Hello everyone and welcome to my third trip report. This time, I'll be covering my easter holiday trip to Croatia and Slovenia on BA and WizzAir. Enjoy!
Continuing with my theme of travelling as much as I can as a student, I decided to visit Croatia and Slovenia during my Easter holidays. The plan was simple. A couple of friends and I will fly into Zagreb and visit Croatia for a couple of days. We will take the bus to Ljubljana and return from there. For our flight back from Ljubljana, the choice was simple. There was only easyJet and WizzAir taking us to London, and because WizzAir was significantly cheaper and a brand new airline for me, I made up my mind easily. The outbound flight took a little searching. We compared both easyJet and BA, but eventually BA won me over though it was slightly more expensive. Plus, since it was an early morning flight, I was hoping for breakfast on board.
The day before departure, I checked in for both BA and Wizz. On the last time I flew BA, I realised that the front few rows were convertible Club Europe seats. Since it will be my second time of BA, I wanted to try it out and took seat 4A since it was empty. I also realised that Wizz offered priority boarding for 4 euros and decided to get that as well.
Got both my boarding passes printed!
It was 5.15am when my alarm went off. Still extremely sleepy, I rolled out of bed and dragged myself to change. Eventually, I stepped out into the cold (where IS spring?!) and made my way to Farringdon tube station. Everything was extremely quiet and peaceful until some young tourists on the tube platform made loud noises too loud for this early in the morning. Ignoring them, I retreated into my zombie-like mode characteristic of this time of the day and arrived at Paddington about 15 minutes later. There, I got onto the 6.25am Heathrow Express. Soon I was wizzing comfortably towards Heathrow.
At 6.40am, I reached Heathrow. The trains are on the dot when they mean 15 minutes from London to Heathrow. I proceed to Terminal 1 and visited the British Airways check in area at Zone B. Since I already have my boarding pass, I headed up to Costa Coffee to wait for the rest. This Costa probably has the most comfortable seats I've ever sat on! Has anyone else tried it?
Soon, everyone arrived and it was time to go through security. This looked deceivingly short from BA's entrance area at zone B, because once we went through boarding pass checks I ran into a massive queue. It was relatively fast moving though, and within 20 minutes, we were walking towards to gate.
Our plane was already at Gate 76 when we arrived. It was to be G-DBCE, and I noticed that it has the new livery painted. There seemed to be an earlier service from Zagreb, as I saw passengers disembarking.
The waiting area around Gate 76. I love how the windows try to mimic an airplane's window. Sadly, not very good for spotting. The only plane I could spot was a BA A321 next gate.
British Airways BA 0848
LHR - ZAG
Seat Number: 4A
Reg number G-DBCE
Departure: 8.40am (8.25am estimated)
Arrival: 11.53am (11.40am estimated)
Boarding was called at 8.16am (about 10 minutes late) for passengers on Club or priority. That passed quickly and soon it was time for us to board. Approximately 15 minutes after boarding was called, I was comfortably settled into my seat. Turned out that this BA flight was an ex-BMI and the seat configurations were not what I had expected. However, the seats were still extremely comfortable for a 2 hour hop.
Pushback occurred at 8.40am, about 15 minutes behind schedule. The Captain had previously apologise for this and attributed it to bad weather in Zagreb. I knew it was snowing there so I thought that was alright.
Along the way to our runway for the morning, I ran into a couple of lovely planes. Cathay, American and I think the Air Canada that took me to Vancouver just a year ago.
Twin Qantas Airbus 380s
My first glimpse of the new American livery in person!!
And some runway shots
Soon, it was our turn to line up on the runway. At 8.53am, we roared down and rotated into the gloomy London sky. After making a slight left turn, there was nothing much to see as everything was covered with clouds.
Take off video: HERE
Soon, we were above cloud cover and I was happy to see the sun. Great weather to wake up too.
By this time, I was getting a little hungry - I haven't had breakfast! So I was extremely happy to be greeted by the sight of two lovely BA stewardess who offered me breakfast. It wasn't much, but I was happy to have something to eat, and orange juice with tea just hits the spot every morning. I quite liked the croissant to be honest, despite my doubts when I saw the labeling.
There was no dividers between Club and Euro Traveller, a result of being an ex-BMI plane I assumed. Because I was one row behind, I could see much of the service being given to Club passengers. It included a hot towel, extra drink service and a hot breakfast.
There was really not much to see outside the window for the rest of the flight. Europe was completely covered with cloud cover. I sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the flight.
Around 10.20am, the captain came on and announced that we would be landing in about 20 to 25 minutes. He added that it was snowing quite heavily and that Zagreb will be a cold -3 degrees. Sigh, I had originally planned this trip to get out of the cold. Descent started immediately after the announcement. It was rather bumpy. Soon, I could see snow everywhere. We landed into a blanket of snow at 11.53am local time.
I asked if I could visit the flight deck before disembarkation and the FA said that was no problem. Because there was no air bridge but a bus that took us to the terminal, I didn't spend much time inside. Still, it was my first time in the cockpit of the Airbus 319.
Zagreb's airport was small but cosy. Almost everything (immigration, baggage claim and customs) were within 50 metres of one another. Here, you can see the queue at immigration, the baggage claim and the exit was right behind me.
After waiting for the rest, we headed for the exit. Welcome to Croatia!
Croatia and Slovenia
For anyone who hasn't been to Croatia and Slovenia, I would strongly recommend paying a vist. Both countries have beautiful natural scenery. I was blown away by the views at Plitvice National Park and Postojna Cave. Additionally, the nightlife and local beers were rather enjoyable. There was also a rich history in both countries, particularly in Zagreb and Ljubljana. Here are some pictures from my holiday.
Zagreb in snow
Plitvice Lakes National Park. The snow from the previous day made everything prettier.
Trakošćan Castle surrounded with snow and a frozen lake
On our last day in Zagreb, the sun finally came out and we saw the famous St Mark's Church
And we visited the Museum of Broken Relationships. Quite interesting.
Slovenia was mainly raining so we didn't take much photos but it was still extremely enjoyable. Here is a photo of one of the largest cave system in Europe.
Back to London
After a week, it was time to return to London. From Ljubljana, we hired a private taxi to take us to the airport. It cost 20 euros, so that was extremely cheap given that we had 4 to a cab. After 30 minutes, we arrived at Ljubljana airport. The airport was fairly small, with only a few check-in desk and a small section for security clearing. We had all check-in previously and printed our boarding passes. Hence, we quickly made our way through security.
Only four flights tonight.
Bag drops for our friends.
Going air side.
Inside, there were 13 gates. 1-8 required us to go upstairs and 9 to 13 was on the ground floor. Since we were all early for our flight, we sat down and had dinner.
At 7pm, boarding began for passengers with priority boarding. Other passengers took the cue for them to queue up and soon a long queue developed while the passengers with priority boarding proceeded. I had originally bought priority, but I stayed with my friends in the queue. It wasn't too bad though, the queue moved fairly quickly.
Once cleared, there was a bus waiting for us to take us to our plane. I noted that the priority passengers also boarded the same bus, so was there really a point in getting them? Turns out there is, as there was a small section cordoned for them that allowed them to board the plane earlier.
Finally, my first WizzAir came into view. It was still pouring quite heavily (since I entered Slovenia) and I could not get a good picture of the plane. But we were finally allowed to board the plane at 7.23pm.
WizzAir W6 2901
LJU - LTN
Seat Number: 17A
Reg number HA-LWK
Departure: 7.40pm (7.30pm scheduled)
Arrival: 8.35pm (8.45pm scheduled)
My first impressions were positive. It looked comfortable, not like ryanair's dreadful colours. The uniforms of the FAs were nice and professional looking. I chose seat 17A, and had an empty seat next to me. It's been a while since I had an empty seat next to me!
Rain still pouring non-stop
Seat pitch was tiny though, I could feel my legs hitting the front seat. But with an empty seat next to me, I wasn't complaining.
Some signs of wear and tear:
Goodies, and I didn't know WizzAir operated such an extensive network!
There was no pushback, because we were already on the tarmac. So the engines came to life at around 7.30pm. Approximately 10 minutes later, we sped down the runway and headed into the dark sky. It was a steep takeoff and I enjoyed every moment of it! It was rather bumpy too, we were taking off in heavy rain so I suspected some turbulence eventually.
20 minutes later, the lights came on to indicate that we were at cruising level. The FAs came on to announce the beverage and snacks service before making their rounds. I got myself a baguette and a cup of tea for 6 euros. A free Kit Kat came along with the purchase. Seeing that it was my first WizzAir flight, I decided to purchase a plane model for 10 euros to add to my collection.
The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. There was nothing to see outside (completely dark) and most of my friends fell asleep. I decided to relax and stare into the darkness, while enjoying the hum of the engines and just the feeling of flying again.
Descend into London started at around 9pm, and within 35 minutes, we were on the ground. After a quick taxi, we parked next to an easyJet plane and disembarked through the stairs and into the terminal. It was my first time in Luton! One more London airport off the list.
Our WizzAir flight
Everything done, I greeted goodbye to my friends and went back home.
My second BA flight was, again, smooth, comfortable and professional. Although I hear horror stories regarding BA, I think it is an excellent choice for European flights and may eventually win some of the market back from easyJet. This is especially true given that BA has recently introduced hand-luggage only tickets for as cheap as £39 one-way. I will definitely fly BA for short haul flights in the future.
WizzAir was better than I expected. Their service was friendly, and the cabin environment is nice. Although there are some signs of wear and tear, and the floors had some crumps, I enjoyed the flight back to London. However, I probably enjoyed it because I had plenty of space. The flight was barely half full. I suspect it might be a different story if it was full, given the tiny amount of leg room.
Overall, an excellent Easter trip that I absolutely enjoyed! Now it's back to studying, except for the first VS flight from London to Edinburgh tomorrow. Thank you for taking time to read my trip report. As always, I am open to your feedback and keen to listen to some comments!
Previous Trip Reports
A Short Weekend Trip: BA LGW-AMS (by captainsloo Feb 19 2013 in Trip Reports)
To Beautiful Vancouver: Air Canada (Y) LHR-YVR (by captainsloo Mar 26 2012 in Trip Reports)