Wizzing to Iceland
For a small island, there are a lot of airlines trying to take you to Iceland. Wizz have created a little niche, carrying Polish immigrants to and from Reykjavik. That’s similar to their niche at Luton, so it wasn’t a huge shock when Wizz threw their hat into the Luton-Keflavik fray.
Because I was facing a late finish in Reykjavik, I decided to get a hotel ahead of my 0650 departure time. That worked very well. So my trip started with some drinks with friends near the Thames, then a Thameslink train to Luton Airport Parkway. Luton has good rail connections, but the service starts too late and finished too early for many departures because of engineering regimes. That’s a huge flaw that Britain’s huge government run Network Rail doesn’t seem to care about. However the trains are new and have over 1,000 seats each.
The Ibis itself is basic, but the property is well maintained. W94497
It’s a five minute walk from the Ibis to Luton’s terminal. Unfortunately it was raining quite hard, but thankfully I had packed a hooded rain coat. I’m rarely that prepared! The security queues were horrific, so feeling lazy I bought Fast Track for £6. Only one payment machine was working, but I persevered and eventually got a magic ticket.
Using Fast Track it took about ten minutes to reach airside. Airside was extremely busy, but there were odd spare seats scattered around. I grabbed a coffee and headed for the gate, which opened as I was walking towards it.
One feature of Wizz I especially love is Priority Boarding. I don’t use it, but it makes boarding much easier for cheapskates like me. Here you can see that the non-priority queue was shorter and faster.
Wizz allocate seats, but don’t board by row. So people were queueing across the tarmac trying to board. That was not ideal for a dark and rainy morning. I decided to try the rear stairs which had a shorter queue. Thankfully this was a fast option and I was seated before long.
As I’ve noticed on every Wizz flight I’ve ever taken, crew announcements were not audible. That could be quite a problem in an emergency. Boarding was completed fairly swiftly, with only a handful of no shows aboard an otherwise full flight.
Happily one of those was supposed to be sat next to me. Wizz pack in 230 seats with an eye watering 28 inches of pitch. That is 2 inches less than Ryanair. Thankfully their seat design handles this lack of space well.
We took off into gloomy skies towards the West before turning north west. Despite the poor weather cruise was smooth.
Cabin lights were kept dimmed for around an hour, with the majority of passengers choosing to nap.
Wizz’s inflight magazine includes a menu and duty free. I don’t know if it is true, but I find the doll story quite cute. I also like that Wizz still offer some branded goods for AvGeeks and children.
The buy on board menu is quite limited, but quite good value.
I opted for a cheese roll, iced tea and a very United looking Stroopwaffle. The cabin crew were very friendly and took pride in their presentation.
Ironically as I ate my Stroopwaffle a Europe bound United 767-400 passed below us. Sadly I was too slow for a picture.
A duty free run and two bin trips came around the cabin shortly afterwards.
Eventually, the Icelandic coast appeared, including Mýrdalsjökull Glacier which you can see below.
Beautiful clear skies made for a scenic approach into Keflavik.
All was going well until 1,200 feet when all of a sudden, go around and back up to 3,500 feet.
The flight deck never gave a reason, but the turn and climb once we passed the threshold felt quite powerful. Powerful isn’t a word I normally associate with the A321.
Anyway we landed unremarkably and taxied to a remote gate. I was last on the bus and therefore was landside in less than five minutes.
A little side note….
As I’ve had to travel to Iceland semi regularly, after a while the list of things to try becomes a little short. However, I’ve always wanted to try Iceland’s fake McDonalds, or Metro as it’s called.
Iceland did have McDonalds, but supply chain issues made it economically unviable for the franchisee. So they decided to dump McDonalds and ‘recreate’ a new menu with more locally sourced produce. The new menu, well, is kind of familiar looking. This is definitely not a Big Mac Meal with fries.
The fries were pretty good. Burger, hmmmm….. it tastes less like a Big Mac than it looks.
If Ryanair is McDonalds, then Wizz would be Metro. There’s nothing bad about Wizz, but it feels like an imitation somehow. That being said, it was a reasonably efficient and reasonably cheap way to travel.