Our reader Hani Ghantus from Israel is encouraging you to think twice before flying with the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air. “Flying with Wizzair? Think twice as you can easily get duped,” he writes in his letter. Find his words below.
Hereby, I will reveal why I think Wizz Air is operating unethically and suspiciously which requires an immediate investigations by regulators to protect customer’s rights.
After reading so many incidents and personal experiences on the internet, I started to believe that Wizz Air is using the technique of “attrition” whereby passengers will give up eventually their repeated attempts to acquire their obvious rights. Wizz Air is allegedly counting on people with no legal backgrounds and all for one clear purpose, trying to evade their legal liabilities as much as possible by paying as little as possible in exchange of taking away people’s legitimate rights. Why do I think like this? if you bear with me till the end, after sharing my own story, I will expose and reveal shocking findings.
What I discovered, the UK authorities had discovered and raised high concerns over Wizz Air and used the words “Unacceptable behavior” to describe Wizz Air’s ways dealing with the customers complaints. You can check it yourself in the official UK civil aviation authority website HERE.
When planning a trip, we tend to search for the cheapest flights available without taking into considerations the potential consequences caused by choosing a specific airline over others and that was my case.
For the past few years, I’ve been flying with Wizz Air frequently, a couple of times there were some delays but nothing remarkable that would have made me want to avoid Wizz Air or question their business.
Last December, Wizz Air’s image changed drastically. It was our first serious flight disruption which led to shocking findings.
Me and my fiancée had a flight from Warsaw taking us to Brussels where we were supposed to spend a whole day discovering Brussels before heading to Amsterdam where we already had a hotel booked and fully charged.
Around 30 hours before the flight, we got an email from Wizz Air informing us that our flight was cancelled. We rushed to call their incompetent call center, we explained that we have a long Christmas trip planned long time ago which was fully paid, a few countries to discover, hotels and car rentals which also were paid.
We asked Wizz Air to give us any alternative solution to avoid losing the money and the planned vacation. The agent didn’t have much to say and somehow he decided to lie to us (we do have recording proving that) by informing us that the flight was not cancelled, he added that it was just an error in the system that we should ignore and ordinarily show up in the airport for check-in as planned.
Retrospectively, we found out that it was just an unexplainable and inhumane response. He just wanted to get rid of our problem by providing false info without caring about the potential damages that we could encounter. He didn’t even care that the flight was around 6 AM, we would wake up so early, show up in the airport to find out that the flight is cancelled. It would be very unpleasant to say the least.
After we hung up the phone, we felt he was not providing us with accurate informations so we found out later that he did lie to avoid the issue we were having. The flight was indeed cancelled and Wizz Air didn’t care to give us any alternative options to get to our destination on time. So, what we decided to do after searching the available options was to let go of the chance of exploring Brussels and rebooked a flight to Eindhoven instead so we could take a bus to Amsterdam later on, it was free of charge to rebook.
Even though we knew we would arrive around 6 hours later than the schedule arrival time, at least this decision will cost us minor losses such as 35 euros approximately of prepaid bus tickets that were supposed to take us from Brussels to Amsterdam in the evening, besides the change of plans and adding some additional money for transportations to get us to Amsterdam at night.
On the day of our new flight, we got another email informing us that the flight was delayed by 2 hours, later on, next to the boarding gate we were told that also this flight was cancelled. There was literally no solution offered and no one to talk with in the airport. Wizz Air call center could not provide any meaningful answer, they are not entitled to give an immediate help but to refer you to fill a form and wait few weeks for the answer, meanwhile you have to deal with your issue on your own. There were no Wizz Air flights to Eindhoven nor Brussels in the same day neither the next day and Wizzair doesn’t fly to Amsterdam anyway so we could not use any of Wizz Air’s flights.
We were left with no choice but to go to the website of Skyscanner and search for any alternative flight with a different airline to take us to the Netherlands as it was already getting late (after 2 pm). We already got charged for the hotel stay and the next flight from the Netherlands was 3 days from that day. So, we found 3 alternative flights which can take us to the Netherlands, we chose the cheapest available option which cost 275.8 USD per person (we were a couple as mentioned), we booked the cheapest flight available even though it was the latest flight out of the three options and the least convenient as we had long hours to waste in the airport. At the end, we arrived to the hotel in Amsterdam the next day (after midnight), arriving approximately 15 hours later than the original flight arrival time.
So after carefully reading our legal rights and understanding them clearly, we filed a claim using Wizz Air’s website to get back the money that we had to pay as a result of the cancellations. And here, the struggle started.
The process of the claim to get our additional expenses refunded was long, frustrating and even humiliating. Wizz Air is taking forever to answer the claims, you should expect long weeks to get answers from them. Wizz Air initially agreed to pay back our alternative flight expenses. However, after we sent them the bank details to proceed with the payment, they suddenly decided that instead of refunding 275 USD, they will refund only 150 euros with no explanation or justification to their decision even though all invoices were attached including credit card statement showing the exact transactions amounts.
Wizz Air did not ask us if we agree to the modified offer. However, when I got the email from them informing me that they changed their decision and would refund only 150 euros per person, I explicitly demanded not to proceed with the transaction. For me, it turned to a battle of principle rather than just a small amount of money. I stated clearly: I either get to vindicate all my rights or nothing. They sent part of the money at the end without my consent.
I’ve tried to explain so many times to Wizz Air why the full refunds are due. We behaved in good faith and did not try to exploit the situation by choosing the most convenient flight available even though it could have saved us so much time. Instead, we went with the cheapest option available. We were asking for reasonable amounts to refund as follows:
Around 21 USD food and drinks for 2 persons. We chose the cheapest restaurant available in the airport which is McDonalds, both of us got 1 normal meal and a bottle of water (the receipt was attached). We asked only for 1 meal refund while waiting in airport since morning till late evening, they agreed to refund this 21 USD.
An Uber ride was a cost of 37 euros for 2 persons, which is very reasonable as we arrived around 15 hours later and we tried to get to the hotel in the fastest possible way (yet we chose Uber over a normal taxi to get a cheaper price) as it was already so late and we were so exhausted thanks to the full waiting day in the airport. Worth mentioning, due to the cancellation, we endured a loss of 34 euros that were supposed to take us to our destination (the tickets were attached to the claim as well) so it’s very reasonable and fair. Wizz Air refused to pay this and regarding the flights cost, as mentioned, they agreed to refund partly.
What were we supposed to do while left with no choice or alternative solution? What can we do more but to choose the cheapest meal and flight possible that day? We lost a full day of vacation waiting slowly and heavily in the airport instead of enjoying the discovery of a new city.
Since then, Wizz Air is ignoring our emails by sending what seems to be an automatic templates providing nothing helpful or direct answers to explain to us on what basis they changed their decision of the refund, even though they can see in their system that I’m not a European citizen, they are referring me to open a claim in ODR which is serving only European Passports. Later on, I opened a dispute there using my fiancée’s European passport. Wizz Air, unsurprisingly, is not answering the dispute, they are waiting 30 days to pass so the claim will be closed automatically, they are literally referring you to no solution but depleting time and effort.
In another email, they referred me to Hungarian website (with no English option) which is serving Hungarian people and random link with a map on it of Hungarian cities to choose, what am I supposed to do with such useless links?
So our long fight with Wizz Air is no more about money especially after figuring out more shocking findings about Wizz Air avoiding their responsibilities and liabilities intentionally and blatantly. I read about these on the internet (there are some groups in social media sites like Facebook where people are sharing their experiences with Wizz Air), I joined one group when the group had around 15k members. It soared in 2 months to exceed 21k angry unpleased members who have had very disappointing stories with Wizz Air. We started to wonder: where are the European and Hungarian authorities to stop Wizz Air’s unacceptable behaviors?
I was met with many cases exactly like mine where people got reimbursed for only 150 euros and later on when they proceeded with legal action, Wizz Air was fully paying the expenses back. So, Wizz Air will not rush to refund you unless they see your real intention to sue them and proceed with lawsuit.
I saw the exact same responses from Wizz Air as they were sending to me, it’s just bunch of emails “sympathizing with you, apologizing and then evading their responsibilities” while in fact it’s just a template where they only change the name and nobody really reads your emails to investigate if you are truly and legally due for the refunds and compensations.
Wizzair is counting on lazy people, people with no legal background. Most of us will think twice before proceeding with legal actions as in Europe, for example, there are no accessible authorities to approach easily like in the UK. In the UK, for example, there are many authorities and bodies which protect customers’ rights and it is relatively easy to proceed with a claim.
Consequently, more and more people from the UK are familiar with these solutions and you can see in the different groups that most of the people who got refunded are UK citizens. You can read cases where Wizz Air denied a compensation, offered partial refunds and eventually paying back the full amounts, as the UK authorities started to understand that something fishy is going on with Wizz Air as the complaints soared radically. Thus, they raised a serious concerns over Wizz Air. The airline started to lose more money in the UK as they are obliged to pay passengers according to their rights, that probably explains why Wizz Air decided to shut down more routes from/to UK and to open in less regulated countries, in my analysis.
Wizz Air is literally trying to deplete passengers and drain their time and energy by long waiting times, sending useless templates that don’t provide answers hoping that you will get tired with time and give up eventually. In some cases as I read, Wizz Air was paying the passengers their money back after more than half a year. Only if you are consistent and able to survive in this long tiring fight, you will get your rights but after suffering and wasting so much time. That’s a very dirty strategy in my opinion that should be stopped promptly.
Wizz Air, in some cases, according to many passengers, is promising to send the refunds within 2 weeks, when in fact, they were doing it after months and only after following up constantly with them. Some people claimed they were denied a compensations under excuses of extraordinary circumstances while some others in the same exact flight got compensations. In some cases, Wizz Air is demanding an official power of attorney to proceed with payments. In other cases, they are fine with only handwritten ones (like my case). For some passengers, Wizz Air is deciding to refund the full expenses, others partly and some people are not even getting answers at all (people are documenting and sharing their experiences in many groups on social media with pictures proving their claims). The contrasts, discrepancies and random decisions are enormous and a thorough investigation should be applied.
No wonder Wizz Air was recently ranked as worst airline in Europe based on UK passengers reviews – you can read about it HERE.
In the end, it is very important to mention that I believe that Wizz Air is a significant player in the low-cost aviation industry as it provides competitive prices, diverse destinations and force other airlines to compete and reduce prices. However, they should function and strictly comply with regulations.
I don’t recommend you to travel or avoid travelling with Wizz Air as frankly speaking, I had very good and smooth experiences with them in the past. But I would think twice before bookig with them in peak times, winter and occasions which can potentially lead to flight disruptions which you would not want to experience with Wizz Air.
This is just my opinion and I’m not claiming that all what I read in the internet is necessarily accurate, I can confirm my own experience with relevant objective proofs supporting my claims and I’m not responsible for other claims as it should be investigated by the relevant authorities.
The writer of the letter: Hani Ghantus from Israel
Daily News Hungary contacted Wizz Air’s press department, but they declined to comment on the incident.
Source: Reader’s letter
It’s just regular Hungarian “service”. If you lived in Hungary you would have known that.
Well wizzair a hungarian mess wizzair uk, is now closed, due to them or should i say singular company done over so many uk residents when claiming through the courts but this part of wizzair had no offices in the uk and bailiffs couldn’t take any property from the said part of the buisness to repay customers who took them to court.
Yes in Hungary insurance is only for hungarians… sooo
Thieving nasty company.. and a typical hungarian culture..learn not so friendly… 🙄