WOW Air Review – Baltimore to Reykjavik, Iceland
WOW Air is a budget airline based out of Iceland. Recently, we flew from Baltimore to Reykjavik, Iceland on WOW Air. Our experience in this review, to sum it up, is you get what you pay for in a budget airline. There are advantages of flying on budget airlines but make sure to set your expectations. We break down our WOW Air Review – Baltimore to Reykjavik, Iceland into a few important categories below.
The check in process is smooth. We checked in at the airport desk in Baltimore with ease and no issues. Unfortunately for TSA Precheck members, you won’t be able to use the perk with WOW Air.
Checking into our return flight from Reykjavik was a bit different as WOW airport agents recommended passengers to use the kiosks or phone app to check in.
Protip: Do not choose a seat while booking!
We did not select seats while purchasing the tickets online as the Standard seats were $9.99 each. The trick here is to check in as early as possible and you might be assigned the unsold upgrade seats. WOW Air will charge you extra for seat selections especially if you’re looking for more leg room with their XL or XXL seats. Upon checking we were given a middle and window seat in the XXL seats! These seats would have costed us $50.99 each if we pre-booked online or $59.99 upon check-in. Your chances of getting the XL or XXL seats are better when you don’t select seats upon purchasing tickets. It also doesn’t hurt to be nice to the desk check in agent!
Like all budget airlines, WOW Air will “nickel and dime” you for everything especially with baggage. WOW allows you to bring a small carry on (42x32x25cm) and a personal bag for free. For what they consider a “large carry on” which to us means a regular U.S. carry on sized bag, WOW Air will charge you $40.99 online. For checked bags, WOW Air allows up to 20kg (44lbs.). There is not a restriction on size other than it cannot be anything oversized like ski gear. The price of a checked bag is $50.99 online, one way. If you plan on bringing your bag back from Iceland, be ready to pay an additional $50.99.
Protip: Purchase checked baggage online, not at the airport!
As you can see from the screenshots, WOW Air will charge you more at the check-in desk and gates.
They are very strict on the baggage size. While dropping off our checked bag at the airport desk, we witnessed the desk agents making everyone with a carry on measure their bags with the baggage sizer. If it did not fit, they had to pay – no exceptions.Before risking it, ask yourself with the extra fee is worth it. If not, then go for it!
Our flight to Reykjavik, Iceland from Baltimore was delayed for approximately 5 hours and 19 minutes. We were scheduled for a 6pm departure but received an email and text a few hours before saying that the flight was delayed until 10pm. Upon receiving this info, we reached out to WOW Air Support via Twitter. Below is the response we received:
A “domino effect” huh? This was a first for us for delay reasons. While waiting at the gate, the gate agents made an announcement that they were giving out food vouchers due to the delay. Since we were literally sitting next the gate, we were lucky enough to hear the announcement. Passengers roaming the airport due to boredom from the delay most likely did not get the announcement. The voucher was worth $12, enough for a meal even at airport prices.
Our return flight from Reykjavik to Baltimore was also delayed. Our scheduled departure was 3:30pm. The delay announcements pushed the departure to 4:35pm, then to 4:50pm, back to 4:35pm, and finally a departure at 5:05pm.
Funny enough while looking at the schedule board, almost all of the WOW Air flights were delayed. From talks with other passengers, it seems like their past WOW Air flights have always been delayed. Luckily we thought ahead while doing our trip planning to give us a time cushion for arriving and leaving Iceland.
WOW Air does have a place to file a claim for financial compensation for delayed or cancelled flights on their website. For our flight, we’ve went ahead and filed a claim for our 5h19m delay. Now it is a waiting game to see what the response will be.
We’re not sure why we even have this as a heading since there is no boarding process. Seriously, it’s a free for all with no semblance of order. A common boarding process is passengers allowing those in the back of the plane board first, then the front passengers. This was not what occurred in both Baltimore and Reykjavik. In Baltimore, families were given first priority on boarding. There was no announcement regarding the general boarding process. Passengers all starting queuing up into one line. Since the line became enormously long, we did not even try to get into the queue. Once general boarding started, the gate agents opened up a second line and lucky for us we were able to jump right in. The Reykjavik boarding process was much of the same with passengers taking it upon themselves to queue up into a line.
The process once in the plane is typical of other airlines. WOW Air tags larger carry on bags with a purple tag and smaller bags with a yellow one. The purple tags get priority for the overhead bins while the yellow bags should go under the seat. While people acted sanely on our flights, we heard stories of passengers fighting over overhead bins on other WOW Air flights.
Plane, Cabin, and Seats
We flew both flights on a A321 with a 3-3 seat configuration. The planes in the WOW Air fleet are fairly new. The A321 is a decent sized plane similar to those flown by Southwest Airlines. The cabin is nicely appointed with shades of purple throughout, particularly on the floor.
WOW Air does not have economy plus or business seats. They do break out the seat sections into Standard, XL, and XXL. The seat pitches are 31, 32, 35 respectively. We were lucky enough to get XL and XXL seats for our flights. The XXL seats give plenty leg room, almost like an exit row seat. The XL seat is a little less but still definitely manageable on a 5-6 hour flight. We did not get a chance to try the Standard seat but expect it to be similar to the domestic airlines with 31inch seat pitches.
The seat itself is made of fabric and not vinyl. It isn’t particularly comfortable. After a few hours of sitting, our butts were definitely sore. The cabin during the flight was quite warm, almost overly warm and stuffy. It’s the same warmth similar to Korean Airlines or Cathay Pacific on their long haul flights. Be prepared to remove some layers!
While boarding our return flight, our A321 was making a funny noise from one of the engines. As we’re not pilots or mechanics, we were not sure of the sound was normal. Take a listen for yourself below. The wind was blowing hard in the video but you can still make out the engine sound.
WOW Air does not offer free drinks or snacks and instead charges like other budget airlines. While we did not purchase anything inflight, the food did smell decent. The prices are high if you choose to purchase food inflight. You can find better quality and prices from within the airport so avoid purchasing on the plane.
The flight attendants on both flights were all pleasant. The service was good on all of our flights and we have no complaints. The pilots were also excellent giving thorough explanations for delays and possible alternate routes due to weather. The flights were smooth and that’s all we could ask for.
What is yet to be reviewed is the response for our flight delay claim. Once we receive a response, we’ll update this review further.
Like we said in our introduction, you get what you pay for. WOW Air is a budget airline that provides some excellent fares to Iceland and Europe. If you’re lucky enough to snag a fare sale for $99, WOW Air is an even sweeter airline. While there are some quirks that can be improved upon such as the boarding process and you will most likely run into delays on your flights, planning ahead will help to alleviate most issues. Don’t expect any frills like WiFi or free drinks and peanuts and you should be content. We’ve flown many budget airlines such as EasyJet, Ryanair, and AirAsia. WOW Air is definitely near the top with the value it provides, especially if you’re looking to get to Iceland.
(Cover photo from icelandmag.visir.is)