Let me be the first to tell you. I LOVE Wow Air, but because they are an ultra low cost carrier, there are some quirks that the first timer needs to understand. There are many reviews online of people complaining about WOW Air, and that’s usually because they were not aware of the quirks and charges for extras, and they didn’t do their due diligence before buying their ticket. I’m going to break everything down for you here, so you will understand everything you need to know before you book, you’ll know what to look out for, and ultimately get the lowest price possible. I’ve flown on Wow Air on 6 separate occasions and each time was pleasurable in terms of getting to where I needed to go and most importantly, price!
So here goes. I’ve tried to be as comprehensive as possible. I will be updating this page as needed. In the meantime, if there is anything useful you’d like to know that’s not covered here, leave a comment and I’ll respond ASAP.
Where They Fly
WOW Air, classified as an ULCC (Ultra Low Cost Carrier) has recently broken into North America, and has many great flight deals to/from North America, Iceland, and Europe.
In North America, they currently fly to/out of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Louis, Toronto, and Washington.
Booking on WOW Air
Book on the WOW Air website directly. https://www.wowair.com
It’s important to book directly on the WOW Airlines website, and not to use an OTA or Flight Metasearch Site (the big ones are Expedia, Cheaptickets, Kayak, Google Flights, etc), and it’s important to book directly with WOW Airlines.
- I’ve never ever seen a better flight price for a WOW Airlines then what is available on their website.
- WOW Airlines goes through step by step with you throughout the process so you know what you are paying for, and what you are not. Every step of the way it makes it clear what you can upgrade now, and upgrade later, and what the prices are. For example, if you book your WOW Air flight with Orbitz, you will not get the chance to upgrade to pick your seat – that can only be done at the time of purchase when purchasing directly from WOW Air.
As with all flight booking sites, with WOW Air, you will chose your origin, destination, and flight dates.
WOW Air sometimes releases new promo codes via social media, so when DanCanTravel finds great deals with WOW Air promo codes we list them as part of our deal post along with discount pricing information.
WOW Air allows you to book a stop over on their booking site. This means if you are flying between North America and Europe, you can scam a free stop-over at no extra charge in Iceland. This is great for someone who wants to get their feet wet on Icelandic soil, and catch the northern lights, spend a Saturday in Reykjavik experiencing their epic night life scene, or exploring the incredible wonders Iceland has to offer.
When you select your dates and itinerary, WOW Air brings up the available flight dates and ticketing/seating options. It’s very useful to navigate through the dates to see which days offer the cheapest deals. (This is one technique DanCanTravel uses to find great deals for you)
Ticketing Class Explained
There are multiple ticketing levels for each leg of your flight, and each level comes with specific privileges. Click the ‘What is included?’ link for each ticket option to see the details.
Generally, the following rules apply:
WOW Basic: 1 personal item only – less than standard carry-on size, suitable for a small backpack.
WOW Plus: Personal item, carry-on bag, and a checked Bag.
WOW Comfy: Everything in WOW Plus, a seat with extra legroom, and cancellation protection.
WOW Biz: Everything that ol’ comfy gets + priority boarding and an in-flight-meal.
Once you have selected your itinerary, you are taken to a screen where you can buy all of your extras. Now, the prices do fluctuate slightly, but the actual prices will be on the WOW Air site at the time of booking. You will pay per each flight leg, and you can purchase extras on all legs or specific legs only.
Special Equipment like a golf bag or surf board $72CAD to $130CAD per flight -. If you are planning a surf or golf trip, you may need to do this, otherwise ignore it.
This is the most important option to consider. $50 to $54 per leg to add a carry-on bag. This is expensive, and if you are planning to travel just to Iceland, you are looking at an extra $100CAD on the total cost of your journey. If you are travelling to Europe, then you are looking at an extra $200CAD. That’s expensive!
If you have a WOW Plus ticket or higher, then you already have one carry-on included as well as a personal item.
However, if you are getting the discounted WOW Basic ticket, then you are limited only to a small personal item like a small backpack.
The small personal item carry-on needs to fit the following dimensions –> Maximum 42x32x25cm | 17x13x10in. This is smaller than a standard carry-on suitcase, but good for a small suitcase or backpack.
The upgrade to one standard carry-on bag gives you the option to bring a standard carry-on item along with your personal item. Max weight of the standard carry-on is 10kg with max dimensions of 56x45x25cm | 22x18x10in including all wheels and handles.
Pack Light: When flying WOW Air, you need to pack light to get the most dollar value out of your ticket. I’d recommend using a backpack as they are generally softer and can usually squish down in size if they are ever questioned by a gate agent about the size of the backpack. On a short trip, I’ve been able to bring a small backpack with 4-5 days of clothes pretty easily without needing to upgrade to a standard carry-on.
The Others: You can go ahead and purchase cancellation protection (see the section below about cancellation), an airport transfer, or priority boarding, but personally, it’s probably not worth it. For cancellation protection, I’d recommend using a credit card which gives you that option automatically.
After selecting options, you can now choose your seats, and can upgrade from Standard to Standard+, XL, or XXL. I’ve sat in most of these seats on my various WOW Air flights, and the XL and XXL are pretty comfortable with the extra leg room, however, I am generally adverse to paying extra unless I really need to be comfortable because I’m arriving for a first thing in the morning meeting upon arrival (which to be honest, never happens). However, on a flight to Reykjavik, I did luck out and buy the XL seat, and got lucky. Most people didn’t upgrade, so I ended up not only with an XL seat, but a row of three seats to myself to take a nap while the ‘standard’ seat folks were packed like sardines in the back.
Tip: It’s only about $9CAD to choose your ‘standard seat’ for each leg, and it may be worth it just to get a window seat or isle seat. The middle seat is always terrible, so depending on your comfort tolerance it may be worth the upgrade. If you let the airline chose your seat for you, there is a solid chance you’ll get a middle seat for at least part of your journey.
Prices vary for seating, but you’ll pay roughly $50CAD per leg for the XXL and $38CAD per leg for the XL.
Important: You cannot select your seat during check in, so you have the option to upgrade to do this when buying the ticket, or later online through the WOW Air web site. It’s a good reason to use the WOW Air website for booking. You can’t do this at check in, nor at the counter unless you beg and plead with WOW Air, but of which there are no guarantees.
Tip: If you chose to upgrade to select your seat, I’d recommend a window seat if you want to have a chance to see the northern lights at night if flying into Iceland during night. Otherwise, a window seat leaving Iceland to North America on the right side of the plane gets you a great view as you pass over Greenland (pic below).
Important: If you are booking for 2 or more people, and it’s important you sit together, then you might want to upgrade to select your seat. Otherwise, it’s quite probably, otherwise, that the seats you buy will not be seated together.
WOW Air will give you the option to buy tours or rent a car prior to booking. I generally skip all this, as I’ve never seen something strike me as being a great deal, but I’m sure there are good deals from time to time. Do the comparison and see if it’s worth it, but I generally never bother and end up booking online on other sites, or once I am on the ground at my destination.
Check In Online
Always check-in online, regardless of if it’s WOW Air or any other airline. Although most do, some airlines are jerks and don’t let you check-in online, but with WOW Air, it’s easy and do-able. Check in within 24 hours of your departure and either print your boarding pass at home or, my favourite, add it to your Apple/Google wallet on your iPhone or Android.
Checking in at the ticket counter at the airport is a newbie mistake. It takes longer, there are big lines, and once you are there you are at the mercy of the airline agent, who will do everything in his or her power to charge you more. This means taking the time to weigh your baggage, and forcing you to check it in if necessary (at high fees) to measuring the size of your carry-on to ensure you purchased the adequate carry-on upgrade if required. If they discover any discrepancies, you are on the hook to pay the outrageous at the airport upgrade prices. This catches some people by surprise and afterwards they go on about how they will never fly Wow Air again. However, once you re prepared, you essentially can beat the system and keep your discounted prices!
While you won’t have the option to upgrade or select your seat at check-in time, the other upgrade options as indicated above, will be available, but at much higher prices.
Important: Save the hassle. Check in online. Always. You don’t want surprises at the airport!
Do I really need to pay extra for my carry-on baggage? Can’t I just slip through? How would they know?
That’s a good question. If you pack light, you don’t need to pay for any upgrade. There are two tiers of carry-on ticketing; ones who have paid for a carry-on (incl. a personal item) and ones who have paid for a personal item only, you may be wondering how the gate agent know who’s who. You’ll see people walking on the plane with small backpacks, large ones, and standard carry-ons. Some of them paid the upgrade, and some didn’t. The gate agents will know by looking at your ticket. The ticket, regardless of if it’s an e-ticket or paper ticket will display “Carry-On” if you are allowed the standard carry-on in addition to the personal item. See below.
That being said, of the 6 or so Wow Air flights I’ve been on, I’ve only seen agents at the gate check someones bag a few times to make sure it fits as per their ticket and as per carry-on requirements. That’s at the gate. At the check-in counter, you can bet they will check every-time which is why I repeatedly say, you should always avoid the check in counter at all costs. Always… Always….
If you are not obviously flaunting an over-sized bag, two large bags, or acting suspicious otherwise, it’s quite probable you could go through unnoticed with a standard carry-on sized bag even though you didn’t buy the carry-on upgrade. If they catch you at the gate, fees are going to be steep – upwards of $60CAD per leg for that extra carry-on bag, or more if it’s beyond carry-on size and you are forced to check in at the gate (unlikely, but I’ve seen it with other airlines).
Although it’s likely do-able, I don’t condone this behaviour and do it at your own risk. I’ve paid extra for the carry-on, and other times not. I’ve used a small backpack that was technically bigger than the allowed personal item size, but it was a soft backpack that could squish inside the metal bag size checking apparatuses they have at the counter. They never bothered to check.
The maximum size for the personal item is 42x32x25cm | 17x13x10in. For the standard carry-on item, the max weight is 10kg, and any legal carry-on sized suit case or backpack (56x45x25cm | 22x18x10in) will be fine.
The lines move fast, walk through the line, look confident, and remember the gate agents generally want the line to go smoothly to get the flight off the ground. They don’t check everyone’s carry-on.
Connections at the Airport in Iceland from Schengen and Non-Schengen Areas
When connecting to/from North America and Europe through Iceland, you will make that connection at the Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in Keflavik.
Important: If you are connecting to a Schengen Area country (ex: Belgium, France, Germany, etc) from Canada or the United States, you will land at KEF and proceed immediately through customs. This is the same as those who are entering Iceland from North America or from a non-Schengen country with the plan to stay in Iceland. It’s important to note that you will do your customs check in Iceland rather than in Europe for Schengen Area destinations. Once you arrive at your European destination you will just get off the plane and get on with it. No customs or passport control.
If you are connecting to a non-Schengen Area country (ex: The UK, or Israel) from Canada or the United States, you will stay in your arrival terminal, and you will not proceed through customs. This is because you are not staying in Iceland or going to the Schengen area. You will go through customs and passport control when you reach your final destination in the UK or Israel (such as Dublin, London, or Tel-Aviv).
If you are connecting to North America from a Schengen Area country (ex: Belgium, France, Germany, etc) you will go through passport control and customs in Iceland in order to get your exit stamp, and you will then go through passport control and customs again once you hit your final destination in the USA or Canada.
If you are connecting to North America from a non-Schengen Area country (ex: The UK, or Israel) you will not go through passport control and customs in Iceland in order to get your exit stamp, but you go through passport control and customs again once you hit your final destination in the USA or Canada. Once you arrive in the terminal in Iceland, stay there. Don’t leave looking for passport control because you will leave and have to come back.
Important: Watch the monitors to find out your connection information. When in doubt, find the Wow Air Customer Service terminal after leaving the plane (this is always found in the terminal you arrive in) and ask for help.
Iceland is considered a non-EU state that is part of Schengen area and applies common Schengen area customs and border control.
Icelandic Goods at the Airport
There is a huge marketplace at the airport, after you go through customs, where you can stock up on goods or coffee before your connecting flights. You will generally be connecting in the early morning from North America or the afternoon from Europe.
Be prepared for sticker shock in Iceland, even at the airport. Iceland itself is expensive, and the airport is more expensive.
There are several coffee shops where you can buy expensive specialty coffees and deserts, but if you want to try some very specific Icelandic delicacies, I recommend the following which are all available at the airport.
Kleinur – Icelandic doughnut. This plain twisted Icelandic doughnut is generally served plain and was one of my favourite snacks in Iceland. Now, on the mainland they are excellent. I was not happy with the quality at the airport, but maybe you will have better luck then me. If you see some fresh ones, go for it.
Skyr – Traditional Icelandic Yogurt which is similar yet smoother and milder than traditional greek yogurt. Multiple brands and flavours are available at the airport, or even in-flight with Wow Air. It’s important to note that this is actually a cheese rather than a yogurt, but you wouldn’t know that by tasting it.
Hardfiskur – Icelandic dried fish. This is pieces of fish that have been dried out to be suitable used as a crunch snack. It’s delicious and multiple types of fish are available, including, cod, haddock, and wolffish.
The check-out lines move quick. I unofficially state that the Credit Card / Debit machines used in Iceland are the fastest in the world! You will notice this at the airport too.
WOW Airlines accepts Visa or Mastercard as payment only. I do have a beef with Wow Airlines that they do not accept American Express. My amex gives me a lot of travel benefits which unfortunately will never apply to a Wow Airlines flight until they decide to start accepting Amex as payment.
Rewards Programs and Partners
WOW Air has no reward program, no place to enter a frequent flyer number, and there are no airline reward programs that work with WOW Airlines for award flights.
It has no partner airlines, no partner airline alliances, they don’t do codesharing, or inter-ticketing, and therefore you can’t book a single ticket which has a WOW Air flight connection with a flight from another airline. Many of their competitors who fly to Iceland will code share, so depending where you live, these airlines are options.
Icelandic Air is also an Icelandic airline with flights to/from Iceland to other parts of the world including North America and Europe. It’s good to check competitor airlines for deals – sometimes you get lucky, but Icelandic Air prices are generally much more expensive, and often more than double the price of a WOW Air flight, however they are a regular airline with a standard level of airline service. That being said, I have seen very expensive prices on WOW Air during busy periods, and I’ve also seen Icelandic Air beat WOW Air on pricing from time to time. Icelandic Air sometimes do have sales and good value, so DanCanTravel makes sure to scout those ticket prices often as well.
From Europe, Wizz, EasyJet, and Transavia are also ULCC’s which can compete with WOW Air on price.
Other airlines that fly to Iceland from North America, include: Air Canada, Delta, American Airlines, and United Airlines.
Other airlines that fly to Iceland from Europe, include: Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Iberia Express, Lufthansa, and Transavia.
Important: Any flight purchased, regardless of class or ticket, can be cancelled free of charge within 24 hours of purchase if the ticket departs or arrives in the United States. This is as per “U.S. Department of Transportation Customer Service Plan” regulations (14 CFR Part 259.5).
Flights departing to/from Canada, Europe, are not eligible to the same level of 24 hour cancellation protection, although if you absolutely need to cancel, call their customer service anyway and give it a go.
All other cancellations are available though the purchase of cancellation insurance as per above. This insurance generally only protects you in cases of sudden illness, death of an immediate family member, or significant damage to your home or business along with a police report. They will not cover cancellations of any auxiliary items you have purchased from them including rental cars and tours.
Important: This is why I recommend a credit card which will give you this same level of protection for free. Providing this cancellation insurance is a gouge by airlines and travel agencies; restrictions are so tight, and there are very few eligible claims.
Name changes can be changed 72 hours prior to departure by calling their customer service number.
Flight date and time changes, connection changes, and destination changes can be made 24 hours a day via their customer service centre by telephone, or online (except for destination changes).
Changes cannot be made once you have checked-in for the flight or beyond 4 hours from the departure time.
Important: You will pay a fixed fee for any changes, as well as any increases in flight tickets based on your new itinerary. You will not get a discount or refund when changing to a cheaper ticker.
From personal, experience this works well. I even called Wow Air the day of a return flight from Iceland to Toronto asking to change my flight to leave the next day. It cost me $100CAD total, but it was worth it for another day in Iceland – I love Iceland!
They have a fee schedule that will vary depending on flight and date, and you will be presented with a link for the fee schedule during the booking process – also available on the WOW Air website.
24 hour customer service
Canada and United States: (+1) 888 209 3170
Denmark: (+45) 78 76 90 30
France: (+33) (0) 1 76 54 12 70
Germany: (+49) (0) 30 25 559 230
Iceland/International: (+354) 590 3000
Poland: (+48) 22 250 3038
Sweden: (+46) (0) 850 927 930
United Kingdom: (+44) (0) 164 245 0450
Netherlands: (+31) (0) 202 623 660
Spain: (+34) 911 868 841
Ireland: (+353) (0) 1 437 8550
Israel: (+972) (0) 33752018
Belgium: (+32) (0) 2899-0807
Flying over Greenland:
Marketplace at the Airport in Iceland (Keflavik):
Landing at Keflavik in Winter: