Wizz Air Shames Business Class Passengers In New Ad

Filed Under: Videos

Wizz Air is quite literally shaming business class passengers in a new ad… interesting.

Airline Executives Address Climate Change

Airline industry executives are realizing they have to address climate change. Some are doing so in a level-headed way, like KLM encouraging people to take trains for shorter trips.

Then you also have some airline executives who are going about it in rather self-serving ways. There’s no better example than comparing the comments of Lufthansa’s CEO and Wizz Air’s CEO:

  • Lufthansa’s CEO has said that airlines selling very cheap flights are “ecologically irresponsible,” as they’re essentially creating a lot of extra demand for air travel, and putting more planes in the sky; rather conveniently, one of the biggest threats to Lufthansa’s business is these ultra low cost carriers
  • Wizz Air’s CEO has said that he thinks business class should be banned, because the carbon footprint is so much higher in business class, and he argues that Wizz Air has the lowest carbon footprint of any airline in Europe

I figured the Wizz Air CEO’s comments were just a one-off, but now the airline has even created a 60+ second ad about the concept.

Wizz Air Attacks Business Class

Wizz Air has today uploaded a video to Twitter, tagging British Airways, Lufthansa, and Austrian, and saying “we need to talk.”

Here’s the ad, if you want to watch it:

This is a really bold ad, for better or worse. They’re calling out business class passengers on a completely different level.

The ad starts by addressing business class passengers and legacy airlines. They say “we think you’re doing great… harm to our planet.” They then point out that Wizz Air likes flying too, and that Wizz Air considers themselves to be part of the sharing economy.

I’m not sure I totally get their comparison — they compare business class passengers to those who get in their big car all by themselves and are surprised by traffic, while they claim that Wizz Air passengers “only pack what’s necessary.”

They then go on to say that Wizz Air passengers use their money to get as much as experience as they can, while “you” spend it on business class, flying heavy, asking if all those empty seats are worth the damage they cause?

They close out the video by saying “the age of old school travel is over, just like business class.”

What do you make of Wizz Air’s new ad?

  1. It is marketing — and stupid marketing. Do people think flooding the skies with dense 737s and a320s at $1 fares is going to be better than keeping air travel a luxury?

    If you want carbon emissions to be lowered, tax the hell out of air travel.

    This is like shaming people for being able to afford eating carbon-intensive beef instead of eating chicken.

  2. As you already have written before Lucky, I think it is highly hypocritical of Wizzair.

    I’m the first to admit that I’m a sort of anti-Greta if I can call it like that, but if we are talking ‘climate emergency’ and then go on to blame flying, then one must also address the role of low-cost carriers. I have absolutely no problem with LCCs and do actually quite like Wizzair as an airline, but playing the devil’s advocate and going full-on Greta one can easily conclude that LCCs cause harm to our planet by creating supply where there isn’t any real demand. I only have to look at my own flight patterns for this. For next month I booked a nice winter escape to Eilat, Israel. Why? It’s not that I really need to go there. It was more that I couldn’t resist it a few days of warm weather and sunshine when I saw a 20 USD return ticket on Wizz. Without that flight, I would just have stayed home. In the end a Lufthansa flight on an A320 has the same emissions as a Wizzair A320 no matter their configuration… (perhaps a Wizzair flight even more given they are carrying more passengers in a denser configuration and thus needs uses fuel).

  3. Why have they decided to become woke about airline travel all of a sudden. Of all the things to bitch about. Baby Brent in the Whitehouse is harming the planet more than all the first/business/economy passengers combined.

  4. Commercial aviation has done more to reduce its fuel consumption (and carbon footprint by extension) than any other form of transportation. Period. Full stop. End of story. The climate activists need to focus their energy on the automobile industry.

  5. I’m pretty pro-Greta (I’m not a boomer, so I get to deal with their mess after they kick the bucket), but this is a pretty daft ad.

    Shaming the passengers is cheaper, but arguably less effective than investing in research for viable alternative aircraft fuels…

  6. I firmly believe that climate change is the biggest existential threat to the world faces today. However flying a few less planes every year is not going to do anything meaningful. This is a publicity stunt plain and simple.

    Climate Change is a problem that has to be addressed in a world wide manner, using it to pimp your airline belittles the problem and allows the deniers more fodder to muddy water.

  7. Musings on Carbon Footprint (in other words, Wizz, I call BS).

    The “sharing economy” puts people in cars and takes them out of public transport, which has a much lower carbon footprint. Uber? Lyft?

    Cheap airfares put more people in more airplanes flying more miles. Wizz?

    Wizz pretends they’re fighting the climate fight, but actually they’re fighting over class. This is a classic “Eat The Unconscionable Rich” pitch. This is a clever ad, targeting the people who’ll believe it, namely the people who can’t figure out how to get comfortable travel, so they shop by fare alone and resent people like us, sitting (lying down) up front. they know we don’t “deserve” it and they’re right. But we learned the scam and they didn’t and oh well, sigh, them’s the breaks.

    If you want to dramatically reduce pollution from airplanes, make flying really expensive again. If you want to declare it principled and label it, call it “carbon tax”. Then poor people won’t fly and the carbon footprint of aviation will diminish. All approaches to reduce carbon from aviation will reduce the flying of poor and middle class leisure fliers more than it’ll reduce travel by wealthy and business travellers. Unless they just ration flight miles per person per year, or make people apply to a Carbon Footprint Tribunal to get an airline ticket.

    I’ve never paid money for a Business or First Class ticket, yet I always fly in the front, using points. The seat I occupy is what the industry calls “distressed inventory”: a seat the airline believes they’d fail to sell for money. The plane would take off anyway, but instead of an empty seat in the luxe cabin, it’s got me in it. What’s the carbon footprint of a stowaway?

    Simple people, desperate for simple answers, will buy any snake oil. But if you oversimplify the Truth by stripping it of its true nuance and complexity, it’s not the truth anymore, it’s a slogan/soundbite.

    Climate Change is real. Greta is right. The answer is NOT to make more airplanes and cram people in tighter and sell tickets cheaper, so more can fly more often. My conscience is not entirely clear (my trips aren’t “necessary”) but for now, nevertheless, I’ll struggle with my conscience while I choke back the (sutainable) caviar, fold my seat flat and enjoy being addressed politely by name.

  8. Wizz are shooting themselves in the foot here. The ever increasing availability of tickets costing next to nothing is supposed to be helpful to the climate how exactly?

  9. Aren’t airlines just 2% of man made CO2? They are getting 90% of the attention… I’m 100% for being carbon neutral but maybe we should target all actions that can make a difference?

  10. Is this approach really going to sell tickets on their crappy airline? In a few years they will be gone.

  11. Wizzair is right! The age of EuroStyle Business Class with just a free middle-seat but the same low seat-pitch as Economy is over…

    … now it’s time to get the private G6 out of the hangar and fly alone without the plebs behind.

  12. This ad is not designed for those on this board… it’s meant for millennials who are objecting to air travel with the message to them that “It’s OK to fly on Wizz because we are not wasting space on our planes for elitist rich white men who are happily destroying your planet.”

  13. The carbon footprint in flying business/first is higher than flying 28 inch seat pitch economy. That’s a fact that the ad calls out and should call out. Flying first/business, especially long haul has a high footprint. Wizz democratizes travel with their low prices. At least the carbon is being spent on travel and experiences instead of consumption and buying of useless crap.

  14. @Ryan LOL
    If you take a look at who is flying WizzAir, it is 75% low-skilled-low-wage migrant workers from Eastern Europe who are going to Western Europe for work. These journeys would be completely unnecessary if the puppet masters would not exploit the Baizuo European people to the last penny.

    These flights are definitely not for aspirational cultural vacations.

    And ‘democratizing travel’ is actually not a good thing but a bad thing. Or do you like it that drunken lower class mass tourism ruins every place where there are cheap flights?
    These people should just read wikipedia and watch videos & pictures online if they are so interested in the places & culture. All the other stuff (including McDonalds & Starbucks visits, getting drunken with cheap shitty beer) they can do at home.

  15. “Airline industry executives are realizing they have to address climate change.”

    Really? They “have to”? Upon what are you basing this firm conclusion?

  16. Well, I’m convinced that Piss Air – sorry.. Wizz Air (?!?) – are a waste of space from a consumer’s point of view.

    You want my money? Don’t lecture me and incorrectly compare my options.

  17. This is one of the most immature, asinine advertisements I have seen in a long, long time.

    It reminds me of the scene in Billy Madison and the Knibb High principal.

  18. Imagine the kind of passengers who will buy into this kind of marketing. That alone puts me off to flying this airline.

  19. I’m flying first class on Cathay Pacific to Asia in a few weeks. Since that’s not business class, I will presume this ad is not targeting me and be guilt free as I enjoy caviar at 35,000 feet.

  20. While I agree there is climate change and some steps should be taken (start with India and China cutting pollution) this is the point of absurdity. People are going to fly, either for business or pleasure, and there is nothing the tree huggers can do to stop it. If a passenger feels compelled they can do some type of donation or offset but it just isn’t reality to expect people not to fly (and I’m damn well going to be as comfortable doing it as possible).

    While “saving the planet” is a laudable goal the fact it any drastic change in carbon emission (forget limits on flying, I’m talking regular day-to-day impact) will dramatically increase the cost of living for many people that are having a hard time getting by today. Not my issue since I’m retired and very comfortable financially but will be interesting to see how this conundrum is addressed by the environmental libs.

  21. Perhaps Lufthansa should reply:
    “Our First and Business Class seats are just to remind you that you are NOT flying First or Business Class. But of course, if you work hard enough or get lucky, you to might enjoy travelling in comfort with Lufthansa.”

  22. I’ve flown Wizz Air before and generally liked the airline. The stupidity, on many levels, and odd rhetoric they used in this video makes me not want to fly them in the future.

  23. Ok i get it…we all want to do something about the planet. I try to use only frequent flyer tickets on Biz or F class since these tickets couldn’t be sold for money -one can make the case that flying on miles is actually better than flying on paid tickets even on “wizz”.
    One of the few joys in travel is turning left. “Sharing” my armrest and having my knees in my chest aren’t what travel is about.

  24. Wizz Air must have hired the same marketing company as Peloton hired to make their ad for 100 pound women to exercise more.

  25. From a carbon pollution perspective, this is like Prius vs. F150 nonsense. Just drive less, fly less and think twice before scheduling that meeting or if a conference call can do just as well.

    Some smart perspectives on carbon pollution:

    “This is exactly what fossil fuel industries want us to talk about—they want to stir up a lot of controversy around your light bulbs, straws, cheeseburgers.” “But 70% of the pollution comes from three industries.” – Senator Elizabeth Warren

    “We’ve waited too long, so we need to act fast and recognize that all options need to be on the table in order to adapt to the changed world we live in while mitigating behaviors that make it worse and reversing the damage we’ve already done. We can’t dismiss any ideas — especially not those that have support from the scientific community — or rule anything out because it doesn’t fit our ideological framework.” – Andrew Yang

    Now as an advertisement this works very very very well! Look at all of us reading and writing about Wizz Air! Also flew Wizz myself once (though EasyJet is my favorite Euro discount airline), it was smooth flight for an amazing price!

  26. Business class existed before Wizz Air arrived.
    Business class will exist after Wizz Air inevitably collapses/merges.
    We will continue to fly business and first class.
    Deal with it, Wizz Air.

  27. @SounderTID, you wrote, ” “But 70% of the pollution comes from three industries.” – Senator Elizabeth Warren

    That’s an accurate statement of what she said, but her quote is not very useful for any conversation about climate change. Warren’s claim comes from an Environmental Protection Agency’s document stating that more than 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions can be traced to three sources.

    —The 1st is “transportation” at about 29%. (Note: this is an activity, and not really an industry.)
    —The 2nd is “electricity production,” at 27%. (Note: another activity.)
    —The 3rd is really weird, at 22%…it’s just “industry.” All industry, apparently, lumped together.

    So her statement, at least as expressed there, is not very useful.

    As for Wizz…hey, it’s getting people talking. And the poor folks weren’t ever going to be up front, anyway.

  28. This is just as stupid as pushing electric vehicles where all the electricity is generated by COAL FIRED POWER STATIONS! Those are not pollution free vehicles, they are COAL fired cars. So much better off with gasoline (33% less carbon) or natural gas (50% less carbon).

    By the way Greta, in the 50’s European cities were covered in SMOG from a variety of pollution and poor heating choices (wood and coal to start) (classic examples London and LA). The generation that you are disparaging cleaned up the planet – they did not destroy it. Well we cleaned up much of it – Beijing and Delhi are still a long way behind in the clean up.

  29. @Azamarall

    The US has been shifting to natural gas generation in place of coal ever since shale gas became a thing. It’s literally turned coal and nuclear options into toxic assets that can’t compete on price. Only 30% of the total production of electricity is coal, it’s expected to be less than 10% inside of 10 years.

    Your viewpoint and argument rely on a static model where electric cars aren’t part of a larger, connected equation. But what do I know, I’ve just worked for the 3rd largest generator in the US for a decade, and wrote a significant portion of the smart metering software capabilities we use.

  30. @Miu
    What you state is valid for the USA. I recently read that PRC is starting construction on a huge amount of coal powered electricity generators.
    I find it funny that the two most discussed power topics today are EV and Solar. The funny thing is that utilities really need to push ev charging to off peak hours to avoid peak demand which overtaxes the distribution network. So Solar will never power Evs. The cost of batteries today makes that avenue of discussion moot, with regards to saving solar for charging all those EVs.

  31. I find it funny everyone wants to over analyze the ad. It is a marketing tool targeting an audience. Do you deconstruct ads for claiming more flavor or lower calories? If it doesn’t connect with you, you weren’t the audience. Let it go!

  32. I hope some exec at wiz air reads this site.

    Their model is a low cost, no frills carrier whose longest flight is about 3 hours with a fleet of a320/1

    They don’t fly long haul

    They seem to think they are more environmentally friendly than other airlines.

    They are not

    Their mission is exactly the same as any other airline , just that they are not as service oriented and customer friendly as many of their competitors

    Many people who fly business class are not travelling for work There are people who have saved up for a more comfortable trip. Honeymoon couples and so forth

    The next time their CEO Jozsef Varadi travels are beyond Europe on a work related mission , I assume it will be always in economy and at the back of the aircraft

    I doubt it

    Perhaps Wizz could form an alliance with Scat Airlines lol

  33. I really like the basic premise of this argument and I think it does make sense that taking up less space on an aircraft and allowing more people onto a plane to increase its fuel efficiency is an easy, common sense way to go about caring about the environment while still getting where you need to go.

    Also just to note that Ben would be highly biased against such an argument given his own life choices of preferring first/business class over economy most of the time so obviously this does not support what he does…

  34. I’ll compile all my First and Business class boarding passes and send it to Wizzair….show them how it’s done.
    For me Wizzair = Pi*sair. One of the worst low cost airline to fly with. Too bad they have not folded yet…
    To me they can take that advert and stick it in their back cavity where the sun does not shine.

  35. ” I recently read that PRC is starting construction on a huge amount of coal powered electricity generators.” I’m guessing what you read was from 1999? Let me guess, it said the China opens a coal powered plant every week?

  36. An actually good way to address climate change and flying is by producing larger aircraft that burn less fuel per capita.

  37. Keep in mind, they want to ban only the most useless type of business class which is short-haul. Of course, no airline would ever do it and also it’s a classical greenwashing, but this is brilliant marketing on their part, giving them a “moral” edge over some of the more enviromental conscious passengers 😉

  38. I feel this ad is a perfect representation of the new left ideology. Sanctimonious attacks on people getting on with their lives, useless buzzwords like “sharing economy” to try and dull the masses from the degradation in their living standards that they are going to experience in pursuit of climate ideology while in the background the government/celeb elites continue slip into their private jet.

  39. Thanks Ben for the great coverage!

    Your site is a true cornucopia of interesting information about airlines and air travel. Wizz Air is opening the witch hunt against both legacy airlines and the travel industry itself.

    The reason: The modern industry is never as environmently friendly as it could be.

    The “zero carbon footprint” message a very malicious operation.

    The reason: The activists are searching two or three line of business they are declaring war on.

    Not with the fact in mind that the airline industry (even after rationalization and increasing the package density of passengers) has one of the highest percentages of labour costs per USD revenue or Gross Domestic Products.

    So the real question before starting to humiliate Business Class Passengers is: Who has the right to set the standards of the society and who not.

    IMHO a budget airline with a very limited creativity has not the right to do so. The lawmakers could introduce a tax/levy per CO2 emission and then use that fonds for forests and other climate positive measures.

    With that in mind the ad shows only one fact: The persons who have decided on that campaign should resign immediately.

    And work for an entity which could be described as a Middle Age promotion funds.

    That would be a better use of creaticity and time 🙂

    And to exaggerate it: It seems that the climate campaigns have fun in denouncing companies/industries they don’t like.

    And they forget the “invisible” CO2 emittors like animal hoarding (pets also are eating meat) and similar behaviors in delevopped societies.

    Sad but true: This as is a great example of how not to make an ad.

    Best regards


  40. To those of you who are taking this video at face value: you’ve been scammed. This is nothing more than a cynical marketing ploy by a LCC to take shots at their full service competitors. Wizz Air doesn’t do business class, they do, so lets throw eggs at business class. Wizz Air’s management couldn’t give a crap about who has a larger carbon footprint. However, being shrewd, they see that millions of Euro sheeple are into this and they’re taking advantage of that.

    Don’t be fooled people. Take this for what it is: a Wizz Air promotion that takes a shot at the likes of Lufthansa, BA, KLM, AF, etc. And it’s nothing more than that.

  41. @Stogieguy7 and @Fiona Okawele: +1.

    Why not simply pay for the planting of trees in China and India (an extremely cheap measure seeing the labor cost over there) instead of insisting upon a lower living standard for Western civilization?

    If this won’t work, and if global warming/the new ice age/climate change/whatever is a global problem that offsetting can never address, then it only serves as an emotional palliative, and at the same time providing a hefty, capitalistic profit to the virtue signalers.

  42. I am obviously not their target demographic, since I apparently belong to the age of ‘old school travel’ but everything about the tone of this ad was offensive, and will go far out of my way to avoid ever flying them.

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

    Also, hilarious that they’ve decided to tell all business travellers and frequent flyers to go f*ck themselves… wonder if this publicity stunt will backfire. I can’t imagine the “rebellious teenager” demographic is all that lucrative.

  43. Looks like an ad that the CEO ordered the marketing team to make despite all the reasons they gave him not to do it. They’re getting killed on Twitter for this. What a totally stupid move.

  44. @Rui N

    I was in Shanghai and Chongqing in September this year and opening huge new coal deposits and building new Coal Fired Power Stations was BIG NEWS in the newspapers and on TV. NOT 1999, 2019! No change!

    China is desperate for energy and has no qualms about coal fired plants. Coal has 50% more CO2 per KWH generated than Oil and 100% more CO2 per KWH generated than natural gas.

    Of course the left wing environmentalist will rank China very low on the CARBON PER CAPITA basis. The environment, unfortunately, is supposedly suffering from TOTAL CO2 and when China has almost a third the worlds population then it doesn’t matter how small the contribution it is per capita. Canada supposedly produces a higher CO2 per capital compared to China but with only 35 million people it really doesn’t matter a bit in the scheme of things. The UAE with only 4 million produces more total CO2.

    If you have ever visited large cities in China you would understand how stupid the per capita ranking is – and how it allows China to pollute at will. They also did not sign the Paris Accord.

    If you were in Beiging the months before the Olympics you would be aware that they shut down all industry for months before the games – yet you COULD NOT BREATH in Beiging for the pollution.

    In real life the population explosion in the world is the major cause of the increase in CO2. Period.

  45. @Mui

    Everything you have said about the USA reducing coal consumption is 100% in disagreement with what your president has done since taking office.

    He has opened the doors for more coal production. He has encouraged it.

  46. In fairness to intra-European business class, seats such as the Recaro SL3510 only weigh 9kg whereas a passenger weighs about 60kg, so blocking the seat won’t do any more harm to the environment. While some may say that seat could be occupied by another passenger, keep in mind that airlines cannot fill their planes to capacity on many flights, so why not use that “wasted” space to add comfort. It’s disguised as a bunch of socialist BS, when it really is about Wizz’s profits so other airlines can’t stand out in comparison to them. And did you see the clause about flights under 5 hours?! How convenient that the longest Wizz flight is around 5 hours. The logic here just doesn’t add up.

  47. Wizz air has a point – transporting a person in business class equals the carbon footprint of transporting 5 in economy.

    So for Lufthansa to lecture LCCs about emissions is … pretty rich.

    A carbon tax, which is being discussed and is the real cause of the current battle betweeb airlines, should be per flight and type of aircraft, not per passenger. Therefore people who can afford to take the space of 5 people need to pay 5 times the tax,

  48. Since Carbon Taxes have been proven totally worthless in study after study this whole discussion, though entertaining, is of no value.

    Quite humourous that France (so famous for the”Paris Accord”) will not come anywhere near meeting it’s committed levels because of social unrest (riots) when they tried to impose a Carbon Tax.

  49. @Azamaraal-you understand it is called the Paris Agreement (Accord de Paris) is named because of where it was signed by the 196 countries and not as though it was a French driven document? But the thought you find any country not reaching the goals as funny is just ignorant. Yes, you and the climate change doubters are as ignorant as the orange pig sitting in the Oval Office about to be impeached (and Oval Office doesn’t deserve capitalization as long as the blob sits in it).

  50. Climate alarmists are morons and wizz air is just trying to appeal to the same people that think Greta is “heoric” despite being a fraud.

  51. @Smowman-were you always mentally deficient, your parents drop you in your head, or just too stubborn to believe in science? Funny how you right wing morons believe in a story about a god but can’t understand climate change and pollution even when you see the plastic floating in the oceans. Speaking of emotional response, that following of a man that made the earth and gave his son for you sinners is hysterical. Hope you don’t stand at those pearly gates long because us sinners will be laughing at you.

  52. It’s simply true that flying business class has a much higher impact / carbon footprint than economy. That’s something that apparently is very confronting for the readers of this blog (including the author of this blog) who of course prefer to make guilt-free lifestyle choices without such an inconvenient truth.

    It’s also true that airlines like WizzAir create demand and therefore add to the overall carbon emissions (lots of folks would not be flying if tickets weren’t so cheap).

    Bottom line: flying is not great for the environment in any case, just try to do it responsibly.

    Ben, it would be interesting to see more reflections on this blog on how you balance your lifestyle/business (which is highly eco-unfriendly) with dilemmas such as sustainability and climate change? Your core business model is based on flying – how will you balance this?

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