In this review, we will take a Wizz Air flight in economy class from Bucharest to Oslo Sandefjord Torp on the Airbus A321-200.
To commence my great winter adventure to Siberia and Azerbaijan, I first had to make my way to Norway as my amazing flight ticket deal happened to start from Stavanger Airport.
Salvation came with a 10 EUR ticket on Central and Eastern Europe’s favourite low-cost airline, Wizz Air. Yes, the airline is absolutely no-frills, but then again, it brings you to your destination for Ryanair-like prices.
Compared to Ryanair, Wizz Air has in my opinion a much better service, greater reliability and employees who actually seem to like working for the airline, which is not something that can be said about many employees working for O’Leary.
The schedule of the Wizz Air flight was great as well – it would get me into Norway early on Friday morning, leaving a full day of sightseeing in Oslo before the departure of my onward night train to Stavanger in the evening.
The 6.15am departure time was quite brutal and required me to take an Uber to the airport at 4am. Wizz Air had previously sent out a message warning all passengers to arrive three hours prior to the flight if checking baggage due to big queues at Bucharest’s Otopeni airport.
From my previous experiences at my home airport, the morning rush hour can indeed be sheer madness as four airlines (Wizz Air, TAROM, Ryanair and Blue Air) use Otopeni as a hub, while several other airlines such as KLM, Air France and Lufthansa have their aeroplanes parked overnight in Bucharest to allow an early morning departure to their hubs for connecting passengers.
While between 4am and 8am the crowds can be overwhelming as it has outgrown its original capacity and is in dire need of expansion, it is much more calm during later hours.
After queuing for some 25 minutes at the security check, I headed towards my favourite airport bar for a much-needed coffee. If departing from a select few airports (among which Bucharest) you can buy lounge access as an add-on when booking your Wizz Air ticket.
Given the dire state of the two Bucharest airport lounges and the paltry food and drinks options inside, I however don’t think this is great value as you are better of spending the money in one of the airport bars or restaurants.
Even though I paid only 10 EUR for the flight, I did decide to add priority boarding and seat reservation for 18.5 EUR extra. If you do not buy a seat in advance, Wizz Air will automatically assign you a seat at online check-in so that always poses the risk of getting the dreaded middle seat.
From my experience with Wizz Air (at least 10 flights a year with the airline) the risks are minimal when travelling as a single passenger as on 90 percent of all flights I got automatically assigned a window seat.
That said, with such an early departure I generally have little sleep. Even though in almost all cases I prefer a window seat above an aisle seat, it is even much more important when having an early morning flight as I can rest my head against the aircraft fuselage and try to sleep a bit more.
As I didn’t want to risk getting the middle seat, I just decided this time to pay for advance seat reservation for the assurance of a good seat.
Priority boarding and hand luggage
Priority boarding with Wizz Air was also a must-add for me. As most Wizz Air flights departing from Bucharest are boarded by bus it is not really about being one of the first on board.
It has much more to do with Wizz Air allowing you to bring a trolley and a small rucksack on board if you have bought priority boarding, while without this you are stuck to a small rucksack only as hand luggage allowance.
Bucharest Otopeni (OTP) to Oslo Sandefjord Torp (TRF) on Wizz Air
Flight W6 3215 – Airbus A321-200 – Economy class, seat 10F
Departure: 6.15am – Arrival: 8.35am
Flight time: 3h20m – Distance: 1,210 miles
Wizz Air seating
Even though Wizz Air’s A320 aeroplanes (which compromised the bulk of the Wizz fleet) are fairly comfortable for low-cost airline standards, I absolutely detest Wizzair’s Airbus A321 which would operate this flight.
There is much less leg room, the padding of the seats is rock-hard and the fact that a few dozen more passengers are scrammed onto the plane makes boarding and arrival a pain in the ass. It makes quite a difference if there are just 160 passengers out of an A320 queuing up for passport control on arrival or 230 passengers out of an A321.
Unfortunately, for budget airlines the hard rule is often that how newer the plane is, the more uncomfortable and cramped the seats are. Although to be fair, that also counts for economy class with legacy carriers such as Lufthansa and is not something unique to low-cost airlines.
Even though we started boarding well on time, the entire process was super slow once on board of the aeroplane. As always when travelling on a low-cost airline, there is a curious mix of passengers.
There were Norwegian and Romanian businessmen, Romanian migrants going to Norway to work as well as tourists heading in both directions.
This flight seemed to have a lot of unseasoned travellers as well who clearly had no idea where to find their seats and where to put their luggage.
One large family in particular seemed to carry their entire household as hand luggage and it took forever until all bags were stored somewhere in the plane.
In the end the doors of the plane were only closed some 20 minutes after our scheduled departure time as we slowly started to roll to our assigned runway.
Despite the slight delay during boarding and taxiing to the runway, the captain announced we would probably make up the delay once in the air. Take-off was smooth and surprisingly enough, I could not manage to fall asleep at all once we reached cruising altitude. This was perhaps a good thing as the views from the window were breathtaking.
Trust me on this, the picture below do not do the sunrise justice at all as the dirty and scratched window made for some horrible pictures. It was in my opinion one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen in a plane and a good reminder why I always prefer a window seat.
Arrival at Oslo Torp
The rest of the flight passed by relatively fast. I did not order anything from the buy-on-board drinks and snacks service and just tried to close my eyes, even managing to doze off a few times for ten or so minutes each time.
Before I knew it we started our descent into Oslo Sandefjord Torp Airport. The pilots indeed managed to undo the delay we accumulated during boarding and announced an arrival at 8.09am local time, a good 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. There were some great views of snowy Norway on arrival.
Although it is called “Oslo” Torp airport, the airport is located a good 68 miles (110 kilometres) away from Oslo’s city centre. It is actually much closer to the city of Sandefjord and therefore better known as Oslo Sandefjord Torp Airport.
Except for the odd KLM flight to Amsterdam, the airport is used primarily by low-cost carriers such as Wideroe, Norwegian, Ryanair and Wizz Air.
Deplaning was done by stairs and as the airplane was parked in front of the terminal building we could just walk towards the building instead of having to wait for a bus. As I arrived from Bucharest, I had to clear passport control on arrival at Torp. Luckily there were no queues at all.
The entire airport arrival experience was great. Oslo Sandefjord Torp seemed to be a genuinely nice little airport, with friendly airport employees and border guards. It just seemed like a proper little airport in tip-top shape and not the typical shed-like structures which some secondary low-cost airports unfortunately are.
Despite the distance, the airport is well-connected by public transport. I opted to take the train into Oslo, which I will cover in the next chapter.
Those needing to go to Oslo can choose between the bus or the train – which are both priced at 25 EUR (yes, Norway is expensive). Both options allow you to pre-book tickets online, although you can as well buy them at the airport or on the day itself from the respective websites. Prices are slightly cheaper if you book in advance.
Naturally, I opted for the train as I generally detest travel by bus and love rail travel.
The railway station is a short walk away from the terminal building, although there is a free shuttle bus as well which leaves the airport ten minutes or so before the departure of each train.
Make sure you have bought your ticket before at the airport (or online through the Norwegian Railways website or app) as there are no options to buy it at the actual station itself as it is not much more than an empty platform without any facilities.
Train to Oslo
The train ride into Oslo was comfortable. I always like the first moments after arrival, especially if the landscapes are so different than those you left behind, which definitely was the case with the snowy Norwegian forests and hills.
Even though the trains are not very large, they have sufficient seating, dedicated places inside the train to stow away baggage and even a coffee machine and snack machine.
The train pulled into Oslo’s central station (abbreviated as Oslo S on online route planners) on the dot at 10.21am. After a short walk through the modern station hall and a small adjacent shopping centre I finally set foot in Oslo, stepping onto the main station square ready to explore the city’s sights.
Wizz Air is one of the better low-cost airlines you can fly in Europe. As long as you take the basic low-cost rules into account, meaning that you have to pay for anything extra besides the basic ticket and a small rucksack as hand luggage, you will most likely have a pleasant journey.
I always found Wizz Air employees to be exemplary and the airline perfectly reliable.
Just take care where you fly to as some of Europe’s low-cost airports can actually be located quite a distance out of the city. Even though that is certainly the case of such as ‘Oslo’ Sandefjord Torp Airport, the airport itself is actually well-connected by public transport and not a too bad of an option if you need to fly to the Norwegian capital.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘Siberian Shuffle – A Crazy Winter Trip Around Eurasia‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: Wizz Air (Airbus A321) Bucharest to Oslo Sandefjord Torp (current chapter)
2. A Day in the Norwegian Capital of Oslo
3. Review: Norwegian Railways Night Train Oslo-Stavanger in a Private Sleeper
4. Review: Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Stavanger
5. Stavanger – A Great Norwegian City Trip Surprise
6. Review: North Sea Lounge Stavanger Airport
7. Review: KLM Cityhopper Business Class Stavanger to Amsterdam (Embraer RJ-175)
8. Guide to the Carnival Celebrations in the Netherlands
9. Review: KLM Crown Lounge (Schengen) Amsterdam Airport
10. Review: Air France Business Class Amsterdam to Paris (Airbus A319)
11. Review: ‘Salon Paris’ Business Class Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2C
12. Review: Aeroflot Business Class Paris to Moscow (Airbus A320)
13. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Lounge Moscow Sheremetyevo
14. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Moscow to Irkutsk (Boeing 737-800)
15. Review: Matreshka Hotel, Irkutsk
16. Irkutsk Trip Report: Exploring the ‘Paris of Siberia’ in Winter
17. Review: Mayak Hotel, Listvyanka (Lake Baikal)
18. A Winter Trip to the Frozen Wonderland of Lake Baikal
19. Review: Ibis Irkutsk Center Hotel, Irkutsk
20. Review: Domestic Business Class Lounge Irkutsk Airport
21. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Irkutsk to Moscow (Boeing 737-800)
22. Review: Pushkin Hotel, Moscow
23. A 24 Hour Stopover in the Russian Capital of Moscow
24. Review: ‘Moscow’ and ‘Jazz’ Business Lounges Moscow Sheremetyevo Terminal D
25. Review: Aeroflot Business Class Moscow to Paris (Airbus A320)
26. Review: TAROM Business Class Paris to Bucharest (Airbus A318)
27. Review: TAROM Business Lounge Bucharest Otopeni Airport
28. Review: Air France Business Class Bucharest to Paris (Airbus A320)
29. A Short Overnight Stopover in Paris
30. Review: Sheltair Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2D
31. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class Paris to Baku (Airbus A320)
32. Review: Old City Hotel and Apartments, Baku, Azerbaijan
33. Destination Baku: An Intriguing Mix Between Old and New
34. Guide: Train Travel in Azerbaijan
35. Sheki: Azerbaijan’s Most Lovely Town and Springboard to the Caucasus
36. Must Be the Ganja! A Visit to the City of Ganja in Azerbaijan
37. Review: Shah Palace Hotel, Baku, Azerbaijan
38. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Lounge Baku Airport
39. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class Baku to Paris (Airbus A320)
40. Review: Air France Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2F
41. Review: KLM Business Class Paris to Amsterdam (Boeing 737)
42. Review: KLM Business Class Amsterdam to Bergen (Boeing 737)
43. Blissful Bergen – Is It Really Norway’s Most Beautiful City?
44. Review: Bergen to Oslo on a Norwegian Intercity Train (Bergensbanen Railway)
45. The Flamsbana Railway – From the Myrdal Mountains to the Fjord at Flam
46. Review: SAS Economy Class Oslo to Brussels (Boeing 737-600)
47. Review: Diamond Lounge Brussels Airport Pier B Non-Schengen
48. Review: TAROM Economy Class Brussels to Bucharest (Boeing 737-800)