Over the past 8 months or so I’ve been writing about some amazing deals offered by WOW Air. They are a low cost carrier in Iceland and recently started servicing the US – they offer direct flights from both Boston (BOS) and Baltimore (BWI). With WOW Air you can get a ridiculously inexpensive fare to Iceland, or even use it as a layover destination to visit 14 other European cities (such as Amsterdam, London, Berlin, etc.). If you live in Boston, you’ve probably seen their logo and ads all over the subway and taxi cabs (probably Washington, DC and Baltimore as well, but I’haven’t been in those cities personally to see them myself). You’ll notice them by their purple “WOW” image.
This past Winter and Fall I wrote about the many $99 one-way fare sales. Currently on their website they are offering fares as low as $186 one-way, although I see many dates that are actually as low as $149 one-way. Randomly I checked next May and see you can fly roundtrip for $313. That is an amazing price for an international trip to Iceland!
Last week I took a long weekend trip to Iceland with my brother and sister and was able to personally experience WOW Air from Boston to Reykjavik, Iceland. The flight is about five hours and is actually quicker then flying to California!
Flight from Boston to Iceland
The flight from Boston to Iceland left at 6pm and landed at 4am Iceland time. I personally wish it left Boston later in the day when I was actually ready to sleep, but somehow or another I was able to get a few hours of sleep in. Also, since it wasn’t “night time” the cabin lights were left on a majority of the time and many people were up roaming around the cabin. If you want to try to sleep, I highly suggest headphones and an eye mask. On the flip side, I actually didn’t mind arrive landing in the middle of the night. By 6am I was checked into my hotel, put my head on the pillow, and was able to sleep for an additional 3 hours.
Due to the flight not being full, I was upgraded to an XL seat. Although it was a middle seat and my brother at the back of the plane had two extra seats next to him. I opted to give up my front of the plane extra legroom seat to have an extra seat next to me. This allowed me to curl up in a ball lying down between the two seats and get some sleep. The XL seats have some extra legroom, but quite honestly, the economy seat legroom was just fine for me. My brother and sister who are significantly taller (brother = 5’11” and sister = 5’9”) also agreed that the leg room in the economy class seats was perfectly fine and similar (if not better) then some other domestic and international economy class seats they’ve experienced. Aside from legroom, there is no difference in the seats. I personally wouldn’t pay for an upgraded seat for such a short flight, but that is me.
Flight from Iceland to Boston
The flight from Iceland to Boston leaves at 3:30pm. It was actually a perfect time. It allowed us to go to the Blue Lagoon in the morning on our way to the airport (the Blue Lagoon is only 20 minutes from KEF Airport) and still arrive back in Boston at 5pm. I loved that I was able to experience some of Iceland in the morning and also arrive in Boston at a normal hour.
For this flight, I paid for my seat in advance online. For economy seats, the back of the plane is $5 to select a seat and the middle of the plane is $14. I really do not care where on the plane I sit, but I am a big supporter of window seats. I love curling up in a ball, putting a pillow against the window, and just sleeping. By the time I reserved my seat online, there were no $5 window seats available, so I paid the extra money to confirm a window seat. The extra $9 was well worth it to me as it means sleep vs. no sleep. I also don’t love to be woken up by people next to me needing to use the bathroom. Overall though, if you are picky on a window or aisle seat, I highly suggest paying the $5 when you book your flights to ensure those desired seats do not fill up.
WOW Air runs very differently then most international airlines. Nothing is included. That means no breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, etc. handed out to every passenger. You pay for exactly what you want – even water! I made sure to eat beforehand in the terminal and on the flight ended up purchasing a $2 bottle of water. For such a short flight I really do not find it a big deal. There is little reason you should have to eat on board.
Extra Baggage Fees
Originally I thought my siblings and I were going to be hit with a ton of extra fees. Also unlike other international flights, there are no free checked bags. However, a carry on bag under 5kg is free! That equals about 11 lbs and all three of us were able to meet that requirement. My sister even ended up with a 6lb bag. If you pack efficiently then you really can get away with avoiding this fee. The free bag also does not need to be an under the seat size bag. It can go in the overhead above, just needs to be 11kg and 56cm x 45cm x 25cm in size. They weighed all three of our bags, but did not measure the length/width. You are only allowed one carry on item, so if you are carrying on your luggage that means you cannot have a laptop bag or purse as well. Just keep that in mind. To be honest, we were probably border line with our dimensions, but they didn’t seem to care. To lighten the load, I recommend wearing your jacket and sneakers on the plane.
If you are bringing a heavier bag, make sure to pay for your checked or carry on bag in advance online. It is much cheaper then paying at the ticket counter.
Overall, this was a great flight experience. I typically fly economy class anyways when traveling internationally, so I did not mind that there were no lie flat options. I am not a fancy traveler and I love that this airline allows you to travel to Iceland for a really inexpensive price. While they advertise themselves as a low class carrier, I would not bucket this airline into the same category as some of the US low class carriers. Their planes were much more comfortable and their service was much better. I personally like the a la carte option. This means that you get a lower fare and then you just pay for what you need. While other airlines “give” you a free checked bag, dinner, and a soda, they are ultimately bundling that cost into your fare, thus charging you more for the flight itself. I would absolutely fly WOW Air again and definitely recommend it to other.