Wizz Air vs Ryanair - Choosing the Best Low-Cost Airline
Europe is a golden spot for budget travelers, with many options to fly inexpensively, thanks to airlines like Ryanair and Wizz Air, offering remarkably low fares. However, when it comes to choosing between the two airlines, which one is the superior option? Let's delve into it and find out.
Ryanair is renowned for its exceptionally affordable ticket prices, with occasional flights even available for under €10. However, it's important to note that they apply pretty high fees for services like larger cabin bags, check-in luggage, preferred seat selection, priority boarding, and airport check-in, among other options. We’ll compare it too.
On the other hand, Wizz Air also offers competitively low ticket prices, although they generally tend to be slightly higher compared to Ryanair's fares. Like Ryanair, Wizz Air passengers are subject to additional charges for checked bags, larger cabin bags, seat selection, and priority boarding.
To sum up, Ryanair typically provides lower base ticket prices, but both airlines implement extra charges for luggage and various services.
Baggage Allowance & Pricing
Both airlines offer a complimentary cabin bag allowance, though Wizz Air allows a slightly larger bag compared to its competitor, still under 10kgs, and fitting below the seat in front. Beyond the free cabin bag, passengers are required to pay for additional baggage. Ryanair's charges for checked bags differ based on when they are booked. At the time of booking, a 10kg checked bag costs £/€12-25, which increases to £/€24-36 if purchased at the airport. For a 20kg bag, the booking price ranges from £/€18-50, whereas at the airport, it's £/€40-60. Each extra kg incurs a charge of £/€9-11. Ryanair also offers a 'Priority and two cabin bags' option for £/€8-30, allowing early boarding and a 10kg carry-on.
On the other hand, Wizz Air's bag prices fluctuate depending on the season to maximize revenue. Moreover, the cost varies significantly based on the route, with Wizz Air operating flights as far as Abu Dhabi. When booked online or before the flight, a 10kg checked bag ranges from €5-71, a 20kg bag costs €8-95, and a 32kg bag costs €14-120. However, at airports during the peak season, the minimum cost is €60 for a 20kg bag and €120 for a 32kg bag.
In conclusion, Ryanair generally appears to be the more budget-friendly option. However, if you have a substantial amount of baggage and opt for a single 32kg case, Wizz Air might turn out to be the more cost-effective choice.
Iberia Airlines is famous for having the most comfortable seats with the biggest legroom in the economy in Europe. On Ryanair's 737-800 aircraft, passengers can choose between two seat types: a 'premium' section and a regular economy section. The 'premium' seats boast a comfortable 32-34 inches of legroom, providing enough space for travelers. Meanwhile, the regular economy seats offer 30 inches of legroom, which is still reasonable but slightly more restricted. The flexibility to pay for an upgrade to enjoy additional legroom is a definite advantage. However, on the newer 737 MAX 8-200 aircraft, both sections offer a reduced 28 inches of pitch, aligning with the legroom standards of other low-cost airlines worldwide.
Conversely, Wizz Air solely provides one seat type in its economy class, featuring 28-30 inches of legroom and no recline. For those seeking more leg space, Wizz Air does offer the option to upgrade to an exit-row seat. The airline is currently redesigning its seats, with the new version offering less flexibility and being noticeably harder than the older model. Identifying the aircraft type is possible by observing the aircraft 'nose' color: purple indicates the older model, while white signifies the newer version.
Verdict: Ryanai offers a better seat with comfy legroom space.
The reputation of airlines and the experiences passengers have with their customer service significantly influence overall passenger satisfaction. I’ll be frank, seeing diligent & neat cabin crew members boost this satisfaction. Especially then I see the gorgeous pink shade… But nevertheless, I am not biased. So let’s get back to customer service.
Ryanair has historically faced criticism for its customer service, often receiving low rankings in various surveys. While the airline has made efforts to improve in recent years, some travelers still express dissatisfaction with delayed flights, extended hold times when contacting customer service, and certain questionable policies.
In comparison, Wizz Air tends to rank higher in terms of overall customer satisfaction and reputation compared to Ryanair. While they are not immune to negative feedback, with occasional reports of delays (the worst airlines based on Which? survey) and limited in-flight amenities, the general consensus is that Wizz Air provides better customer service.
Verdict: Considering the two airlines, Wizz Air holds a stronger reputation and appears to offer superior customer service compared to Ryanair. It's essential to acknowledge that both airlines have flaws in this aspect, but Wizz Air seems to excel in satisfying its customers more consistently than Ryanair. From my experience, Wizz Air cabin crew smiles a lot more and is more friendly than Ryanair's.
When it comes to their route networks, Ryanair clearly takes the lead, offering an impressive 1,800+ routes across more than 40 countries,mostly in Europe, the Mediterranean, and occasionally North Africa and the Middle East. On the other hand, Wizz Air operates over 700 routes, covering over 45 countries, with a primary focus on Central and Eastern Europe, but also serving destinations in Western Europe, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates.
If your travel plans involve exploring a wide range of destinations, especially in Western Europe, Ryanair's extensive route network would likely provide you with more choices and convenience. However, if you primarily intend to travel within Central and Eastern Europe, Wizz Air might be the better option as it specializes in this region.
Both airlines are focused on their respective narrowbody aircraft, with Ryanair primarily operating the Boeing 737 (excluding one subsidiary), and Wizz Air favoring the Airbus A320.
Ryanair's fleet comprises 514 aircraft scattered across Europe, consisting of 409 737-800s, 75 737 MAX 8-200s, 29 A320-200s (all operating under Lauda Europe), and one 737-700. On the other side, Wizz Air operates a fleet of 165 aircraft, which includes 65 A321neos, 53 A320-200s, 41 A321-200s, and six A320neos.
Ticket prices - Ryanair. While both companies suggest similar prices, Ryanair offers the best deals.
Seats - Ryanair. With bigger legroom and more comfortable seats, Ryanair takes the lead, especially for long-haul flights.
Baggage - Questionable. It depends on the amount of baggage and the distance of the route. Wizz Air might be the cheaper option if you have a lot of baggage or are flying a short distance, while Ryanair provides the most consistent prices.
Customer support - Wizz Air. Wizz Air tends to have better customer support compared to Ryanair.
Route Network - Tie: If your travel plans involve exploring a wide range of destinations, especially in Western Europe, Ryanair's extensive route network would likely provide you with more choices and convenience. However, if you primarily intend to travel within Central and Eastern Europe, Wizz Air might be the better option as it specializes in this region.
Aircraft - Tie. It's undeniable that the A320neos offer a more pleasant flying experience and outperform the older Boeing 737-800. However, with the prominence of the 737 MAX now, both carriers have newer and more efficient aircraft.
Check out our work on Europe's Low-Cost Airlines You Must Know if you want to travel cheap :)