WOW air misses the mark



Would I fly with them again?



WOW air logo

When I’d first started thinking about my round-the-world trip, I considered beginning in New York City before flying to Europe. But then I started hearing about these Icelandic discount airlines doing sales from the West Coast, SF included, to different parts of Europe. WOW air in particular was advertising cheap flights, and since I have a friend in Paris, I opted to fly straight from SF to Paris (with a layover in Reykjavik).

However, when all was said and done, I had to pay over US$500, which includes selecting seats for both parts of my flight and upgrading to a carry-on allowance of 12kg rather than a measly 5kg. I didn’t really think about this before the flight, but food also is not included in the ticket price, so if I could do it all over again, I probably wouldn’t have flown on WOW air (or I’d have at least brought a bunch of snacks with me). Instead, I had to shell out €10 for a cup of instant noodles on my first leg and two pieces of flatbread on the second leg. Their credit card system doesn’t work with chip cards, which meant that I “lucked out” by having exactly €4 and €6 in cash to pay for my ascetic meals.

This food interaction discourages me from visiting Iceland.

On the bright side, the check-in counter at SFO went super fast, as did the boarding process at both SFO and KEF, despite long lines. But both of my flights were delayed by 30-70 minutes because they were waiting on take-off paperwork. Now I’m not an expert on flights, but I’m sure they knew that they would need this paperwork ahead of time. I don’t really understand why it takes so long to get it.

Beware: they really do weigh your carry-on luggage at the check-in counter to make sure you are within their weight limits. If you are, you are rewarded with a humorous sticker:

Yay, I passed!

Other miscellaneous things I noticed:

  • Because it’s not an American airline, WOW air doesn’t support TSA PreCheck. Still, arriving just under two hours before my scheduled departure was enough time on a Monday morning.
  • WOW air offers no entertainment in the traditional sense, neither in the form of shared screens or audio jacks. But you can rent an iPad from them for US$18. :money_with_wings:
  • Yes, there are universal power adapters between the seats (not one per seat). But you might need to ask a flight attendant to turn it on for you if you don’t see a red or green light on.
  • There’s a tiny, red, metal tab under your chair to recline it. Why does it have to be different from every other plane I’ve been on? Beats me.
Written on July 19, 2016