In this review, we will fly with low-cost airline Wizz Air from Podgorica to Memmingen on the Airbus A320-200.
To the airport
After an interesting day in Podgorica and a good night of sleep, I woke up relatively early in the morning for another day of flying. There is no public bus connection between downtown Podgorica in the airport, so I had to take a taxi which set me back just under 10 euro.
Podgorica Airport (IATA code TGD, after Podgorica’s former name of Titograd) is one of only two international airports in Montenegro, the other being Tivat Airport on the coast.
Both airports are of similar size and see comparable air traffic in passenger numbers, with Podgorica having pretty much year-round connections and Tivat seeing mostly seasonal charter flights.
As Podgorica Airport is rather small, it is best not to show up too early before your flight. Even though the check-in counters might be open a bit longer before, the security staff is rather strict of not letting anyone through unless your flight departure is less than two hours out.
At T-2 until departure, I was allowed to clear security and passport control and found myself airside at the airport. There isn’t much to do at Podgorica Airport, so I would really recommend not to arrive too early before your flight.
There is one small duty free shop and one café in the departures area. There is also a business lounge at Podgorica Airport (to which some lounge pass programmes give access to), although it didn’t look too appealing.
Online reviews describe it as a “walled box with a few seats inside” in which you are reportedly only given a free drink from the nearby café, so paying for access is unlikely to be worth it.
Instead, I just waited for departure at my departure gate doing some work on my laptop. Free WiFi is available, although power sockets (as well as seats!) are lacking in the small departures hall.
Time went by fast and before I knew it the gate agents announced that boarding would commence soon. Wizz Air has priority boarding as an add-on during the booking process, and it’s widely popular among passengers as it also allows you to bring a trolley bag on board.
Judging by the queue I would estimate that around 70 percent of all passengers had bought “priority boarding”. Sure, it isn’t really priority boarding anymore if two thirds of all passengers have it, but it is understandable from the luggage point of view.
You can for example take a trolley bag and a small rucksack of laptop bag on board this way, which would otherwise not be allowed. Sure, you can try to bring two (small) bags on board if you haven’t bought priority boarding, but most of the time Wizz Air gate agents are well-trained to pick out these travellers from the queue and make them pay for it by charging an inflated penalty to gate-check the second bag.
As I was travelling with a small rucksack only this entire trip, I didn’t bother adding priority boarding to my booking as I knew I could always easily fit my rucksack under the seat in front of me.
Podgorica Airport doesn’t have any jetbridges, so you either walk to your plane or take a bus if your aircraft is parked further down the apron. In my case, I could just walk to my Wizz Air plane as it was parked just a few feet away from the terminal.
Podgorica (TGD) to Memmingen (FMM) on Wizz Air
Flight W6 4903 – Airbus A320-200 – Economy class, seat 6A
Departure: 10.35am – Arrival: 12.25pm
Flight time: 1h50m – Distance: 587 miles
Costs: 10 EUR, plus 8.50 EUR for advance seat reservation
Wizz Air seat assignment
Having lived myself for many years in Central and Eastern Europe, I have flown Wizz Air many times before and started to really appreciate their operations.
It’s hands down my favourite low-cost airline as it combines the two aspects which I value most in a budget airline: a low ticket price and reliability.
This flight to Memmingen was no different as it was only 10 euro for a ticket. This low price is not uncommon as I think four of my last five Wizz Air flights were around the 10-15 euro limit. When it comes to reliability, I can’t even remember a single flight of the 57 I’ve taken with the airline to date which arrived more than ten minutes late, let alone having a flight cancelled!
Like any other low-cost airline, you have to pay for seat assignment with Wizz Air, with front row and exit row seats of course being the most expensive. For this flight, I paid 8.5 EUR for a window seat in row 6 (seats more to the middle of the plane are slightly cheaper).
If you do not want to pay for seat assignment, it is best to check in online as late as possible if you want to score the best possible seat. If you haven’t paid for a seat, you are selected a seat for free randomly, and the most undesirable seats as far away from the exits as possible are of course the one which they give away first.
On a full flight, it is not uncommon to be given the front row seats for free if they haven’t been bought in advance if you manage to check-in last.
Wizz Air Airbus A320 cabin and seat
Wizz Air operates a fleet which exists solely out of Airbus aircraft, namely the A320 and larger A321. The older A320s are the ones with the most comfortable seats which have a wee bit more space and are better padded, while the more modern A320s and all A321 have more cramped seats typical of low-cost airlines.
For a flight of under two hours, these seats are perfectly fine, although if you fly longer distances you might start to feel a bit uncomfortable in them!
Being 6’1 tall (1.85 metres) my knees just about reached the seat in front of me. If you are taller, you will probably be better off with an aisle seat if you want to stretch your legs and save your knees.
One thing to note on these planes is the extremely small tray table. Given that also your shoulder room is rather narrow, it will definitely not make for a suitable place to take out your laptop and do some work while in the air!
The plane load was relatively light this day as I don’t think that more than 70 percent of the seats were occupied. I was lucky enough to have empty seats next to me, allowing me to stretch out during the flight.
Even though I always prefer a window seat above an aisle seat (bar a few exceptions) I think it is even more important on flights to and from a country like Montenegro, as the mountainous scenery of this Balkan country is an almost full guarantee of some fantastic views from the window.
Although today was rather cloudy, there were still some great views upon departure of the surrounding mountains and Lake Shkoder.
There isn’t too much to tell about the actual flight itself. Like other low-cost airlines, Wizz Air has a buy-on-board menu. Prices are actually quite decent compared to many other airlines.
You can buy a baguette sandwich for 5 euro, a bottle (0.5L) of water for 2.50 EUR or a soft drink for 3 EUR. Only a beer (5 euro) or small bottle of wine (5.5 euro) are a bit more expensive.
I would however stay well clear from the coffee, as for the grand price of 3 euro all you get is a small bag of powdered coffee and a half-full cup of hot water.
On a general note, I find Wizz Air staff generally to be an agreeable, friendly bunch of people. They certainly seem less rushed and stressed compared to their colleagues of a certain Irish low-cost competitor.
On this flight, I just dozed off for a bit, only to wake up when we were flying over the Alps. Before I knew it, the fasten seatbelt sign went on again as we were ready to start our descent towards Memmingen Airport.
The weather in Bavaria was equally cloudy as in Montenegro on this March day, which meant the views over the Bavarian plateau were rather bleak.
We landed on time at Memmingen Airport, a former military airfield. If you look carefully out of the window you can still see the reinforced fighter jet shelters.
Fun fact: Wizz Air (and other low-cost airlines) bizarrely call Memmingen Airport “Munich West” despite the airport being located 70 miles (112 kilometres) away from the Bavarian capital.
Memmingen Airport felt even smaller (and older) than Podgorica Airport, although being one of the first off the plane did at least help beating the rest of the passengers to German immigration. Within minutes I found after disembarking I found myself in the arrivals hall, ready to explore as much of Bavaria as I could in only one-and-a-half day.
Flying Wizz Air is never really eventful – which is actually a good thing for a low-cost airline. Wizz Air brings you where you need to go safely, reliably and for a dirt cheap price, which is all what it is about in the low-cost airline world.
You should not expect any comfort on board, although for a flight of around two hours in length the seats are certainly bearable enough.
Service on this flight was friendly and efficient, which normally is the case on Wizz Air flights. Of course, being a low-cost airline Wizz Air will nickle-and-dime you for everything, including advance seat assignment, checked baggage and taking a trolley bag on board.
If you however play by the rules and book what you need in advance, the costs are certainly affordable. Even the buy-on-board menu has some decently priced snacks and drinks in it if you want to eat or drink something in the air.
It says quite something that I have flown nearly 60 times with Wizz Air to date, as the cheap prices, on-time record and reliability are strong selling points. Given that I only paid 10 euro for this flight, I’m not really in the position to complain really!
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘An Adriatic Adventure: Off-Season Travel to Dubrovnik, Montenegro and a Bit of Bavaria‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: MasterCard Business Lounge Bucharest Otopeni Airport
2. Review: Aegean Airlines Economy Class Bucharest to Athens (Airbus A320)
3. Review: Aegean Business Lounge Athens Airport Hall A (Non-Schengen)
4. Review: Olympic Air Economy Class Athens to Dubrovnik (Bombardier Dash 8-400)
5. Review: Apartments Festa, Old Town of Dubrovnik
6. A Dubrovnik Winter Trip: Off-Season Travel Away from the Tourist Crowds
7. Review: Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Kotor (Montenegro) by Bus
8. Review: Palazzo Drusko Deluxe Rooms, Kotor, Montenegro
9. Kotor, Montenegro: Old Town Charm in Europe’s Most Spectacular Scenery
10. Cetinje – The Old Royal Capital of Montenegro
11. Review: Ramada by Wyndham Podgorica, Montenegro
12. Podgorica: Is the Capital of Montenegro Worth a Visit?
13. Review: Wizz Air (Airbus A320) Podgorica to Memmingen (current chapter)
14. Memmingen: More Than Just a Low-Cost Airport Close to Munich
15. The Bavaria Ticket: Unlimited Train Travel Across the German State of Bayern
16. Review: Michel Hotel Landshut, Bavaria, Germany
17. Landshut: Bavaria Off The Beaten Track
18. Review: Air France/KLM Lounge Munich Airport
** rest of the chapters to follow soon **