Wizzair UK is a "puppet airline" subsidiary of Wizzair, the airline is effectively the same as its parent company with the aircraft of that airline being on the UK register with UK registrations and the dedicated crews are based at their UK bases (Luton, Gatwick, Doncaster & Cardiff). This was a response to the Brexit uncertainties in the mid-late 2010's which resulted in Ryanair and Wizzair setting up British spin-offs to allow them access to UK bases. UK based easyJet did a similar thing by setting up the Austrian based "easyJet Europe".
Lublin Airport opened in late 2012, making it one of the youngest airports in Europe, serving the 9th Largest city in Poland. It hasn't done so well with enticing or maintaining airline business. Ryanair & Wizzair both offer London services to Luton Airport throughout the week with the airlines splitting the destinations of Eindhoven, Oslo Sandefjord, Dublin and Gdansk. Whilst LOT Polish Airlines offers regular domestic runs to Warsaw and Gdansk. TUI Holidays has partnered with Enter Air to offer package holiday flights to Antayla.
Lufthansa & easyJet both operated services (Frankfurt & Milan) in the past but have left the airport. Wizzair and Ryanair have even found themselves cutting routes over the last decade; including Stockholm Skavsta, Liverpool, Tel Aviv and London Stansted.
I thought I'd share this flight experience to give a bit of insight into Lublin Airport, especially now in the post CV-19 travel industry. This also appears to be the first English report on the Airport.
It took me three years, but I made it back to London Luton Airport for a flight!
The airport has undergone a lot of construction over the last number of years as the Airport wanted to facilitate expansion, which has been hindered by the loss of Monarch Airlines and the pandemic. The airport is a huge base for both Wizzair and easyJet, with a strong presence from TUI Airways & Ryanair. European routes make up the bulk of Luton's airline traffic, but various business jets use the Airport as a London facility.
Me and my mate went to the Terminal from our Airport Hotel, which was a 15 minute walk under a bridge which makes the accessibility very convenient and also means you don't have to worry about the drop off charges.
We didn't have to check in bags, plus we had checked in online the previous day- so it was a straight run to security. Whilst a bit of a que was formed by the time we got there, it was quite smooth flowing. We must have cleared security in about 10-15 minutes, then the airside section awaited!
We opted to go grab a bite to eat, it was 05am and our flight was at 5:45am, so we decided to go to Burger King as it was near to us, didn't look busy and would likely be the cheapest option. I opted to enjoy a BK breakfast meal with an extra orange juice- which turned out to be a Capri-Sun… Much as I enjoy a Capri-Sun, its not exactly orange juice.
This is why I don't often eat in Airports, much better off with a Lounge or waiting for an in-flight feed.
In some ways, I think London Luton's Terminal airside is starting to take inspiration from the "crucible" at London Stansted. We got give our Gate for our flight- which was allocated to Gate 6 (Take note of this), so we had to head left towards what could be described as the original gate area for London Luton, as it look quite dated, and I think I have seen it on some of the older AIRLINE UK (1999-2006) series episodes from the early years.
A look into airside at London Luton Airport, what do you think of Luton in 2022 compare to 2000 or even 2010?
As you can see we went to Gate 6, which our flight began "Boarding". We went through, getting our boarding pass scanned as we as our passports checked off. We stood in the post scan area for about 10 minutes then got told by the two gate agents (much to their frustration, as the flight was already pushed back 15 minutes) to move gates. Somewhat unheard of- never had this personally in over 280 flights!
Our flight soon became a good 30 minutes delayed as we moved Gates and we had to wait for the flight crew to confirm their preparations for boarding, so I sat down and charged up my GoPro and phone for a quick top up before getting on the aircraft. It turned out we were to be given a bus ride to our plane, which was parked by some hangers, so my assumption on the earlier gate swap was due to the need for a bus, and Gate 6 might not have been suited for facilitating a bus.
My aircraft is in this photo- can you spot it?
Getting off the short bus journey across the apron to the Airbus A321-neo on the remote stand awaiting us, we were greeted by a white-pink-purple A321 wearing the British registration G-WUKP. The aircraft at the time of the flight was only a few months past its first birthday having been delivered to Wizzair UK on March 17th 2021. We had to board through the rear of the Airbus A321…
After boarding we made our way to our seats. I had chosen 24F, mainly because W9 asked for a fee of £17.99 to reserve a seat up the front of the aircraft by the engine, which I only paid roughly £5 on my last flight with them!
At the time of flying, UK-Poland flights don't require face masks as a mandatory requirement. A notable change from my previous Krakow flight in March 2022.
The aircraft had about 100 people on this flight. Which sounds like a nice healthy load until you realise that the Airbus A321-neo of the Wizzair fleet is designed to carry a maximum load of 239 pax! According to one of the crew we spoke to, the flight back to Luton was due to be a full load.
Wizzair's A320-neo/A321-neo fleet are fitted with the new blue/pink slimline seats.
We quickly boarded the now delayed flight, and as soon as possible- we started up and pushed back to get this flight done!
We left London Luton and the miserable cloudy rain behind, taking off about 45 minutes behind schedule, hopefully there wouldn't be too many impatient people waiting for us in Lublin!
The weather in the UK wasn't that good the morning we flew out!
About 20-30 minutes into our flight, once we had hit our cruising altitude, the crew commenced the buy on board service, I found a magazine with a menu on our flight, so I scanned it for something and opted for…..
A 10EUR meal deal which featured a mustard and pastrami sandwich with a cola & snickers. Pretty nice selection for a two hour flight!
A quick dash to the loo on this flight also allowed me an opportunity to grab a shot from the front of the cabin of the wing and engine from an unused row of seats.
The flight was quite smooth and uneventful. We quickly passed over Germany and found ourselves over Polish airspace, the flight began to close as the crew prepared for decent into Lublin.
During our decent there was a lot of countryside and fields to observe as we flew down. The airport must have been quite a distance from the main city as there was almost no sign of major infrastructure apart from a small residential suburb.
We arrived into Lublin Airport, as the only aircraft at the airport! We had to taxi to the end of the runway and make a huge "about turn" and then back track to the middle of the runway so we could turn off for the main terminal complex and stands.
We taxied in and from first impressions, it looked like we were due for a nice summer's day in Poland. However the was something me and my mate decided to ask about as this was a rather new type for us.
That's right- A flight deck visit!
We exited the plane and made our way over to the Terminal building to get through passport control. Funny enough entering the airport the EU passport lane was chock full of people, whilst only a few UK/non-EU citizens lined up behind the other lane! It would prove to be a quick and easy pass through to Poland- even if the passport guard was a bit of a miserable chap.
Getting into the public area, I opted to have a quick look around the Terminal of this small airport in the middle of Poland!
A small café and some shops are the main feature as well as a tourist information pop up shop for local information. The airport even has a disused train station. Because it still has a low number of airline traffic, the airport and Lublin city ceased the train service that was to offer better infrastructure. I do hope the airport can do its upmost to bring in new traffic over the coming years post pandemic, the airport offers a small range of destinations, mainly from Ryanair and Wizzair as well as two key domestic routes from LOT Polish Airlines.
Wizzair- Another decent flight from the airline which has firmly become the third leading force of Budget Airline travel in Europe! If you want to see more of Eastern Europe from the UK, this is one of the best airlines to look at.
Lublin Airport- A small but convenient airport for its local community. There may not be much to offer at this small airport, but I think it has potential to be a small Polish hub for the region, maybe its fortunes will turn eventually.