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Wizz Air is a European low-cost carrier based out of Budapest, Hungary with operations rapidly expanding across the region and even as far away as Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Founded in 2003, the airline has grown to become one of Europe’s leading low-cost carriers. With two-hour-long flights going for as little as $21 each way, how is the airline able to offer fares at such low cost? Let’s find out.
Wizz Air was founded in 2003 as a Hungarian low-cost carrier. Photo: Wizz Air
A ‘relentless focus on costs’
While the name and category of ‘low-cost carrier’ can be used to describe the cheap ticket prices, it is more about the low-cost of the airline’s operations. According one of Wizz Air’s recent earnings reports, it has a “relentless focus on costs”.
Here are some ways the airline keeps its operating costs low:
Wizz Air has one of the densest cabin configurations in the industry. Photo: Wizz Air
Economies of scale
Wizz Air, like other low-cost carriers, has a business model based on economies of scale. Rather than taking a large profit from each traveler, the airline takes a smaller profit while carrying more passengers. This is why you won’t find a premium cabin on any of Wizz Air’s planes.
In fact, the airline has one of the densest configurations on the market. Its Airbus A321s have 230 seats in a single class configuration. This is far more than British Airways’ A321 European configuration, which has 54 in business and 123 in economy. Of course, this comes at the cost of comfort to the passenger: Wizz’s seat pitch is a meager 28 inches while the standard for most airlines (even Ryanair) is 30 inches. On the flip-side, the airline can squeeze in a few additional rows of seats and sell more tickets.
Furthermore, the airline ensures its aircraft are flying as frequently as possible. This means tight turnaround times at airports, making the boarding and deplaning process as quick as possible. Part of this is achieved by boarding using both the front and rear doors of the aircraft via stairs.
Wizz Air loads its aircraft faster by using the front and rear doors of the aircraft. Photo: Pexels
An extremely basic ticket
The more relatable answer for those who travel on Wizz Air is the fact that the airline’s posted fares leave out a lot. While full-service airlines might have a complimentary snack and beverage service, this is absent from Wizz Air.
The passenger experience is basic in other ways as well. The initial airfare that you see doesn’t include checked baggage or even a ‘full size’ carry-on. Rather, for the basic fare, you are limited to what can fit under the seat in front of you.
Anything and everything else you may expect to be included in the flight experience is stripped and comes at extra cost. This includes things like seat selection and checking-in at the airport.
By doing these things, the airline can boost its ancillary revenue while you, the customer, only pay for what you need.
Wizz Air’s seat pitch is 2 inches less than what Ryanair’s 737s offer. Photo: markyharky via Flickr
As you can see, the reasons that Wizz Air’s tickets are so cheap are similar to many other budget carriers: They leave out the ‘extras’ and leave customers to pay additional fees for them. Like other budget carriers, Wizz Air also depends on a high volume of flights with a high-density configuration on board to pack as many passengers in as possible.
The notable difference seems to be that Wizz Air’s seat pitch is less than its European competitors Ryanair and easyJet.
Have you flown on Wizz Air before? Is it worth the price of the ticket? Let us know in the comments.
This article first appeared on simpleflying.com
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