I went on a 30-day trip in December 2022 and January 2023 to leave the Icelandic winter behind me for some time. The trip had four main parts: visiting Sudan and Kenya; visiting friends, colleagues and relatives in Hungary and the Czech Republic; a family holiday in Tenerife and a business trip to Senegal, The Gambia and Sierra Leone.
I had a total of 18 flights, booked mostly as one-ways and one double open-jaw. Here’s my final list of flights after many cancellations, changes of departure time and aircraft type:
Keflavík to Paris CDG, Icelandair, economy class, B757 (no flight report)
Paris to Istanbul, Turkish, business class, A321
Istanbul to Khartoum, Turkish, business class, B737
Khartoum to Addis, Ethiopian, economy class upgraded to business class, B737
Addis to Nairobi NBO, Ethiopian, economy class upgraded to business class, B777
Nairobi WIL to Mombasa to Lamu, Skyward Express, economy class, Q300
Lamu to Malindi to Nairobi WIL, Safarilink, economy class, Q200
Nairobi NBO to Istanbul, Turkish, business class, A330
Istanbul to Budapest, Turkish, business class, B737
Vienna to Tenerife South, Wizzair, economy class, A321
Tenerife North to Gran Canaria, Binter Canarias, economy class, ATR42
Grand Canaria to Dakar, Binter Canarias, economy class, E195
Dakar to Banjul, Air Sénégal, economy class, A320
Banjul to Freetown, Air Sénégal, economy class
Freetown to Banjul, Air Sénégal, economy class
Banjul to Casablanca, Royal Air Maroc, business class
Casablanca to Paris ORY, Royal Air Maroc, business class
Paris CDG to Keflavík, Play, economy class
Wizzair was founded in 2003 is now one of the biggest airlines in Europe: it flies to 192 airports, has a fleet of 178 planes and had 45 million passengers in 2022.
This was my 116th flight with Wizzair. The key to enjoying a Wizzair flight is to be aware of what exactly is included in the price (basically the flight and a small hand luggage) and to buy all extra services you need. Some of the options are Wizz Flex (you can cancel your booking and you get a refund on your Wizzair account but not in money), Wizz Priority (priority check-in, priority boarding and a large cabin bag), checked-in bag (10, 20, 26 or 32 kgs), regular or extra legroom seats, auto check-in, airport check-in and so on. I always buy Wizz Flex, Wizz Priority and an extra legroom seat.
The average one-way price for this route with Wizzair is only 55 € without the extras.
We stayed at the NH Hotel at Vienna Airport before the flight. It's a short walking distance from the terminals; the rooms are large, the bathrooms are large, the beds are good quality and both dinner and breakfast are very good at the hotel's restaurant.
We walked over to the terminal in a few minutes.
Self bag drop was available with zero waiting time. At the same time there was a long line at the regular check-in desks. Why? I guess that most passengers didn't know about this possibility, even though Wizzair had sent an email about it the day before departure.
Vienna Airport offers a good mix of business and leisure destinations.
I like this part of Terminal 1 at Vienna Airport. It’s quite different from most other airports.
The Flight Bar makes very good cappuccino.
A Malta-registered Lauda plane on the apron.
Pre-boarding was available first for Wizz Priority passengers but it was not a pleasant experience: we had to wait in the jetbridge for a long time.
Boarding was completed at 11.40. The flight was full. The plane was an A321neo, registration number HA-LVD, built in 2019. Wizzair is a single economy class airline; the A320s have 30 and the A321s 38 rows of seats in a 3+3 configuration.
An expected flight time of four hours and 55 minutes was announced for a block time of 5 hours and 25 minutes.
Push-back was at 11.50 for a scheduled departure time of 11.25. Take-off was at 12.00.
I had seat 18D. I always choose this extra legroom seat at the emergency exit row on the A321. Legroom is very good.
Let’s have a look at the onboard magazine.
József Váradi is the CEO. He used to be the CEO of Malév Hungarian Airlines.
There’s BoB (buy-on-board) which I prefer. You eat a lot if you're hungry and nothing if you're not; the food is almost always better quality than the typical "free" meal on short-haul flights in economy class within Europe (for which you pay anyway with your ticket even if you don't eat anything).
A flight that is full, has a long flight time and leaves at lunchtime - a perfect mix for slow service as almost everyone on board buys something. Service reached row 18, the last row to be served, one hour and 30 minutes after take-off. This was unusual; I usually get my meal 15 to 30 minutes after service starts.
I had a coke, a water, a noodle soup and some peanuts.
Wizzair has some of the most reliable service of all airlines in Europe - meaning that you almost always get the same level of service. You're unlikely to get outstanding or very bad service; it will almost always be efficient and professional.
My in-flight entertainment was this guidebook.
We landed at Tenerife South Airport at 15.57 and were at the gate at 16.02 for a scheduled arrival time of 15.50. Flight time was almost exactly five hours.
Arrival was not a good experience. The airport was overcrowded, waiting time for the luggage was long and there were about 150 people in the line for taxis.
Travelling for five hours on a low-cost airline is not the utmost dream of most travellers, especially on a plane with a 100% load. Yet this was an OK flight thanks to the pleasant departure airport experience and especially the extra legroom seat.