WOW Air – Too Good to be True?

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably always on the lookout for the cheapest flights for your next trip. In fact, more often than not, we end up deciding on our next destination based on where we can find the cheapest flights at that particular time of year. Case in point: Martinique. In the ongoing search for rock-bottom airfares, you’ll almost certainly stumble upon Wow Air, with round-trip flights to Iceland and mainland Europe that almost seem too good to be true. For example, they recently offered one-way flights from Boston to Reykjavik for $99. So what’s the story with Wow Air? Are these insanely low prices actually too good to be true?… Right this way…

Destinations and Fares

Wow is headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland and operates flights to/from 32 destinations in Europe and North America. All flights from North America to European destinations stop in Reykjavik and offer the option to extend your layover in Iceland  free of charge. If you’re departing from the US, WOW offers flights out of the following cities:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Baltimore
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Miami
  • Pittsburgh
  • San Francisco

wow airlines review

Source: Wow Air

A quick visit to the “Best Fares” page will give you a rundown of how cheaply you can fly to various European destinations. Here’s an example of what one-way flights out of Boston look like today:

  • Reykjavik: $99
  • Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt: $149
  • Paris: $249
  • Barcelona: $329

These fares are tough to beat. A few months ago we flew WOW Air from Boston to London for $320 per person round-trip. That’s ludicrous. But at the end of the day, is that actually what you’ll be paying? The short answer is no, but even after all the additional fees that WOW relies on to stay in business, the prices are still going to be some of the lowest you’ll find. For our trip to England, after all fees, the trip came out to about $430 per person round-trip. That’s a $110 increase from the sticker price, but for a round trip flight to London, $430 is phenomenal.

Baggage

Bag fees are where you’ll see the cost of your flight start to increase. WOW includes one small carry-on bag in your airfare that can weigh no more than 22 pounds. They weren’t particularly strict about carry-ons on our flight. If you’re flying to Europe, then it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to get away with just one carry-on bag, so you’ll have to shell out some extra cash to check a bag. See table below:

wow airlines review

These bag fees are one-way, so for a round trip flight from Boston to Iceland, you’ll pay $78 for a large cabin bag ($38.99 x 2) or $98 for a checked bag ($48.99 x 2). If you can get away with one carry-on and a small cabin bag (which would generally be free on other airlines) then you can minimize your baggage costs.

Selecting Your Seat

Here’s another sneaky way that WOW raids your wallet during the booking process. You have to pay to select your seat. See prices below:

wow airlines review

So if you’re flying round-trip to Iceland, you should expect to pay a minimum of $18 to pick your seats. If you’re flying to another European destination via Iceland, you should expect to pay a minimum of  $36 since you need to reserve your seat for each leg of the trip. It’s a ridiculous fee, but the fares are so low that they know that you’re not going to back out of your purchase because of these relatively small fees. It’s a smart move on WOW’s part.

In-Flight

The planes themselves, (Airbus 321) are comprised of all economy seating with a few rows of extra leg room seats. As expected, the flights are bare-bones, but they’re reasonably comfortable and the staff is extremely friendly and helpful. Just be warned that you’ll have to pay for everything on this flight. Absolutely nothing is free…not even water or peanuts.

Conclusion

We had an overall good experience with WOW. Obviously, being a no-frills carrier, the flight was nothing to write home about, but it’s really not as bad as you might expect from such an inexpensive airline. While the sticker prices you see on the website are in fact too good to be true, even after all is said and done, you’ll be hard-pressed to find cheaper flights to Iceland and mainland Europe than what you’ll encounter on WOW. If you see round trip flights to Reykjavik for $200, in reality you’ll end up paying closer to $300. If you see round trip flights to London for $320, you’ll probably end up paying at least $425.  These are still fantastic prices, just don’t expect the price you see on the website to be the same price you end up charging to your credit card.

 

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One Comment

  1. I’ve never flown with WOW Air, but I do recall coming across it a couple of years back when I was looking for a cheap ticket from the US to the UK. Budget airlines certainly make many destinations more affordable/ accessible, even if the final price is a wee bit higher than that originally stated!

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