All passengers flying Wizz Air are still forced to queue for hours at understaffed check-in desks as the airline still hasn’t brought back the mobile boarding pass.
During the COVID pandemic, most airlines temporarily suspended the mobile boarding pass, forcing passengers to pick up a paper boarding pass at the check-in desks.
Similarly, options to print your own boarding pass at home were suspended as well.
Although a big inconvenience to passengers, the reasoning behind it was understandable.
After all, airlines were suddenly required to check a lot of extra documentation of each and every passenger such as PCR test results and vaccination certificates.
While previously airlines only had to check whether passengers had a valid passport or visa at the gate right before boarding, the new restrictions set by national governments proved to be too cumbersome to make a gate check realistically possible for COVID certification.
However, many airlines managed to adapt to the new reality.
For example, Air France came with its Ready to Fly service, allowing passengers to upload the required documentation before their flight.
Once the documents were verified, you could check-in online normally.
Many other airlines – including low-cost carriers such as Ryanair – came up with similar services in which passengers could upload the required documentation.
In Europe, the pandemic is nearing its end as most countries have scrapped all restrictions, treating COVID almost the same as any other endemic disease.
It’s therefore baffling that airlines like Wizz Air still pretend like the current situation is the same as one year ago at the height of the pandemic.
Wizz Air still hasn’t brought the mobile boarding pass back, which means that even if you don’t have checked luggage you are still forced to go to one of the check-in desks to get a paper boarding pass.
That’s indeed the message you get when you try to check-in online, something which you still must do if you don’t want to get slapped with an airport check-in fee!
However, instead of the airline giving you a mobile boarding pass upon completing the online check-in, you simply get a confirmation message which reads “not a valid boarding card” and the instructions to queue at the check-in desks to receive a proper boarding pass.
Wizz Air airport experience
In the case of Wizz Air, getting your boarding pass from one of the check-in desks has been an extremely arduous affair in recent months.
Especially when you depart from a Wizz Air hub (like Bucharest Otopeni Airport) during the morning rush hour the check-in experience is horrible.
It’s not uncommon for there only being four check-in desks open for eight departing Wizz Air flights, which obviously creates huge bottlenecks and waiting times of up to two to three hours or even longer.
Last year, my Wizz Air flight from Bucharest to Madrid was by far the worst flying experience I had in years.
It took three hours of queuing and waiting to receive my boarding pass and by the time I arrived at the gate, boarding was well underway.
If I would have arrived just two hours before my flight, I would certainly have missed it.
However, it was not the only bad Wizz Air experience recently.
When flying from Bologna to Bucharest, four Wizz Air departures were sent to the same check-in desks.
The queue for the two normal check-in desks was moving so slow that I bought Wizz Priority on the spot online to be able to use the faster moving priority check-in desk as I feared that I would otherwise miss my flight.
Wizz Air flight to Jordan
Last week, I took my first Wizz Air flight in 2022 – and the situation clearly hasn’t improved much.
Flying to Aqaba, Jordan, there were no PCR test or vaccination certification requirements whatsoever to be checked.
The only thing you need to show is a QR code which you need to create on the gateway2jordan portal, something which could have easily been checked upon boarding at the gate as well.
Instead, all passengers flying to Jordan had to queue with three of four other Wizz Air departures.
Although this time around the experience wasn’t as horrible as the late afternoon departures bank has less Wizz Air flights than early morning, it still wasn’t a pleasant experience.
Moreover, I couldn’t help but think how utterly unnecessary the entire process was.
I wouldn’t be surprised that by now, I’ve wasted a full day queuing at Wizz Air check-in desks in the last two years – time which I could have spent so much more productively.
When will the madness end?
It’s not known when Wizz Air will reintroduce the mobile boarding pass and revert back to the fast and easy check-in process from before the pandemic.
When I contacted Wizz Air, this was the message I received from the airline.
Needless to say, the line about “we comply with the requirements of the destination countries” doesn’t make sense as even when there are no requirements whatsoever you still can’t get a mobile boarding pass currently.
Hi There! As an airline company, we comply with the requirements of the destination countries. Unfortunately, we cannot share a specific time of easement of this process. We kindly ask for your understanding and cooperation. Thank you!
— Wizz Air (@wizzair) March 13, 2022
Although I always liked Wizz Air for their low fares and reliability and used the airline dozens of times over the last years, the Wizz Air check-in experience leaves a lot to be desired.
While other airlines have reintroduced mobile boarding passes and streamlined operations, checking in for your flight with Wizz Air can be a hellish experience.
Especially when departing from a Wizz Air hub this can mean that you are forced to queue up to three hours at their understaffed check-in desks, even if you don’t have any bags to check!
You are well advised to look up in advance if there are other Wizz Air flights departing around your own flight departure.
If there are numerous other Wizz Air flights departing within one hour before or after your own flight, you are probably in for a long wait at the airport and are well-advised to be there three hours before departure.
I personally don’t even bother anymore booking a Wizz Air flight if it departs during peak hours such as the morning departures bank from Bucharest when a dozen or so other Wizz Air flights depart from the airport.
I can’t help but think that this completely unnecessary and customer-unfriendly process is causing quite some reputational harm to Wizz Air.
It might even lead to passengers booking their future flights with other airlines where the airport and check-in experience is better – something which I certainly suspect business travellers to do.