Thursday, June 1, 2017

WOW Air offers $55 fares from U.S. to Europe

In celebration of its fifth anniversary, Iceland's ultra-low fare airline WOW air began offering $55 one-way fares to eleven European cities from three of its American gateway airports this morning. That’s a great deal if you can get them, and if you’re willing to look beyond the headline.

"We want to celebrate our anniversary and share our great success by offering the best prices ever seen," Sk├║li Mogensen, founder and CEO of WOW air, effused, noting that the promotion is yet another step in WOW air's promise to offer the cheapest flights to and from Iceland and across the Atlantic. In January, the airline became the first to offer transatlantic flights for as low as $69.

For a limited time, $55 tickets will be available from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Amsterdam (AMS), Copenhagen (CPH), Dublin (DUB), London (LGW) and Berlin (SXF).

From Miami, $55 tickets will be available to Bristol (BRS), Brussels (BRU), Dublin (DUB), Edinburgh (EDI), Dusseldorf (DUS), Copenhagen (CPH), Frankfurt (FRA) and Cork (ORK).

Fares will be offered for flights between June 11 and June 28.

The airline was clear that the offer applied to “200 seats on selected flights” from SFO, 150 seats from LAX and 100 seats from Miami. WOW was equally clear that the fare was available “only when booked on a return [round-trip] ticket.”

And there it is.

WOW engaged in a bit of wordsmithing to make this seem like an even bigger bargain. The bargain fares are available from the gateway airports and are only available when booked as a round-trip. They are not available for the return legs.

"We have very low fares for the returning flights as well but not as low as $55," Svana Fridriksd├│ttir, WOW's VP Communications confirmed in an email to TheTravelPro.

And there are other factors to be considered, including the confines of the aircraft.

While WOW air notes its California routes are served by three new Airbus A330 aircraft, SeatGuru.com shows that WOW's A330s have 319 economy class seats that are all 17 inches wide with 31 inches of pitch – the same size as the seats on a Southwest (NYSE:LUV) Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737. And you’ll be sitting in those seats for about eight and a half hours from the West Coast to Reykjavik (KEF).

There are 23 seats aboard each aircraft with 34 inches of pitch, but those aren’t offered at the bargain rate.

Actually scoring those fares could be another matter.

When I checked the website four hours after the fares went on sale, the bargain fares were available on three days of the sale’s 17-day run for flights from SFO to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London and Berlin, and on four days for flights to Dublin. About 45 minutes later, it appeared that WOW’s website had been overwhelmed, as it returned a message that it was down for “System Maintenance.”

If you’re inclined to grab at a bargain, decided if the downsides are worth it. If so, act quickly! And good luck.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photo provided by WOW Air; screen captures by Carl Dombek
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