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One way flight from Budapest to Stockholm

Hi it’s me again. This time, before I screw up, I thought I’d try something new and ask you folks first.

Seeking advice on traveling from Budapest to Stockholm on May 19, 2020. Been researching on Skyscanner and Expedia but prefer to book direct.

For starters, I am traveling with my mom who does not travel internationally often, and my sister who has never been overseas. My mom is not keen on flying with smaller lower budget airlines which rules out WizzAir. And possibly airBaltic. Also not keen on 6am flights if they can be avoided.

We have very little time as this is a short trip (I negotiated with my fellow travelers to make it as long as I could). A leisurely train trip really isn’t the best use of our time, imo. But I welcome your opinions.

What about SAS or Lufthansa? She prefers British Air but ugh, flying all the way to LHR for a connection doubles our travel time. Austrian Air also has flights. And SwissAir. None of these airlines get very good ratings and I suspect that is because people are more motivated to review things when they have had a bad experience than when things go smoothly. And also because these are small no-frills planes.

Lufthansa has a flight but allows only 50 mins layover in Munich. Since the connecting flight will be on the same reservation and with the same airline, will this be okay?

I am naive - I thought this would be simpler.

Posted by
5537 posts

Where on earth did you get the idea that SAS, Lufthansa, Austrian Air and Swiss Air aren’t good airlines?

Posted by
10659 posts

They are all good, get the best price you can, with any of them, that has a 2 to 3 hour layover so no one has to panic.

Posted by
19 posts

It’s not entirely up to me. I travel the Rick Steves way with only a backpack and I am ready for adventure and just want to get there. My folks, on the other hand, check Trip Advisor and have some anxiety traveling with certain airlines. So maybe the “where on earth” question is gonna go unanswered as I don’t think it was intended to be useful anyway. I am dealing with travelers who have some fears. Very very very risk-averse. I am trying to persuade them to change their minds about airlines and would appreciate advice on which ones might be better than others. If you’re not gonna be helpful with that, don’t bother replying.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks James E.
Cost really is not an issue with my folks. And they will pay the difference on my airfare as well. If there are no airlines in your opinion to avoid, that helps.

My mom is near 80 and not really into walking from a plane parked out in the lot. Are there some airports or airlines where this happens more often? Those I would prefer to avoid. She travels business class mostly and I realize intra Europe short flights don’t offer that. Premium economy with extra baggage allowance and dedicated security would be fantastic.

Posted by
10659 posts

I dont know about the airports in Stockholm, the Budapest airport can be a bit of a circus. Oddly enough, even not caring about price, I would be inclined to fly Wizzair. Budapest is their hub and they are better organized than most at Budapest. You can pay a bit extra for luggage and priority boarding, I generally do. I believe their first few rows are a tad larger, I usually sit in the first row .... for which the do charge extra. With all the add ins my $35 ticket generally ends up being $80. But they will get you from Point A to Point B with very little hassle or inconvenience. That works for me. If they land at Stockholms secondary airport, that will make things easier too. Staff has always been good too. If you go with them, and if you arrive at the airport in Budapest early, before they post the counter numbers, Wizzair is almost always the counter at the far left when facing them.

Posted by
1038 posts

Lufthansa has a flight but allows only 50 mins layover in Munich.
Since the connecting flight will be on the same reservation and with
the same airline, will this be okay?

If you miss the connecting flight, they will put you on the next one (provided there are free seats on it). Frankfurt would be better however since the flights between Stockholm and Frankfurt are more frequent.

Of the three airlines mentioned by Chris, I'd say the obvious answer is SAS. They are not in risk of going bankrupt before May, and they fly to Arlanda. Unlike Wizzair that uses Skavsta, about 100 km south of Stockholm.

Tripadvisor is a great place to check reviews and find good restaurants and hotels. But somehow the airlines reviews is what I would call not very trustworthy, reading the reviews there are many people leaving bad reviews after not being able to change their flight or check in a bag for free when they have bought the cheapest possible nonrefundable ticket.

SAS and Lufthansa great airlines, better than British Airways in my opinion. As for flying British Airways, my opinion is don't even think about it. Since the UK is not part of the Schengen area it means you have to stand in line for emigration and immigration checks, no need for that when staying inside Schengen. And UK has opted out of the common European airport security, so changing planes in London means going through security again. Something not needed in Frankfurt or Vienna. SAS is also in the process of renewing their fleet, so the chance is pretty big that you'll fly one of their new A320neos, that in my opinion are really nice.

I haven't flown Austrian in many years so I don't know how they are nowadays. Swissair went bankrupt in 2002 but their successor Swiss usually gets good reviews, although I've never flown them myself.

Posted by
19 posts

Thank you, Badger! That is exactly the information I needed. Very helpful in my arguments with the fam of why NOT to choose the British Air flight. I think I will not choose the 50 min layover. Too close and not sure how resilient the other travelers might be with hiccups.

Posted by
19 posts

Good point, James E. My dad is dead set against WizzAir but I think your reasoning will resonate. And you are the Budapest expert!

Posted by
10659 posts

I've flown Wizzair and just about every major airline. Dont really have a favorite, probably my least favorite is BA, but not by so much that I would not fly them. Took BA to Budapest earlier this year; Lufthansa too. I avoid BA primarily because it takes nearly 3 hours to change planes in Heathrow. Otherwise a flight is a flight.

Posted by
1038 posts

Very helpful in my arguments with the fam of why NOT to choose the
British Air flight.

Glad I could help. Also note that if you are not EEA or Swiss citizens, the lines to passport control can be long. I'm not sure about Budapest, but there are no e-gates in Stockholm. Another reason I try to avoid Heathrow is that it only has 2 runways and operates at very close to 100% capacity. Hence, small problems can lead to huge delays. Compare that to Frankfurt, a smaller airport with 4 runways. And frankly, just looking at a map should tell you that BA is not the best choice.

If your travel companions are sceptical about other airlines than British Airways, there are plenty of youtubeclips you can show them. Like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reb_X7amzB8 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7AihZaQhZY or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj3d247wuVA if you want to see what SAS' new planes are like.

I think I will not choose the 50 min layover.

I wouldn't worry too much about it personally, but if parts of your travel company are the worrying kind it can't hurt with a bit more margin.

Regarding Wizzair, they use as I mentioned Skavsta, a small airport 100 km outside Stockholm. But contrary to James E I don't consider that an advantage. It is a smaller airport, so you will get out quick. But Arlanda is not that big either, even if it is a slightly longer walk. And from Skavsta your options on how to get to Stockholm are limited to an 80 minute and not so comfortable bus ride, or a very expensive taxi. From Arlanda there is a 45 minute not so comfortable bus ride and less expensive taxis. As well as a 20 minutes express train, a 40 minutes commuter train and a very cheap discount bus.

Posted by
10659 posts

Like I said, I don't know the Stockholm airports so I cant comment on that. I did take a look, and its 75 minutes and 160 euro by taxi, 80 euro per person. The 75 minute is what it takes me to get to my local airport so I guess I am sort of numb to that. Still several hours faster than changing planes if you don't fly direct and cost no more than a direct flight on a major carrier, even with the cost of the taxi. But its subjective and only you know your mother.

But a 50 minute lay over with an elderly person, at any airport wouldn't be a wise decision.

Posted by
5444 posts

Don't know Stockholm nor Budapest but have flown SAS to Oslo and Helsinki connection through CPH. SAS' connections are easy and effiient. We easily made our scheduled 50 minute connection that shortened to about a half hour at CPH even with a late departue from HEL because of the need to de-ice. And that included going trough passport control as we were departing for the US. I would have no second thoughts flying SAS.

We're booked on a March United flight with the Frankfurt to Milan a codeshare operated by Lufthansa. It's too many months off to worry but Lufthansa's cabin crew work actions are something that I have no control over. I am hoping that management resolves the issues before March.

Posted by
10659 posts

Edger, then you have done better than me. I have changed planes in Frankfurt and Munich. The flights from Budapest to Frankfurt have always deplaned us on the tarmac and then a 10 min bus ride to the wrong terminal. Made it in an hour once but ran most of the way. Munich was much easier from Budapest, but if the flight had been 10 or 15 minutes late it would have been a different story. Best case in Munich I think would be the elderly woman walking pretty quickly and then facing the boarding mob; so much for business class boarding. Or if the plane were late the same elderly woman would be dragged around looking for a place to sleep for the night.

You could do 2:10 direct direct flight followed by a 1:15 drive or you could do an 8 hour flight that includes a transfer some place followed by a :30 drive.

The only other flight I would put my mother on is a Finnair flight that has a 2.5 hour change in HEL. $248 per ticket (vs about $135 with all the perks on the Wizzair) and 7:20 Budapest airport to downtown Stockholm (vs 3:35 on the direct flight.)

I like Google for these sorts of things https://www.google.com/flights/#flt=BUD./m/06mxs.2020-05-19;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f;tt:o

Posted by
19 posts

FYI: I never thought of my mom as elderly but I guess that is true. Yikes. Hard pill to swallow. She golfs nearly every day and is spry and quick-minded. But she doesn’t haul luggage up stairs nor wear a backpack. (She also prefers good customer service and posh accommodations. For a later post...)

Selling me on WizzAir is easy. But thank you for giving me some ammunition for selling it to my folks. My Dad isn’t coming and he is the one with the biggest anxiety. My sister does not care and is super easy going. (Dad looks at financial viability and so I did find a site that rates WizzAir with an extremely low risk of bankruptcy of 1%. He also looks at reviews and ratings on various sites. This gives you an idea of what I am dealing with.) I much prefer not burning 5-7 hours. An extra hour in the car (we will get a driver in Stockholm) vs. an hour or two or three transferring planes is preferable so I will keep trying! But good to hear others have had success with SAS and other airlines because I may have to go that route to appease the gods. I told my folks about BA and staying within Schengen and they understand. Whew. One hurdle jumped.

This will be an amazing trip to see where my mom’s family came from. And I am in charge of planning it. Should I have got a travel agent? Thinking maybe so. I will have more questions soon. Like maybe even today.

Posted by
6060 posts

Are we talking about a ~ 2 hour non-stop flight, literally a smidgen of time? That's all it would be via Wizz Air, and they have a bus shuttle that can take you to the center (likely cheaper than a cab). This seems like way too much drama/ high maintenance for a 2-hour flight. Go with Wizz Air and be done with it (and try to dissuade your parents from looking at useless airline ratings - all airlines are regulated to the same EU standards, including budget airlines). I don't know why you'd need a travel agent for these simple bookings, but I'm sure this is no picnic dealing with others' idiosyncracies. Just curious...if you're visiting only Budapest and Stockholm (an odd pairing, making these short flights inevitable), why are you flying into Heathrow? And how are you getting to Budapest from Heathrow?

Posted by
1038 posts

I did take a look, and its 75 minutes and 160 euro by taxi, 80 euro
per person.

I don't know where you looked, but 75 minutes does not sound reasonable. Remember that Google maps is usually very optimistic when it comes to driving times. And the E4 can be very congested at times, which can easily add 30 minutes or so.

Selling me on WizzAir is easy. But thank you for giving me some
ammunition for selling it to my folks.

If that is the only direct flight, that should be a very strong argument for Wizzair. Not having to change flights is always nice.

My Dad isn’t coming and he is the one with the biggest anxiety. My
sister does not care and is super easy going. (Dad looks at financial
viability and so I did find a site that rates WizzAir with an
extremely low risk of bankruptcy of 1%. He also looks at reviews and
ratings on various sites. This gives you an idea of what I am dealing
with.)

Regarding financial stability, I haven't seen anything suggesting that Wizzair is in danger. So that is nothing to worry about in my opinion.

I much prefer not burning 5-7 hours.

Just remember that it takes a bit of extra time to get from Skavsta compared to Arlanda. But if there are no direct flights to Arlanda, Wizzair might still be the fastest option. And as always with low cost airlines, just remember to read the fine print to avoid extra fees.

An extra hour in the car (we will get a driver in Stockholm)

A driver? There is excellent and very affordable public transport in Stockholm, on the other hand taxis can be very expensive.

Should I have got a travel agent? Thinking maybe so.

You can learn a lot on the internet as well.

I will have more questions soon. Like maybe even today.

Keep them coming!

Posted by
4435 posts

With regard to transportation from Skavsta, the least expensive option is the bus (flygbuss). It comes into Stockholms Cityterminalen which is across the street from the main train station. You can check info here:

https://www.flygbussarna.se/en/skavsta

Posted by
19 posts

THANK YOU!!!!
I was able to use all your great information and persuade my mom and sister to fly WizzAir! I bought pretty much every perk you can buy including fast track security (except I passed on the lounge) and was able to choose exit row seats for more legroom and it came to less than $500 for all three of us. Total.

If we all crash and burn, I will never hear the end of it. ;)
Just kidding.
Next up: lodging. I have read pretty much every forum entry here going back a couple years. Plus TripAdvisor and other reviews. But I feel like taking a moment to celebrate is in order.

Posted by
10659 posts

It's what I would have done. Even our naysayer eventually got to the same conclusion.

I can't help with Stockholm accommodations, but I know Budapest a bit. For you, the Ritz Carlton.

Posted by
19 posts

I wish but the Ritz may be a little too posh. We are looking at the Corinthia which for 4 nights we get a discount, plus they have a two bedroom so that saves having to get two separate rooms. Still it’s twice as much as two adjoining rooms at some of the 4 star hotels.

Posted by
10659 posts

That would have been my second suggestion. It's as nice as the Ritz, just that there would be a little less walking with the Ritz. If you need a driver while in town, let me know.

Posted by
19 posts

RANT!
WizzAir just emailed me cancelling our May 19 flight direct from Budapest to Stockholm. And switching us to May 18. One less day in Budapest is not okay. We only had planned for 3 days in Hungary (2 in Budapest and 1 day trip to Herend/Veszprem to visit where my mom’s family is from.) So now I either gotta drop the day trip (which is pretty much the whole reason we are going) or try to cram Budapest into one day. Two days was bad enough, but 1 day!

Or screw WizzAir, get my refund, and find another airline. No one is direct so this means chewing up a whole day flying.

Not to mention, British Air canceled our flight from London to Budapest and put us on a later flight which means 6 hours in Heathrow and thus, 5 hours less in Budapest.

Early bookers are punished. These airlines know full well that they have no intention of running all these flights. They just tease us, get us to book, and then consolidate us into one flight.

I have already booked our hotels and I am completely unwilling to leave Budapest on the 18th. Unless we back the whoooooole trip by a day or something. Ugh. Which means fees and such and phone calls and....

I hate airlines. I hate them.

Posted by
15566 posts

We did a Budapest to Chicago on Lufthansa in January and only had a 1 hour change in Munich and it included Schengen departure passport screening. Went flawlessly. Your mileage may vary.

Also check how many later departures Munich to Stockholm Lufthansa has. In case there is a hiccup.

Posted by
6025 posts

Does moving your Budapest departure to the 20th solve the airline issue? ( or is that not an option?)

Posted by
19 posts

We have very few days for this trip. Moving our flight to May 20 is not an option. Domino effect.

Posted by
1038 posts

WizzAir just emailed me cancelling our May 19 flight direct from
Budapest to Stockholm. And switching us to May 18. One less day in
Budapest is not okay. We only had planned for 3 days in Hungary (2 in
Budapest and 1 day trip to Herend/Veszprem to visit where my mom’s
family is from.) So now I either gotta drop the day trip (which is
pretty much the whole reason we are going) or try to cram Budapest
into one day. Two days was bad enough, but 1 day! Or screw WizzAir,
get my refund, and find another airline. No one is direct so this
means chewing up a whole day flying. Not to mention, British Air
canceled our flight from London to Budapest and put us on a later
flight which means 6 hours in Heathrow and thus, 5 hours less in
Budapest. Early bookers are punished. These airlines know full well
that they have no intention of running all these flights. They just
tease us, get us to book, and then consolidate us into one flight.

I actually have to defend the airlines here. I doubt they sell tickets to flights they have no intention of running. But when you book in advance schedules sometimes change. And when it comes to low cost airlines, that can be a problem when they only have a few flights per week. But it is still annoying when it happens, sorry to hear that. I hope you can find a new flight. Do you have any travel insurance than can help you in this case?