WIZZAIR: You are the complete antithesis of a Brand 5.0.

The customer’s predicament: a young woman returning to Poland from Milan. To add context, she’s alone and in her fifth month of pregnancy. She needs to leave at 4 a.m. to make it to the airport by morning, with her flight scheduled just after nine. It’s Sunday evening when suddenly…

With a jolt of terror, she realizes she’s purchased the wrong luggage option. Twenty kilograms instead of the required thirty-two. A simple human error. The procedure seems straightforward – log into the booking site, change the luggage option, and pay the difference. But not with Wizzair. The system first asks if you’re not a bot, leaving you puzzled about how to proceed. Then, a notice about maintenance work pops up without any indication of when or for how long.

She accesses her booking, sees the option to change, goes through to payment, and then…

A message pops up stating the card is either incorrect or lacks funds. She calls her family for help. They encounter the same message. There’s no time for a bank transfer, even though, in theory, it should take only minutes. The family tries to pay for the luggage change using different cards through her account, only to be met with the same payment issue.

They search for Wizzair’s helpline, finding it’s past 9 PM on a Sunday, and the Polish helpline is closed. What’s the alternative? A costly helpline charging nearly 5 PLN per minute or contacting them via Facebook chat on the Wizzair profile. On the chat, she is suddenly…

Greeted by a chatbot asking for everything from her shoe size to her collar size, her booking, flight time, and even demanding confessions up to her fifth ancestors. The commands “live consultant” or “live agent” have no effect on it. Every so often, a message appears saying “all consultants are extremely busy and maybe in the future…”.

The young woman faces a major low-cost airline that has perfected its technological processes for typical, statistical situations that are easily resolved. Changing tickets, adding extras, lost luggage – these are relatively simple procedures that can be easily managed online. Moreover, customers prefer not to spend hours on hold for something that can be quickly resolved. Moving forward, technology leads to mundane tasks being handled by AI-supported chatbots. There’s just one problem…

Modern technologies can create an insurmountable wall, a barrier. Left helpless, the woman needs to add baggage but must be at the airport by morning. Two scenarios could unfold: she might have to deal with excess baggage if informed the flight is full, and Milan lacks parcel lockers for shipping items back to Poland. Alternatively, she could end up paying a premium, 10 EUR per kilogram of excess baggage, costing her 120 EUR instead of the 25 EUR listed on the website. The stress and anxiety of a pregnant woman returning home after meeting her husband cannot be quantified.

However, one can coolly assess the feelings towards the Wizzair brand. Unlike Southwest Airlines, beloved for its consumer empathy and how various failures don’t tarnish its reputation, known for friendly service and flexibility (no fees for changes or cancellations). Southwest Airlines is a legendary American brand. Who is liked in Europe? Certainly, Norwegian Air, Dutch Transavia, or Spanish Vueling demonstrate that it’s possible to offer economic prices and high-quality services.

Low-cost airlines are a business model born from the blue ocean strategy, creating a value canvas focused on reinventing customer service to differentiate from competitors and define a new market. Can a brand grow long-term through frustrated passengers? Yes, if it becomes an oligopoly or monopoly, hence the anticipation for active competition.

Wizzair, in its rush towards technology, forgot that it carries people, not just their wallets. Brands that focus solely on money, not their customers, will quickly succumb to competitors who prioritize the highest quality of service without necessarily increasing costs significantly. This is the essence of the Brand 5.0 humanism. Remembering people and consumer empathy.


A microeconomist looks through the company’s lens, while a market economist sees through the eyes of the customer. From the perspective of seeking company profit, the customer can be seen as either a goose to be plucked or a hen that lays golden eggs. It’s all about the business model.

In the early morning, the woman arrives at the Milan airport, sleep-deprived and filled with worry. What will she do with the 12 kilograms of excess baggage if she can’t make the payment?

It turns out she made no mistake. She had correctly purchased the 32 kg luggage option. The error lay with Wizzair’s reservation system, which displayed the 20 kg option. Hence, paraphrasing Mark Twain, let’s draw a veil of silence over the end of this scene.

#brand50 #marketing #marketology #marketeconomy #Wizzair

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