, because the pistachio cream is amazingly tasty. If you haven't tried it yet, it is a MUST.
Once we cleared security, we made our way through the duty free and the not very clean toilets to reach our gate F09 just in time for boarding.
The airside wasn't super busy but not totally empty either. Most of the planes departing at that time were W6 and FR (well, Ryanair, Lauda and Buzz), only a little bit of Austrian.
Boarding started around 30 mins ahead of the scheduled departure time and was done randomly with respect to the rows you're seated in (LOT now boards for example in small groups seating from the back to the front). However there were 2 queues - for passengers with and without priority boarding. Again, I forgot we had the priority and joined the normal queue ?. To be honest, the whole procedure was unusually well-organised, as for Wizz Air.
That's our A321 HA-LXJ, next to a Pegasus A320neo. Dash 8 Q400 from Austrian in the background.
Boarding was done via jet bridge, which was very convenient. I could also see (some) people tried to keep the social distance while boarding, but not all of them…
I like how the initial part of the jet bridge has those huge & clean (!) windows that allow you to look around the apron. The later part of the air bridge doesn't however feature that :(
From those 4 airlines, whose tail fins you can see here, I only haven't tried Lauda. But it must be pretty similar to Ryanair, isn't it?
When we stepped on board the plane, everything went pretty similar as on our way TO Vienna. We were greeted by a purser and given a tiny disinfectant tissue. The crew was also giving out Poland's passenger locator forms but we had those already printed out (Wizz Air asked for that in a separate email). The forms were available both in Polish and in English which is great, as in March they only had them in 1 language.
My assigned seat was in row 30 but as we passed by the emergency row, I did the same thing as on the previous flight - asked the flight attendant if she needs someone to seat in emergency row, row 11 in this A321. She agreed that we can all (3 people) take the extra legroom seats, hooray!
Infinite legroom in 11E. There is a crew seat next to 11E, you can see the uniform jacket ;) The lady seating there was kind, although not talkative today. I tried to have a talk with her and asked her some questions but she only answered them briefly and nothing more.
After a short welcome speech by the cabin crew, and safety demo (everything was done in English & Polish - the quality of announcements in English were not good or bad, average I'd say but could still be understood by everyone, I believe), we were ready for takeoff which was from runway 34 (towards north) and at 14:16, pretty much on schedule. After 3 days of rain, a sunny weather waved us off at Vienna.
Starting pushback from our gate F09.
Taxiing to RWY34. The only real window you have in row 11 is this small round one. If you want to take some better pictures, you have to "steal" the view from passengers seating behind you…
… and that's what I did during takeoff.
Back in the air! We encountered a few bumps, both on takeoff and during landing. But the cruise was generally smooth.
The paid on board service started quite late after take off so I had quite a bit of time to fill in the locator form. Fortunately it gets easier and less confusing when you're doing it for the second time and I was also able to help my friends :)
Before the BoB service started, I also managed to take a few photos of the cabin, which I have to say was a pretty standard LCC A321 cabin with standard Wizz Air seats.
The emergency doors I was seated next to. They have information both in Hungarian and English on them.
The safety instruction card for this A321-200. It has a totally different design to this on A321neo (compare with my previous report).
The usual A320 family PSU. It is a huge convenience to have the personal air vents when it's obligatory to wear a face mask! By the way, the temperature in the airplane was kept cool but not too cold throughout the journey, just optimal.
The cabin was bright thanks to the colours used by Wizz Air and it was also clean and well-maintained. I didn't even spot too many wear and tear signs. It'd be however be an advantage to have some mood lights on the ceiling, as it is the case in Boeing Sky Interior (or even BA's older A320s).
The seats used in newer A320s from Wizz and all the A321s (NOT 321neos) aren't too comfortable, in my opinion. Actually, I don't like them. They are very hard (even harder than those new BA's Recaro slimline seats) and narrow, especially in the exit rows. Although as you can see 11E has one "normal" armrest which doesn't reduce the seat width. The tray tables are small as well, both in normal rows and in exit rows. Probably the only thing I like about those seats is the blue&pink colour scheme, nice for a low cost airline, I deem.
To sum up, if you read my report on Wizz Air's A321neo, the newer seats are a major upgrade!
The design of the back of seats in front of us, i.e. row 10.
As we reached our cruising altitude, the crew started paid on board service in those beautiful weather conditions :)
This time, we decided to go for some sweet unhealthy options. And we also all agreed that after we land in Warsaw, we'll go to McDonald's (there is one in the arrivals section at WAW) - we were really desperate to do that ?.
To spend some Euro coins we opted for a snack and those Caprice "sticks" from Greece turned out to be damn good! Again, as on the previous flight, the magazine with BoB offer was not available so you had to download one before the flight or simply ask the crew, who were eager to help. However, also again the selection was quite limited - they didn't have Stroopwafels, coke and San Pellegrino orange ?
Big plus, on the other hand, for the branded napkins which were absent on the previous flight ?
After the meal, and before we started the final approach, it was time to clean hands and try out the rear loo and compare its size to the one in A321neo.
To be fair, it is only a little bigger than the A321neo lavatory… but those few centimetres make a difference. The toilet was, however not too clean (seemed as if it hasn't been cleaned since morning).
On my way back to 11E, we were already descending into Warsaw and it is a really strange, yet nice feeling when you're walking through the aisle and the plane is decreasing altitude ??
As you can see, the flight was quite full, LF of about 85%, I'd say. The crew in the front is collecting the locator forms. You cannot leave the airplane if you haven't given those to the crew. I could see a few rebellious people who didn't want to fill out the forms but they finally gave up and did it just before landing…
Okay, seatbelt signs on as we start our final descent and approach into WAW.
As I already said, the final approach was a bit bumpy, although nothing scary. From my observations, summer landings into WAW, no matter how good the weather is, are always somewhat turbulent ?♂️. Hot air, I guess? Anyway, we landed (from the north) good 20 mins ahead of schedule, very good for such a short flight! Afterwards, a short taxi to our remote stand, northwest from the terminal and soon we could leave this A321 jet.
A photo of the front section as we disembark.
And obligatory fuselage shots as we leave the aircraft. One with normal lens, the second with the wide-angle one.
There were 3 busses prepared for our airplane which turned out to be enough and they weren't even too crowded :)
Wizz Air is supported by Welcome Airport Services (WAS) handling company here at Warsaw.
From the bus, I noticed a LOT's ERJ-190, reg. SP-LMB. I was flying with this particular one to London City LCY last June. This Thursday afternoon, it'll operate a rotation to Odessa.
After a 5 mins bus ride, we got off at the bottom floor of the terminal. From this Schengen entrance, it is a very short walk to the baggage reclaim hall. Soon after we reached our belt, the luggage started to appear on the carousel.
Schengen entrance for arrivals into Warsaw. Seems empty, as I was the first passenger to leave the bus :)
Social distancing stickers everywhere…
And a very interesting (funny) message from the airport. How do you settle ALL matters at the airport?!
Once we settled all matters (?), i.e. collected our bags, we politely left the baggage reclaim hall. And then, although a guard insisted that we leave the airport as well, we were a bit rebellious and went to the McDonald's in the arrival hall to have some chips and a burger, I promise I only do that from time to time!
Once we finished our elaborate lunch, it was time to say bye and each of us (Asia, Agata & me) left in a different direction. I arranged my dad to pick me up, but it is most convenient for him do that at the departures level. But because of COVID, you can't now simply go from arrivals to departures without leaving the airport. Instead, you need to exit the airport, use the outside stairs or lift to then reach the departures level. A bit of inconvenience here. Especially that there are only 2 lifts and you don't really want to walk up the stairs with a heavy suitcase (well, mine was light this time, actually).
The stairs to climb in order to reach the departures level…
…and the departures level. Not very busy this time, as you can make out.
I'll finish this report with a flight map, taken from Flightradar24. I'd like to thank Wizz Air for a very good afternoon flight, with nice (not extraordinary but nice) crew, clean and modern cabin of A321, good Buy on Board and on time arrival. I have to say, I start to take to Wizz Air after some cold experience with them in previous years :)
Thanks for reading!
All in all, a very pleasant flight with Wizz Air, my Hungarian friend. I start to like him more and more.
Cabin: Modern, fresh, clean and well-maintained, a bit "plain". But, the seat is uncomfortable (even on 1 hr flight) and the lavatory wasn't too clean.
Cabin crew: Nice and friendly, yet nothing special. The quality of announcements in English could be a bit better.
Entertainment: Pretty much "enjoy yourself" or "talk to your friends" or "look outside the window...if you have one" in times of COVID.
Buy on Board menu: Has some good options but unfortunately not everything from the magazine was, again, available. Prices are ok and a variety of payment forms are available, which is great.