Review: WowAir – Cheap but not actually cheap

So there I was, sitting in my office chair pretending to work, when I decided that myself and my girlfriend needed a holiday. Since it was coming up to Christmas, I opted to trying something different. A bit of snow seemed more appetizing than a sun holiday outside of season.  The destination was Reykjavik, Iceland and the airline – WowAir. Thinking I scored some sort of bargain, the dates were decided. Was it worth it? What could possibly go wrong?

Credit: Airways Magazine

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WowAir advertise a low cost way to travel to various different destinations in Europe, as well as travelling to the USA if you use Keflavik as a layover. Think of them as Iceland’s version of Ryanair only a lot more purple – kind of like a “Barney the Dinosaur” plane. Booking through their website was very easy compared to most other airlines. The catch is that the costs of the flight starts off cheap, but gets dearer and dearer such as carry-on bags and seat reservations (even though I didn’t actually reserve a seat).

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A breakdown of the cost shows there is a service charge for Keflavik airport. Charging us €15.53 each to use the airport because it’s cold outside. If you check in online or through your device and want to have a bit more extra weight, it’s a €17 extra charge each, depending on where you’re travelling from. Warning: In Dublin we noticed a woman had to pay an extra €70+ charge just because her bag was slightly (I mean slightly) over-weight!

Back to the story, after getting up at 1:30am to make our flight, we arrived and checked in through Keflavik airport. The airport itself is amazingly clean and efficiently run. Multiple shops are very accessible (even at that time of the morning) and security screening was a doddle to walk through.

Upon the TV screen came our flight telling us what gate to go to and off we went. The magical screen told us that our flight was boarding at 6:15am, however every passenger was left standing in a line for another 25 minutes while the WowAir crew chatted at the door leading to the plane, about 20 metres away. If we were going to be delayed then what was the issue? Customer service eh?

Now for the serious part which I did not like one bit. Every passenger’s boarding pass was checked, and if you did not pay the extra weight charge when checking in, your bag was visually weighed by the WowAir attendant’s eyes. It was then decided if you had to pay the charge or not. The attitude coming from the WowAir crew was “pay us the fine, or have an argument with us”.

Credit: goIceland.is

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Keflavik Airport is pretty inside and out!

The flight itself with WowAir was actually very nice. Seats are laid out with 3 of the left and 3 on the right with a single middle aisle. Seat 18A was my home for the next 2 and a half hours with the usual “it will do” legroom. The flight attendants were very professional looking at that time of the morning – unlike the rest of us! Being very punctual, passenger needs were met efficiently. Lights were dimmed to allow passengers to sleep during the flight. Unfortunately I find it hard to sleep on any sort of transport, but for the rest of the passengers they slept like a bunch of newborn babies.

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Saying goodbye to Iceland!

The usual short-haul flight catering cart trundled through the aisle about 45 minutes before we landed. Breakfast was €7 to purchase as well as other goodies including alcohol. But at this stage, after a lack of sleep, myself and Amelia just wanted our beds. The lights were turned back on and all the tired eyes of the passengers gazed upon Dublin coming into view.

Would I fly with WowAir again? Yes I would as the flight itself was genuinely lovely. Am I happy to pay various different charges that just keep adding up? Nope. Considering the different charges, such as seat reservation that I actually didn’t reserve, it doesn’t make sense to me. Am I happy with their service in the air? Yes I am. Am I happy with their service on the ground? Not a hope.

Thank you for reading! Any criticism is is appreciated. 🙂

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