Not so WOW Experience

WOW AIR is a Discount Airline based in Reykjavik, Iceland offering unbelievably cheap flights from North America to Europe.  All flights stop in Reykjavic. The airline even encourages you to plan a Stop Over stay.

Read More About WOW Stopovers

WOW often advertises flights as low as $99.  That’s crazy cheap.   How they make their money is charging for EVERYTHING else.  Checked Luggage, Oversize Carry-on’s , Meals, Seat Selections, Bigger Seats and so on.  These fees are charged by the segment and can really add up fast. 

If you are considering booking with them, just make sure you add up all the additional costs when calculating your actual price or pick a Fare Package that includes the extra features you want.  This is a No Frills Budget Carrier with no seat back entertainment and plenty of opportunities to spend more on extras once you are on the plane.   Bring your credit card as no cash is accepted on board.

Sample Airfare Options from Detroit to Paris October 2018

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For those who like to travel, you know that not every experience is perfect.  Well life isn’t perfect!  When flying you can run into a myriad of issues with any airline.

  • Flight Oversold
  • Weather Delay
  • Delay while waiting for appropriate plane staffing
  • Mechanical Malfunction Delays
  • Lost or Damaged Luggage
  • Late plane causing missed connections
  • And the worst of them all CANCELLATIONS

Keep calm.  Take a Breath.  Collect your thoughts and make a plan to salvage your travel plans as best as you can.  Remember in most cases there is a plane load of people in the same situation you are.  So act fast as alternatives will quickly disappear.

A Not so WOW Experience!

We met Jerry and Teresa on our European Adventure this summer.  They had booked their flight to Europe on American Airlines using mileage and the return trip through WOW.  After adding on luggage fees, Meals and the Bigger Seat option, the one way two leg airfare came to around $1400 total for the 2 of them.  

They had no issues getting to London for the start of our tour, but getting home was another story.  To start things off on their return trip, the plane was 2 hours late arriving in Paris.  After they boarded the plane they sat 20 minutes past the posted departure time when a Delay was announced.  About 20 minutes later, another Delay was announced.  Eventually they did taxi out to the runway, but the plane was brought back for Mechanical issues.  They remained on the plane as the problem was being worked on.  After a while they were given a meal while still waiting on the plane.  Finally after 3-4 hours they were deplaned.  The flight was now being Cancelled due to the Mechanical issues.

From there they retrieved their luggage and went to join the long line with the rest of the approximately 300 people all trying to find a way to get to their destinations.  As they stood in line they got a Text message outlining their 2 options:

  1. Receive Full Credit for your ticket (within 3-5 business days) and book your own way home on another airline
  2. Call the number provided to be scheduled on the next flight

Jerry chose to call the number to reschedule for the next flight.  When he did, he was informed that the next flight would be in 9 Days!  9 Days!  That is unbelievable!

The next option was trying to book another flight back home.  By then what he was finding was that most of the other flights were either sold out or priced at around $4000 for the 2 of them for one way!  Jinkies!

What I haven’t mentioned yet is that Jerry is a Dispatcher for another Airline.  He is familiar with these kinds of situations and was probably more understanding than most people would be.  But he had become ill a few days into our trip and had been struggling through the tour while sick.  They needed to get home so he could get some medical treatment.

At this point Jerry called home to explain the situation to his daughter and ask her to help with finding a flight.  He also remembered that he had 135,000 travel points he could use.  They were able to find 12 seats on American Airlines for 65,000 points each.  He had just enough! Unfortunately there was a $300 fee for using their miles, the tickets were in the Coach Section and they would not be seated together, but they would be getting home!

The plane would be leaving the next day, sot they hopped on a shuttle to a hotel for the night.  The hotel’s restaurant was closed by the time they arrived so they had to order room service for their meal.  Cost for Shuttle/Room Service/Hotel was about $250.

They flew out on the American flight the next day and had no issues getting home from there!  A few days later he got an e-mail regarding the process for filing a travel claim.  Again they were given 2 options:

  1. Receive vouchers in the amount of $750 to fly again with WOW.  
  2. Continue with the claim

Jerry chose to take the $750 in vouchers.  They were transferable and good for 1 year. He was just ready to be done with it and there was no way to tell how long the process would take if he proceeded with the claim or if their settlement offer would be any better.   After over a week and a half back home, he had still not received the credit for the original airfare as promised by WOW.  He called them and was basically informed that it had fallen through the cracks, but he would now get the credit within another 3-5 business days.  This time he did get the credit.

What a crazy misadventure getting home from vacation.  When talking with Jerry about the WOW situation, he still spoke with a real sense of understanding about how they are a young company (their inaugural flight was in 2012) and they don’t have a large enough fleet when something happens to be able to bring in another plane.  Even with his level of empathy for WOW and this situation, he still states:

“I wouldn’t PAY to fly with them again.”

After hearing about Jerry and Teresa’s experience, I did some research on WOWHere are how some credible sites have them rated:

  • AirHelp, a worldwide flight compensation company, WOW AIR is at the bottom of their rankings in 72nd place.  The rating was based on Service Quality, On-time Performance and Claim Processing.
  • TripAdvisor Ranks them at a 3 out of 5 Stars
  • AirlineRatings.Com lists a Customer rating of 2.5 out of 10 Stars
  • Kayak has them Customer rated at 5.6 out of 10 Stars
  • Yelp’s Customer review score is 1.5 out of 5 stars

What I am hearing the most from the articles and reviews I have read is:

  1. Make sure you are prepared for the additional charges discussed earlier in the article.
  2. Don’t have high expectations for comfort, frills or entertainment.
  3. If you end up with flight issues, good luck with Customer Service.

My closing Thoughts…..

Being the Queen of Cheap, I would probably try WOW out once myself if the fair was considerably cheaper than others for the same trip.  I would go in with eyes wide open to the scope of the additional fees and hope for the best when it comes to the travel itself.  I would definitely make sure to have travel insurance for any flights that I book with them.  For now, I am weary of them in the same way that I am with Spirit Airlines and put them very low on my list of preferred carriers.

If you have flown with WOW AIR, please share a comment about your experience.

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