Thursday, December 7, 2017

WOW Air: An Honest Review

There are a LOT of mixed reviews about the airline, WOW Air, since they started their low cost flights from the USA to Iceland and Europe (mostly negative). At first glance, their prices are insanely cheap compared to other carriers... but really, because it's a very 'bare bones' type of airline, you end up having to pay for everything from carry on luggage, to even freakin' water in the flight.

Whenever I fly to Europe from my home base, Los Angeles, my go-to airline has always been Norwegian Air. They're cheap, comfortable, the planes are beautiful, and I've had only good experiences flying with them.

This time, though - for research and blogging purposes, I decided to book my flight with WOW to see what all the fuss is all about. Is it really as bad as people make it out to be, or is it just a 'you get what you pay for' kind of deal?


I booked a one way ticket to London from Los Angeles this November. Now - because I was booking my flight a little later than I usually do, the prices of all the airlines were significantly higher than they were a couple months prior. The cheapest rate in USD for a one way flight that I saw was $229. It was about $100 cheaper than Norwegian Air at the time... but Norwegian has a direct flight, WOW has a brief layover in Iceland. (If I had booked earlier, the prices would have been as low as $180)

Eh. I was committed. I was gonna fly with WOW even if I preferred flying direct with Norwegian. I really want to see and experience it for myself.

Once you go through the booking process online, that's when you start seeing all the costs that pile up on top of the base fare.

The flight ticket allows you to bring a very small personal item at 17x13x10 inches. If you are to bring anything bigger than that, you will be required to pay for a carry on item for $39.99 at 22x18x10.

See that backpack that I'm carrying? You can carry something like that for free. That's basically the biggest it can get if you don't want to pay for carry on luggage. 

As you can see from the photos above, my backpack barely made it. If you want to carry something bigger, you'll have to pay extra.

FYI - this cost is for the LA to London flight, and the cost AT BOOKING. Other flights to different locations may differ, and the prices hike up significantly if you pay for your luggage upon check in.

I had one check in luggage - which was my trusty backpack. Check in luggage cost $59.99 at 44lbs/20kg.

Seat assignments cost money too. If you want to choose your seat - you have to pay $10.99 for a standard seat in the back, and $11.99 for a standard seat in the front. It's free if you want them to select your seat at random - but will be a little difficult if you are traveling with someone because you will definitely be separated.

If you add all that up (and if you select a standard seat in the back), that's an additional $110.97 on top of the flight ticket. And remember - there is no food included here.

Since I was traveling with someone, I decided to purchase the WOW PLUS option, which gives you everything I have just outlined above as a package.

My total cost for the one way flight from LA to London was $319.05. 
Would have paid around $20 more if I didn't do the WOW PLUS Package.


We were going to be on a 9 hour straight flight to Iceland, with a 2 hour layover, and then a 3 hour flight to London... at an airline that didn't give you any water, food, or entertainment. Like I said, bare bones. (Well, they DO give you food and drinks... in exchange for money. Lots of money. Me no likey.)

And because I am who I am, and I saw this as a challenge - I went through great lengths to make sure we were well equipped for this trip!


We had spinach pie with a side of sour cream, hummus and crackers, a huge bag of trail mix, a ziplock bag of chocolates and sweets, a bag of mixed dried berries, and two full containers of water (we filled it up after security check). We also made sure we ate a lot before we flew, bought some extra sandwiches at the airport as well.

They also do not provide pillows and blankets! And so I brought my own blankie!

This is actually a scarf - I call it my blanket poncho scarf. It's multipurpose. I LOVE it.

They do not provide entertainment on board - no mini TV's on your seat, not even big ones for people to watch collectively...
And so I thought - what could I do to occupy myself for a 9 hour journey?
Easy! I learned how to knit!

About a week before we flew - I took to Youtube tutorials on "how to knit a scarf for beginners", bought some yarn and needles - and voila! I am Martha Stewart in the making! (I'm really not. I'm shit at this... but it's so much fun! I have found a new hobby!)

I also downloaded "How to Get Away With Murder" on my iPad (a show I haven't seen, but came highly recommended), just in case the knitting got too boring.


I thought the plane ride was super smooth. The seats actually felt like they were more spacious than what I've been used to on other airlines! I had a lot of leg room- almost like I was on the exit row!

As you can see... my legs are pretty stretched out (pardon my sandwiches!)

The crew were great! They were super friendly, and I have to say - good looking! (No, sorry I don't have any photos. I was already THAT girl, with a freaking picnic basket of food, knitting needles and a weird poncho. I didn't want to be labeled 'the stalker' either.)

The reviews I've read prior were right. They do not serve anything for free... Not even water, coffee or tea. But they are available if you want to buy them. I took the liberty of taking a photo of their beverage menu here to see for yourself...

How about that Icelandic Water for $3.29? :)

Anyway... the knitting was a success, we got through our episodes pretty well... And before we knew it - we were making our descent to Iceland! (They say it's a 9 hour flight, but it's actually more like 7).

The layover in Iceland was short and sweet, and I thoroughly enjoyed the airport bathroom with individual cubicles that felt bigger than my old cabin on the Cruise Ship! And check out this sink!

Little things make me happy.



The short layover was a nice break from the long uneventful flight... and before we knew it, we were on our way to London.

I have to say that the experience with Wow Air was very pleasant -- Mostly because we were prepared for it. The key is to manage your expectations.

I know I can't say the same for a few people ahead of us at the check in counter... They didn't know that there were size restrictions to the carry on luggage, and were outraged when they were informed they had to pay extra.

I also heard a few complaints on the plane from people who didn't realize they had to pay for water or snacks. I know I probably would have reacted the same hadn't I known or done my research beforehand.

The thing is, most of the time, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. For Wow Airlines, you DO get what you pay for... Or rather - you DON'T get what you don't pay for. In this case, the airline literally just flies you from your location to your destination. That's it. And considering the cost of the competition, it's not that bad.

You really just have to know what you're getting into... If you prepare like I did, by bringing your own food, water, and entertainment (or arts and crafts), and if you abide by their guidelines, you'll be fine.

But if you can't be bothered to do any of that - then this airline is probably not for you.

Would I fly with WOW again? If the price is right - most definitely! :)

Did this review help? Have you flown with, or planning to fly with Wow Airlines? What was your experience? Leave your comments below! I would love to hear from you!