WOW Air Review
Before getting into the details here are my top five recommendations for Wow Air flights:
1. Actually read the carry-on and checked luggage guidelines or expect to pay more at the counter (see below for my explanation of this).
2. Wow Air does not provide free anything. This includes water, so if you want it be prepared to pay for it.
3. If there are delays or cancellations, it will take longer than usual to get that worked out vs. a non-budget airline.
4. Budget airline does not have safety implications- there is no need to feel less safe on a budget airline!
5. Just like any other flight expect a variety of fellow passengers from crying babies to CEOs. You never know who could be sitting next to you!
Wow Air is a budget airline based out of Iceland and is essentially putting Iceland on the map (I'm sure there are a lot of other factors at play as well). Iceland's location somewhat between the US and Europe makes it ideal for connecting flights between the two continents, so Iceland has a lot of very short layovers. In fact, if you're on a Wow Air flight waiting to leave Reykjavik, you're most likely waiting for passengers on connecting flights.
I spent a lot of time researching Wow Air and it was interesting to read the negative feedback. Most complainers seem to have lost sight of the fact that it is a BUDGET airline. When you choose to buy a budget airline ticket, you are buying a flight from point A to point B and nothing else. It should be thought of more like buying a bus ticket- you do not expect food and water to be served to you here. You will pay more for bags, food, water, etc. Knowing and accepting that ahead of time, we overall had an excellent experience.
I went into the experience with very low expectations and was pleasantly surprised every step of the way. When I went to check in at O'Hare, the counter only opened two hours prior to departure and there were only two desk attendants working for Wow Air at ORD. The line moved slow, but it did move and they seemed to be courteous to everyone that came to the counter.
Packing with Wow Air's baggage allowance in mind was definitely a stress-point for me. I was reading a series of reviews at one point and a lot of writers said it's quite black and white- if you are not following the rules you can expect to pay the price. My sister's carry-on was slightly over the specifications for the Wow Air carry-on allowance and I advised her to just pack in a different bag unless she wants to risk paying more for it. For my personal item I packed in my North Face Surge backpack that was definitely over the specifications, so I packed another smaller backpack in my checked bag in case I needed to make a last minute switch to avoid being charged. I was also under weight by just a little in all three of my bags, so I knew that I could shift items around easily if that became an issue.
The desk attendants weighed both my checked bag and carry-on. They did not use the measuring device for any of my bags, but I did see them using it for individuals whose bags appeared oversized. As with all airlines, I'm sure this can really depend on simply who the person is at the desk. It's best to always be particularly mindful of baggage allowances when traveling on budget airlines.
The flight was on time and the boarding process was very smooth. I bought the priority boarding just because it was $10 each way and I like to make sure my bag is directly above me. I also travel every week for work, and I don't like dealing with the massive group of people in the general boarding (yes, picky I know).
On the flight itself, the Wow Air flight attendants were perfectly pleasant, but they are not overly helpful. They will take trash or allow you to purchase items when they bring the cart down the aisle, but they do not wait on you like they do at other airlines.
Flying out of Reykjavik, Wow Air was a breeze. Since Iceland is a hub for Wow Air, they have a lot of employees working that are all very helpful. The lines move quickly and the Reykjavik airport is one of the nicest airports I have ever been in, very high tech!