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 WOWAir.com 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.
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.
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.
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.