WOW Air Starts US Flights With Amazing Fares

I hadn’t actually heard of WOW Air until I visited Iceland this summer, where they were advertising all over the airport. They’re an Icelandic low cost carrier and started operations in 2011, so are still very new. They exclusively operate a fleet of A320s, each of which features 174 seats spread across 29 rows, with 29-30″ of pitch per row.

Blue-Lagoon-Iceland
Blue Lagoon Iceland

What’s really cool is that they announced service to the United States today. Via airlineroute.net, WOW Air will begin flights to Boston and Baltimore as of 2015.

As of March 27, 2015, WOW Air will begin 6x weekly flights between Reykjavik and Boston, as follows:

WW125 Reykjavik to Boston departing 3:35PM arriving 5:50PM
WW126 Boston to Reykjavik departing 6:55PM arriving 4:05AM (+1 day)

As of June 4, 2015, WOW Air will begin 5x weekly flights between Reykjavik and Baltimore (hilariously they’re marketing it was service to Washington DC), as follows:

WW117 Reykjavik to Baltimore departing 3:30PM arriving 5:55PM
WW118 Baltimore to Reykjavik departing 7:25PM arriving 5:10AM (+1 day)

This will very nice complement their Europe route network, making Reyjavik a great connecting airport while enroute between the US and Europe.

Iceland-Airport
Reykjavik Airport

They’re marketing this as a way to get between the US and Reykjavik, Copenhagen, and London Gatwick.

WOW-Air-Route-Network
WOW Air connection opportunities

Anyway, WOW Air has some crazy good introductory fares, in many cases for as little as $99-125 one-way. They’re not being very transparent about how many of these discounted fares are available and on which dates, so you’ll want to enter your preferred dates on their website to find out.

Their US website seems to be having some issues right now, presumably because they weren’t anticipating the volume of interest. So I’m not able to get anything to price there right now, though their non-US sites are working fine (though are priced in other currencies, and typically tickets are more expensive). I suspect the US site will be operating again shortly.

WOW-Air-Fares
WOW Air fares on UK website

The thing to keep in mind is that they’re an ultra low cost carriers, so they charge you for everything. Check out WOW Air’s optional fees and charges page to get a sense of just how many things they charge for.

For example, the per segment cost of hand luggage is €20 if paid for online, €36 it if paid for at check-in, or €59 if paid for at the gate. Checked luggage is even more expensive, and starts at €36.

WOW Air also has a pretty epic cancellation policy. Cancellations are possible, but you’re not getting any money back. And if you cancel by phone they’ll even charge you (in which case I’m a bit why anyone would bother canceling if they’re not getting any credit or money back?).

WOW-Air-Cancellation-Policy

I also love the disclaimer at the bottom of their fees page. Not only are the fees subject to change, but they’re also “subject to error:”

Prices shown are subject to error and change. Last updated: 22.10.2014

WOW Air Bottom Line

These are some incredible fares, and I welcome the competition that WOW Air brings to the US. Regardless of whether you get the introductory pricing or not, I suspect their prices will remain incredibly long long term. They’re sort of like the second Norwegian Air Shuttle to enter the US market in terms of their pricing strategy.

If you do decide to make a booking with them, just make sure you’re going in with the right expectations. They’re not a US “low cost carrier” like Southwest and JetBlue, which are actually pretty full service airlines. Instead, you’ll be charged for everything on WOW Air, so be prepared for that, and factor that into the overall cost of the trip.

PS: Their crews deserve an award for doing the least Harlem Shake-ish Harlem Shake I’ve ever seen:

PPS: Thank goodness that craze is over. No, really.

PPPS: Am I the only one that finds it odd that their tagline is “Iceland’s Most Punctual Airline In 2013.” I have a lot of questions and concerns about WOW Air, yet oddly their on-time record wasn’t among them.

Comments

  1. Lucky, those fares in Pounds Sterling, they are actually & $160-$200 each. Just letting you know.

  2. PS… they are buying new A321s for this route, and according to the seat map they will have 35 rows. Air France’s A321s also have 35 rows and 32 inches of pitch, so I think it will marginally improve on the US routes.

  3. I know some of the folks behind WOW and also a number of people that work for them. Professional organisation (lots of ex-Icelandair and Iceland Express folks) and cheap/cheerful service.

    The punctuality thing is a big issue for them since Iceland Express had a bit of a meltdown a few times so all Icelandic LCCs got a bum rap as a result. Buy with confidence about safety and product quality.

  4. I presume “cancellations are possible but the fare will not be refunded” means that taxes will be refunded. (I don’t think they could legally refuse to do that, although I guess they can impose a high service charge for the call.)

  5. @Ben, any idea on what champagne they serve in First? And is the caviar in the tin or just a spoonful on a plate — I hate it when it’s the latter.

  6. Who cares if the fares are low when the COST OF TRAVEL is high? I can’t believe you fell for this scam.

  7. 29″ pitch. For sure they will appeal to some, but most leisure travellers are going to be checking bags and that drives cost up pretty fast. Also if flying to London, you are adding an extra 4hrs to the trip so ~60% longer flying in a worse seat.

    could be useful for positioning flights tho/

  8. Fees are high

    $48 per checked bag per way.
    $3-24 to select a seat
    $29 if your carry-on is over 5kgs (can’t be more than 12kgs)

  9. Fees are high, but I found even after tacking on all the possible fees I’d need, it’s still 50% cheaper than Delta or Icelandair’s pricing for any of the dates I was checking. I got 2 roundtrip tickets for midsummer at their introductory pricing around $515/pp. With our Arrivals+ card initial bonus, the total out-of-pocket was $48 roundtrip BWI-KEF. That even includes the “splurge” to the XL Seat on the exit row with extra legroom (and this is one of two rows that is 2-2 across as opposed to 3-3). Sure, it’ll be a shocker after my SQ A380 Suites trip, but variety is indeed the spice of life!

  10. Thanks Ben! We are booked through BOS the first weekend I. June.. Out the door with seat selections was less than 500 bucks for two RT tickets!
    Can’t wait!

  11. To be honest BWI is closer than IAD to commuters. The Maryland light rail takes 30 minutes from BWI to Union Station smack in the middle of DC. The IAD connector bus takes an hour if you are lucky to L’enfant Plaza. So I find it correct that they say Washington, DC, even distance-wise it is the same distance. IAD is 30.5 miles away and BWI is 31 miles away.

  12. Doesn’t seem that crazy to market BWI as Washington, DC to me. BWI is a fantastic airport with quick MARC service to Union Station and a regular shuttle to the Greenbelt Metro station on the green line.

  13. “They exclusively operate a fleet of A320s, each of which features 174 seats spread across 29 rows, with 29-30″ of pitch per row.”

    I fly coach all the time but even if it were free I’d never fly in a seat that cramped.

  14. Jumped on this and will be doing a long weekend in Iceland in October! BWI-KEF for $296 RT!

    Hardest part of pulling the trigger was convincing the wife!

  15. Selecting the “extra leg room” seats in both directions, and paying for carry-on luggage of under 12kgs (26lbs), yields a price of $417.80 round-trip in late summer 2015. But you’ve gotta get to BWI, which is $100ish round-trip on Amtrak if you live in NYC. And unless you can predict with certainty your plans 11 months in advance (I can’t), round-trip date changes will be $176 plus any fare difference. We’re at a probable cost of $700ish already, for the privilege of flying a horrrrrible airline.

    Then, traveling in Iceland is extremely expensive.

    Is this a better deal than buying a $900 airfare to somewhere cheaper in Europe on a decent airline where I have status, priority seating, lounge access, and the possibility to upgrade?

    Naa, probably not, for most of us.

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