We recently had the opportunity to go to Iceland with our daughter and her family. It was a short whirlwind of a trip, but Iceland is amazing. Anyways their trip was already planned and booked, so we just did what they did and they were flying WOW Air. WOW Airlines is a budget airline and the primary airline flying in and out of Iceland. None of us had ever flown WOW before and without question, it was a different experience. So much so that some of the first words out of our mouths once boarding the plane was Oh WOW! That turned into #ohwow for the rest of the trip. What I want to do is to share with you, what you need to know about WOW Air.
WOW Is A Budget Airlines
Keep that in mine. Doesn’t mean the planes are not safe, it’s just no frills and I do mean NO frills. More and more airlines are offering super basic flights similar to this with some add-ons for those who want them. Like luggage can be an add-on often these days. WOW Airlines takes their low price fares to an all new level of basic though. It’s not exactly a bad thing IF you know what to expect.
Beware Of The Super Low Airfare Advertised
When we decided to go with our family to Iceland we canceled another trip in order to go to Iceland. When I looked up the airfare, I was quoted about $125 more than the flights within the USA that were just a couple of hours long. That I thought was easily doable.
Initially, it appeared that an Economy flight on WOW was about $540 round trip for Basic, not bad, it’s a 9-hour flight to Iceland after all. Things got interesting from there. Right away after choosing the basic fare, the next question is do you want to bring any luggage? Huh?
Here Come The Add-Ons
If you want to take anything with you, like clothes that don’t fit into a backpack or briefcase, your personal item, it’s gonna cost you. Plan to pay for it when you purchase your ticket, it will cost you $55 for a carry-on. If you wait, it’s gonna cost you $70 for that same carry-on at the airport.
Now Iceland is pretty cool to downright freezing cold much of the time and you can’t fit much into a single carry on. You are gonna need a regular suitcase or duffle bag, and that can’t weight any more than 45 lbs. Yes, that will cost you too and dearly I must add. When you purchase your ticket, $70. If you wait, $90 at the airport!!
Now all of a sudden a budget WOW Air $540 ticket is going to cost you $665, give or take depending on how much stuff you like to travel with.
You Might Get Hungry
As I said, it’s a 9-hour flight, so you might get hungry. Well, that is gonna cost you too. Meals start at $9.50 for a baguette with cheese and ham. You can get something a little fancier for $14.00. These are their pre-order meals and are not available for sale on the plane. They do have some sandwiches, chips, etc available for purchase on the plane. There isn’t particularly a specific meal time or maybe we slept through it. We never got a meal on our first flight. About an hour & a half before landing, we asked for it, especially since we paid extra for it. It never came and then about 20 mins before landing someone walked up with it, suggesting we take it with us. #ohwow
The image below is from our return flight. Some sort of chicken with mustard sauce served in a cardboard container. It wasn’t terrible, on a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 4, maybe. Not something I would ever normally choose to eat.
Seat Selection on WOW Airlines
It’s kind of nice to sit with friends or family, but if you want to reserve your seats ahead of time so you can sit with your husband or kids. Yup, it’s gonna cost you, but to be fair, a lot of airlines do that anymore. The most basic seats start at an additional $9.00.
Timo is a pretty big guy, almost 6’2″, so legroom is always a concern for him. We choose the XL legroom seat and that is an additional $50 a seat. The low priced ticket is now costing $715. That does not include any meals or drinks, not even a soda.
That was a shocker! We started at $540 and we’re now at $715 per ticket. Thoughts of backing out crossed our minds, but grandkids were so excited and I was really excited too. Iceland had been on my bucket list for a long time, with dreams of seeing the Northern Lights. Doing it with family, it was a must do.
WOW airlines does offer some other options. You can choose WOW Plus which includes your luggage and carry-on and you get the XL seat. They tell you it’s a savings but do your math. It worked out less for us because we choose BASIC and paid for one piece of luggage. No carry-on, just 2 backpacks/personal items. With the PLUS option, you do get cancellation coverage as a little bonus.
Our Oh WOW Moment
Back to our experience, so excited as we boarded our plane to Iceland. We were pretty close to the last people to board because after boarding their premium seats, children and those with disabilities first, they began the rest of the boarding from the back of the plane. I’ve always thought that was a good idea, don’t know why all airlines don’t do that. It’s so nice not to be the one holding up the line as others try to pass you with all their stuff, heading to the back of the plane.
However, being the last, much of the overhead compartments were full, so our really full backpacks would need to be down by the feet. We were pleasantly surprised to see how much leg room there was. The most I have ever seen, ever on any airlines! Maybe first class, but we have never done that and I’m sure, never will.
As we started to get organized, we realized there was no TV screen #ohwow! 9 hours, no movies. Then as we struggled to get situated, getting a little warm, we discovered there are no personal air vents. Say what? There is also no electrical outlet and no USB port. You can’t control your overhead light either. There was nothing! The little seat pouch, if you could call it that was more like a net for kids toys, it was small and items easily fell through.
Once situated, sitting down, getting comfortable you can’t help but notice the armrest. It was just a little sliver, short, really narrow and hard. To recline your seat, there is a flat piece of metal under your seat that you must reach down, lift and push yourself back into recline. The seats were seriously lacking in padding. We didn’t even have a paper headrest cover. There was a place for one, but I wouldn’t call it a headrest anyways. #ohwow We had 9 hours of just sitting there, hopefully, sleep would come fast.
You could watch movies if you wanted to pay an additional $20 for an iPad. From my understanding, the entertainment offering on those items was very slim. A handful of movies and same with the games.
All drinks, including sodas and water, cost too and it wasn’t cheap.
On The Bright Side
Now that you have heard all the cons, you are probably wondering if there are any pros to flying on WOW Airlines. Yes, there are.
The flight attendants in both directions were very nice. The plane was very clean, even well into the flight, the lavatories were clean and well stocked every time. It was so minimal it almost felt sterile.
Like I said the legroom was amazing and the seats were somewhat comfortable.
What Bothered Me Most
I hate being nickeled and dimed. We felt like that is what we got. I don’t like being lured in with a super low fare to find out if you want to even have a carry-on, it’s going to cost you. But I guess, that’s the way some airlines are going these days.
Something to seriously keep in mind is that I noticed that the lessor legroom seats seemed to have quite a bit of legroom anyways. I saw some really big guys that appeared to have ample leg room to stretch out. We could have saved money and just sat in those seats. #ohwow
Do Comparison Shop
When I got home, I did a little checking. I found a similar flight on Delta. It was not non-stop so it took an additional 3 hours for $763. What you got on Delta was movies, power outlet, USB, meal, complimentary beer, wine, spirits, sodas, and snacks. I’m sure you had a more ample armrest, with a button to recline your seat back. Plus, I’m sure you had an air vent and could control your overhead light.
A personal item and a carry-on were free, a single checked bag was $40.
Would I Fly WOW Airlines Again?
The answer is, I might. If after being nickeled and dimed to death, and IF the fare was considerably lower than others, I might. Now that you & I are armed with what you need to know about WOW Airlines, I would just really prepare yourself.
- Have plenty of entertainment for yourself and your kids, be sure batteries are fully charged.
- Bring water or other drinks
- If you enjoy having a cocktail, stop by and pick up a couple of those tiny little bottles of your favorites.
- Grab a meal in the airport to carry on to the plane. The airport in Iceland has a lot of really good food options.
For now, I’ll probably keep flying other airlines, but when going to Iceland, there aren’t too many options. WOW Airlines flies there 5 days a week. A couple of other airlines, even less. If I ever get back to Iceland again, sure, I would fly WOW Air. Well, let me say unless something better comes along.