WOW Air: Is Their $99 West Coast to Iceland Fare Too Good to be True?

January 15, 2016

Budget Icelandic carrier WOW Air recently launched a variety of low fare offers from West Coast California cities (Los Angeles and San Francisco) for some killer prices.

The question is…are these fares too good to be true?

WOW AIR Potential Issue #1: Quality of Service

I’ll admit, I’ve never flown on WOW Air. When someone reads something like a $99 fare from the US to Iceland though, its natural for their first reaction to be hesitant.

What’s the catch?

The first thing that probably comes to mind is the American budget airlines, such as Spirit and Frontier; the horror stories are plentiful about both of these airlines, from being unable to fit in the seats, to being charged hundreds of dollars in bag fees unexpectedly, etc. Just Google around for some horror stories, and you’ll find them.

The difference is that often, European carriers simply have a higher level of service than their American counterparts. Just read my review of Norwegian Air’s 787 – they’re a budget airline, and it was still a fantastic flight.

Do your own research – many people have had very positive things to say about their WOW Air experiences. My point is: don’t let this be your deterrent to booking a killer flight deal.

WOW Air Potential Issue #2: Extra Fees

Very justified question, too.

The best advice I can give is this: Assume nothing is free, so READ THE FINE PRINT.

I almost booked my Norwegian flight last year without paying for my bag fees and meal, and having to do so at the check-in counter probably would have cost me significantly more than it would have than pre-paying it.

Do a full break-down of what you need to take on your WOW Air flight and do the math of the value versus a ticket on a higher-end carrier; one that would usually include baggage fees. From the previously linked news clip:

But before you go on a spending spree snatching up a bunch of cheap tickets, there’s some fine print you should be aware of. Only 10 percent of seats on particular flights are actually at those low fares, and there are a lot of extra fees. It will cost you $48 to bring a larger carry-on bag, $67 for a first checked bag, and $10 to $12 in seat reservation fees.

It all depends if you manage to snag out of the super cheap flights. A $99 ticket, plus $150 in baggage and seat fees is still only $250 one way. For the record, I did a search for a random day in February to flight from Los Angeles to Reykjavik, and the cheapest I found was $644; so you may still come out significantly ahead.

WOW Air Potential Issue #3: Dates

As WOW Air is a budget carrier, they don’t have a fleet of planes, from a quantity perspective, to take on a transatlantic route every day (or multiple times a day) of the week. For this reason, you’ll have to schedule your WOW Air flight around their availability. Assuming you are booking far enough out, for this kind of price – it probably isn’t much of an issue for most.

Have you flown on WOW Air, and if so, what were your thoughts?