Wow Air

I assume most of you have seen those cheap deals to Europe from the States on Wow Air.

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Crazy, right?! You should be planning your next trip to visit us.

But I know that you are skeptical of these deals so let me break it all down for you in case you are planning your to visit us. 😉

WOW Air is one of those budget, no-frills airlines. We flew WOW on our most recent trip home (Edinburgh to San Francisco). The flight from Edinburgh to Keflavik is about 2 hours and the flight from Keflavik to San Francisco is about 8-9 hours. I bought tickets 2 months before our flight and paid $1250 for the both of us roundtrip. This includes adding on 1 bag (20kg/44lbs) to check in.  My parents recently booked to visit us, including a 2-night stopover in Iceland for less than that.

Our experience flying WOW was totally fine. Flight was smooth and seats were relatively spacious. The planes are new, so everything is still fresh and clean. For our short flight from Edinburgh to Iceland, our plane didn’t have the dreaded middle seat so none of us had to sit next to someone we didn’t know. None of our flights were fully booked so we got to spread out too. While we were waiting to board, we were listening to everybody complaining about how bad Wow Air was, but it wasn’t that bad. We were really lucky and our flights were empty so we got to spread out. If you’re prepared for it, this can be a great travel option.

This is how much space I got.

Okay, here’s what you need to know if you plan on flying on WOW.

  1. Food is not included. There are no complimentary drinks or water provided on the flight. There are no meals. They do have food available, but you have to pay separately for it. This works perfectly for me because I abhor airplane food. I never eat it. Unfortunately, Andrew loves it and is happy to eat 2 meals. On our flights, we brought home-made lunchables, quinoa bowls, and spam musubi. Bringing your own food is the way to go! For water, we would bring an empty water bottle and fill up. If you’re flying from San Francisco, you have lots of water fountains to choose from. The only problem is that Edinburgh has no water fountains, but if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can fill up and get sodas from a lounge!
  2. There’s no in-flight entertainment. There are no personal TVs or communal movies available. Thankfully, we have a Netflix account so we just downloaded a few movies to watch on our flights. Remember to bring your headphones. If you forget, you can rent iPads from the flight attendants.
  3. You’re supposed to pay for your seat. WOW Air’s wording is confusing because they want you to pre-book and pay for selected seats. They give the impression that you must book a seat, but once you get your ticket, there is a seat for you. However, you are not guaranteed a seat next to your partner or family. I was cheap and took a chance, but on all our flights, Andrew and I were sat together.
  4. Check-In Luggage is not free. They also have restrictions on your carry-ons. The carry-on bag has to be smaller than 42x32x25cm and less than 10kg/22 lbs because you have to pay for a “larger” carry-on. Edinburgh wasn’t very strict on this, but the staff in San Francisco were checking the sizes. When we flew, Andrew only had his backpack. I traveled with a small rolling luggage and a purse. Since I like to bring back American goodies, we decided to buy 1 check-in bag (we paid $112 in baggage fees in total).
  5. To ensure the cheapest tickets and have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, consider changing your location to UK. For example, 1 piece of check-in luggage costs $70.99 each way. When I change my country to UK, the check-in luggage costs £52.99 (which is currently $62.99 USD). By changing your country to UK, you could save $14 roundtrip! When I booked our trip in January, we saved about $200 USD in total by paying in GBP.
  6. There is no blanket on your seat. This means you need to remember to wear warm clothes (which shouldn’t be a problem if you’re heading to Iceland). I always wear an extra jacket to use as blanket and a scarf to cover my face if the lights are too bright.
  7. They might try to sell transfers or other things to you during the flight. I just ignore them, but this could be really convenient if you don’t know how you’re getting to the hotel after you land.

I’m all for cheap flights and good deals, but we aren’t happy with their customer service prior to flying. We had no issues for our January trip, but we booked a roundtrip flight (Edinburgh to San Francisco) for $1,044 (not including luggage) for the both of us in May for Andrew’s brother’s wedding. We booked it on December 11. On Jan 19th, we received an email stating that our San Francisco to Iceland flight was cancelled. We spent 3 weeks going back and forth with Wow trying to rebook. Earlier flights were fully booked and the next flight out would arrive after our connecting flight to Edinburgh. It was extremely frustrating. We got it figured out, but I ended up having to take more vacation days and we have to spend an additional night in Iceland (which can be very expensive). We are not happy about this, but this is what could happen while booking on WOW Air.

Secondly, I have to point out that there is no Priority Pass lounge in Iceland. I know this is a first-world problem, but if you’re traveling with a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, I’m sorry. You won’t get to enjoy a nice drink in a quiet, clean space during our layover. (The Keflavik restrooms are very clean though.)

Okay, here’s the link. It’s time to plan your trip to Edinburgh via Iceland.

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