Flying WOWAir with the Restless Homebodies

WOWAir airbus

When we shared with friends that we were planning a trip to Iceland, nearly every person asked if we were flying WOW Air. And every one of them asked to hear my opinion when I got back.

There’s understandably massive curiosity around this budget airline that offers amazing basic fare deals and keeps everything else a la carte.

So, here’s the experience we had on WOW.



There’s only one thing to note, here: WOW’s fees are affordable, but EVERYTHING has a price. From peanuts, to legroom, to the size of your carryon, be prepared for a nickel-and-dime sesh when you book.

The good news is, if you’re not too picky, you’re going to get a hell of a deal. And if you are picky, you’ll just get a slightly-less-amazing-but-still-ass-kicking deal.



Screenshot from FAQ page

OOOOOOOOKAY. So, when we’ve flown other airlines, we’ve never had anyone ask to put a carryon bag in a sizer unless it looks egregiously oversized. I’ve even gotten on a commuter jet, found out the hard way that my roller was too big for the overhead compartments, and had to do plane-side check.

Not so with WOW.

When you check in, whether online or in person, EVERY SINGLE BAG GOES INTO A SIZER. Not only that, it can’t just squeak by: it has to fit all. the. way. down. into the bin.

Which all meant that instead of checking one bag, we checked THREE, despite having both traveled extensively with our carryon rollers and having measured them against WOW specs before we left home. Oh well, c’est la vie – the upside is that the added charge wasn’t exorbitant. And, as the lovely WOW check-in agent explained, a discount airline has to make money somehow.

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Also, for the record, our bags 100% could have fit in those overhead bins…


Service and flight staff

Photo credit Journalist on the Run

When you can get a little bit jerked around as far as your luggage goes, but still walk away feeling like your experience is pretty decent, I’d say that’s the mark of good service.

Once on the plane, the flight crew were attentive, good-humored, and made the flight as enjoyable as possible.

Also, I’ve literally never seen such an attractive group of human beings in one place in my life. Jeez.

Boyfriend Perspective: Seriously, it was like blonde Icelandic models needed a side gig as flight attendants from the 50’s.


The plane

Photo credit Condé Nast Traveler

On the flight out of Baltimore, I made a resolution: I will never, ever complain about Delta being cramped again. I’m 5’6” and my knees were crammed against the seat in front of me for 5+ hours. Halfway through that, the dudebro occupant of that seat decided to recline.

Boyfriend Perspective: We also couldn’t eat the snacks we brought on the plane because someone was allergic. It happens, but this flight was uncomfortable, uneventful, and ended with at least two hangry people.

Obviously, since he’s got 4” on me, Luke was even more jammed in, and the seat angle killed his back even worse than mine.

There are times when flying makes you feel really old, even when you’re young.

Thankfully (oh, so thankfully!), we had a larger plane on the flight out of Reykjavík, so the legroom was much more manageable. We also had the unicorn situation of having no one sitting in one of the seats on our row – SCORE.

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Regarding food, I just had some chips and a drink (totaling $6, of course), but Luke ordered a hot cheese pizza on the flight home. As he put it, “Little Cesar’s is better than this” – and Luke does NOT like Little Cesar’s. That said, it is in-flight food, so there’s only so good it can be. No huge complaints.

Boyfriend Perspective: I actually like Little Caesar’s, the only pizza I ate for many years, but I know Little Caesar’s quality is a pretty low bar to beat and my comment still stands.


So, learnings and recommendations:

  • Not all planes are created equal. If you see on the seat selection that your WOW plane only has two rows of two seats each, UPGRADE TO EXTRA LEGROOM, STAT.
    • If, however, you see that your plane is an airbus (eight seats across), you probably don’t need to worry about the space upgrades.
  • Assume that, unless your carryon looks like something a pharmaceutical salesperson would travel with (i.e. TINY) or not stuffed to the gills, upgrade to either oversized carryon or just check your bag. Deciding to upgrade in advance will save money in the long run.
    • Also, make sure you make these selections for your outgoing AND returning flights. Experience is a bitch.
    • As a note, the thing that killed my ability to bring my carryon AS a carryon wasn’t length or width – it was breadth. Basically, I brought too much 🙂
  • The food is about what you’d expect.


Final recommendation: If you’re getting a baller ticket deal, don’t hesitate to fly WOWAir. Otherwise… eh. 


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16 Replies to “Flying WOWAir with the Restless Homebodies”

  1. Eeek not much leg room. I love the addition of your boyfriend’s perspective! :]

    1. Not much AT ALL. Would definitely have sprung for the extra few bucks if we’d known! Oh well. Learning experience 🙂 And, I might be biased, but I think he’s pretty cool, too 🙂 thank you!

  2. Legroom is the big one for us as Pete is 6 foot 6 inches tall and nearly all the extra height over us non-mutants is in his legs! Luggage, we’re usually pretty good at keeping to a minimum, the only exception is if we’re going on safari and taking more of the big lenses along, but otherwise, we are good. Good to know on the food, shall try and pack some snacks in hand luggage if I book with them!

    1. That poor man – the one place height isn’t an advantage! I’m a solid foot shorter than him and hate to fly sometimes because it gets so cramped. And agree with you that photo equipment often ends up being what pushes packing from “light” to “well, guess I’m paying for a carryon now..” 🙂

  3. Not sure I would want to fly long haul on a budget airline but I suppose it is only five hours. They sound a little like Ryanair though

    1. That’s the thing. If you can deal with the slightly uncomfortably sardine can for a few hours, it’s not too bad. And some of their jets are definitely a bit roomier. But if that happens to be a deal-breaker for you as a traveler, then I 100% don’t blame you hah

  4. Not a big fan of Wow! Probably the second biggest airline to charge for extras after Wizz in Europe. Would love to travel to USA from UK with their extra super low fares with no suitcase 😀 But it aint going to happen with me. 😀 However like the review and good to see how you recommend upgrading to a seat with more leg room 😀

    1. More and more airlines seem to getting on board with the nickel and diming routine. We recently flew Spirit in the US and they didn’t even bother to serve complimentary water. Airlines may not owe us anything, but damn. Also, I feel you on the not being able to fly without a suitcase. I fancy myself a light packer until it comes time to actually pack… hahahaha

  5. This is a very candid review minus the floss. Very helpful for deciding. Budget airlines in getting the edge in the price wars have reduced prices, but then removed all amenities as well and then have separate charges for them. In the end it may actually work out the same or even better to pay more and travel comfortably with the knowledge that everything is taken care of.

  6. That is a real nice, honest, crisp review. Budget airlines in race of reducing the prices, have reduced the amenities too. Enough legroom for tall people is a real must. We both are short heightened so can easily manage with the less one too. The tip to upgrade it with extra leg space is great.

  7. Leg room is very important for me. I just want to be able to stretch my legs the entire duration of the trip or else I will have cramps. Anyway, thank you for this honest, and great review!

  8. travellingslacker says: Reply

    Had never heard of Wow Air. Seems they have been designed to wow people. The color scheme feels somewhat retro, in a good way of course. It has a very cheerful look all over and I like the way they have designed it.

  9. I have flow WOW and it is great if you understand the nickle and dime aspect. I watched to many people get upset when they were charged huge fees that if they had paid attention they could have avoided. Now I did use the sneaky buy duty free and ask for a huge bag trick to avoid checking a bag but I am allowed to bring 1 duty free bag on the plane.

    1. That’s a great idea! Very sneaky, but I like it! And I was definitely a little irked that my usual bag didn’t make the cut, but I also didn’t see the point of pitching a fit like a couple other passengers did – just the price of doing business :\

  10. Haha, really fun to read. Never had the experience of flying with WOW, yet did several European flights with Ryanair, and it’s quite similar (maybe less strict on the luggage part).
    But really good to know all the pitfalls, because they have a lot of nice tickets from Europe to USA, yet, they could be less nice afterwards 🙂

    1. That’s good to know about Ryanair – I’ve seen a few flight deals with them, and always wondered. Yay, info exchange! 🙂

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