Jul172015

WOW Air Review Part 2 Copenhagen to Boston

WOW Air is the Icelandic low cost carrier that started USA flights between Baltimore BWI and Boston BOS and Reykjavik, Iceland KEF in 2015. WOW operates between Reykjavik KEF Airport in Iceland to about 18 different destinations in Europe and the Canary Islands. WOW Air Route Map.

My review of WOW Air outbound BOS-KEF two weeks ago is here. This review will cover more aspects of WOW Air I did not mention in the outbound review from Boston to Copenhagen.

WOW Air is a low-cost carrier for great deals from Boston and Baltimore. It turned out for me that the cost to get from California to Boston made this deal not as attractive as it looked when I purchased tickets to Copenhagen in October 2014 for July travel. The high cost of carry-on and checked bag fees and the limitation to one carry-on bag increased the price of our tickets substantially. I cover the bag fees in depth in this WOW Airlines review.

Loyalty Traveler – WOW Air. My worst low fare deal to Europe ever! (July 3, 2015).

WOW! We nearly missed our flight back to the USA!

Yesterday, we nearly missed our flight back to the USA. We were at Copenhagen Central Train Station at 10:15 am with train tickets in hand for the 20-minute ride to CPH Airport before our 13:05 departure. I was standing at the correct track for the train and trying to snap last minute photos of the train station as the train pulled into the station.

We boarded the train with dozens of other travelers and their luggage. We settled into our seats and the train pulled away from the station. I had one bottle of cold Tuborg from the night before and I opened it for a morning beer before reaching the airport. After paying 15 DKK for the beer, I did not want it to go to waste. And, one of my favorite aspects of travel in Europe is drinking in public is acceptable most places and not a criminal offense like in most of the USA.

Looking out the window as the train pulled into the station some 25 minutes later, I read the name ‘Roskilde’ on the train platform. I knew we were on the wrong train since I had looked up Roskilde on the map the night before to see where the music festival featuring AC/DC in concert was in relation to Copenhagen. We had just traveled 35 km in the wrong direction from Copenhagen going west instead of southeast to the airport.

Kelley blew a head gasket, questioning me about how I was going to get us home from Europe after missing our flight? I assured her we had plenty of time and would not miss our flight. Unfortunately, the train pulled out of Roskilde station before we could get off the train with our luggage. We found ourselves exiting the train at the next stop in a small place called Viby Sjaelland and 50 km from Copenhagen Central Station. Still, it was only 10:50am and our flight departed at 13:05, so I was not panicking yet. Kelley was doing enough of that for the two of us.

I went in to the small station store and asked the counter guy when the next train back to Copenhagen would depart. He said in 11 minutes at 11:04 am.

That was a relief to hear.

Except, he was wrong. I realized there was an electronic train schedule board by the track and the next train was actually at 11:25am. Now, I was panicked.

Kelley suggested getting a taxi. I looked around at this small town in the Danish countryside and there were no taxi cabs to be seen.

Around 11:15 am the electronic train board updated to say the train was delayed until 11:30am.

The train arrived at 11:30am after a frosty 40 minutes wait with Kelley, standing around the train platform outside on a brilliantly gorgeous day of cloudless sunshine over Denmark.

We arrived in Copenhagen Central Station at 11:58am. WOW departure time in 65 minutes. A train was leaving for CPH Airport from the same platform, Spor 6, where we had boarded the wrong train 100 minutes before. We got down the escalator with our bags as the train pulled out of the station.

Back up the escalator and out the front doors of the Copenhagen train station to 50 taxi cabs waiting for fares. I did not tell the taxi driver of our urgent need to reach the airport quickly. Once we cleared the main city streets and hit the highway, our driver hit 120 km in the 80 km speed zone. We were at Copenhagen Airport by 12:20, the same time the train would have arrived.

Fare 286 DKK = $42 USD.

Fortunately, we knew our way around the airport having taken RyanAir to London from Terminal 2 ten days earlier. The crowds in the airport were dense and I led us weaving circuitously through the crowd, pulling my two roller bags, dancing around the myriad of airport carts, dodging small children and hundreds of people casually strolling through the airport corridor in no hurry and randomly stopping in front of me, forcing me to skip aside their stationary bodies and baggage obstacles.

We arrived at the WOW check-in counter and the agent says to me, “You are late. We should already be closed for this flight.”

The time was 12:35, thirty minutes before flight departure.

The counter agent took our passports, weighed our two checked bags ($67 each one way) and my paid carry-on ($37 one-way) and Kelley’s under 11 lb. carry-on (free). Our bags tagged, boarding passes in hand and a short walk to airport security, where an electronic sign read 6 minutes. Time 12:40pm – 25 minutes before flight departure. Gate A17 was the farthest gate in Terminal 2.

We arrived at Gate A17 to find about 50 passengers still boarding the flight. We reached our seats and the plane left the gate at 13:15.

Kelley did not speak to me again until we reached Boston ten hours later.

Thank you WOW Air.

I complained two weeks ago that I did not actually get a low fare to Europe from California for July 2015 travel when all the expenses were added up to get to Boston and pay for WOW Air bag fees. But I can only imagine how expensive it would have been to get back to California if we had missed our Copenhagen departure. We would have probably been looking at $2,000 or more and I would have probably been redeeming all my hotel points for free nights in Copenhagen, while begging for frequent flyer miles on IOUs from any sympathetic readers and friends.

WOW Air Copenhagen to Reykjavik KEF Airport, Iceland

CPH Airport

CPH – Copenhagen Airport, Denmark

This WOW Air flight was loaded with children. I guess that the low fares attract more family travelers, in addition to typical summer family travel on airplanes.

My luck was to have an ADHD Scandinavian boy about nine years old sitting in the middle seat next to me. His hands and arms were everywhere, gripping both arm rests, brushing across my legs, and most annoying of all were the four times I drifted off to sleep to be jolted awake as my seat back suddenly fully reclined when he pressed his finger on the recline button for my seat.

Over Denmark-1   Over Denmark-2

Over Denmark, the land of islands.

The flight path took us over southern Norway.

Over Norway-1   Over Norway-2

WOW Air over southern Norway

WOW, those are some pretty flight attendants

I refrain from making subjective remarks about attractive women on this blog, however, I feel it would be an oversight not to mention that just about all of the WOW Air flight attendants are young and pretty Scandinavian women. Age is difficult to judge, but none of the flight attendants looked over 25 years old to me. There were a couple of male flight attendants too on our four flight segments. Also, good looking.

Don’t fall in love, she’s a beauty
She’s one in a million girls, she’s a beauty
Why would I lie? Why would I lie?

She’s a Beauty – The Tubes

The WOW flight attendants reminded me of The Tubes, a racy San Francisco rock band from the 70s and early 80s. Funny to see how archaic MTV videos looked in 1983 with their biggest hit.

Totally unrelated to Wow Air, here is a link to the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men for the video that first turned me on to their sound in late 2011. I absolutely love this live version of Little Talks. If you like this band and you have never seen the YouTube KEXP videos from the 2011 Iceland Airwaves show, then here is a treat of a performance. Just let YouTube continue playing after Little Talks for several more videos from the band’s concert.

WOW Air inflight magazine mentioned many music festivals this summer around Iceland.

Keflavik KEF Airport Iceland

Over Iceland-1   Over Iceland-2

Over Iceland with a view of an interior island glacier and the landscape around Keflavik Airport.

Iceland Lupin

Lupine around KEF Airport, Iceland. We had a short layover of about one hour at KEF Keflavik.

Iceland craft beer   Keflavik terminal

There is a food court and several shops with some high-end clothing and Icelandic goods.

KEF sign   KEF latitude

“It’s a pity we don’t whistle at one another like birds. Words are misleading.”

Under the Glacier

Halldór Laxness (1902-1998) – Icelandic writer and 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate.

Keflavik Airport, southwest of Reykjavik, is located at close to 64 degrees North latitude. As of 17 July 2015, the Arctic Circle runs 66°33′45.8″ north of the Equator.

WOW Air website has an informative article: Is Iceland in the Arctic or Not?

WOW, that is fucked up – Why did I pay for a seat assignment when WOW changed my seat from a window to the middle seat for the flight to Boston?

WOW Air changed my self-selected and paid seat assignment on two of my four flight segments. My boarding pass I received at Copenhagen showed my seat assignment as a window seat, in the seat in front of Kelley’s. This was the same seat I selected when I purchased my ticket last October. I figured I would be ready to rest my head against the aircraft and sleep for a couple of hours before reaching Boston.

I arrived at the gate in Keflavik and the gate agent tells me my seat assignment was changed and she did not know why. I looked at the change from seat position A to B and knew this was a middle seat in the 3-3 configuration of the Airbus 321.

When I complained, she said write WOW corporate and ask for a refund for my paid seat assignment.

I might have been sympathetic if my seat had been changed to accommodate a family, however, I checked out who was sitting in my original seat and the three people in the row were single travelers unknown to each other.

To me, this is a major problem with WOW Airlines when I planned for and paid for a window seat. To have my seat changed to a middle seat with no advance notice before arriving at the gate makes a $3 refund hardly adequate compensation.

On the WOW Air outbound segments, my seat was changed on the KEF-CPH segment from the seat in front of Kelley’s to ten rows removed from Kelley’s seat, meaning we could not pass food to each other during the flight.

Seat Space is more than average on WOW Air A321

The numbers I see for seat pitch and recline do not show WOW Air as being different from other carriers, but there is far more leg space than I find on domestic US flights in economy class.

WOW seat space-1   WOW seat-2

Kelley has long legs and generally feels cramped in economy class. She commented how much space the WOW Air seats had for her legs. I snapped a photo of a guy across the aisle who looked to be about 6’4’’ or 6’5”. He looked uncomfortable for the transatlantic flight, but even his legs fit in the space without stretching out into the aisle.

Loose Children on the Plane

I have flown hundreds of flights and probably about 1.5 million miles and I saw something I have never seen happen before on the WOW Air flight to Boston. The configuration of the aircraft is 3-3 all economy class seating with one long uninterrupted aisle from the front to the back of the plane. About midway through the flight to Boston, two young girls, perhaps five and eight years old, started running the distance of the plane. Not a fast walk, but full on run. Not once, but around eight times across the length of the plane. The seats vibrated as they ran past, despite their little bodies probably weighing only 40 and 60 pounds.

The young flight attendants made no effort to stop them. One of the flight attendants near the front of the plane smiled and spoke to the older girl. I don’t know what she said, but the two girls continued running a couple more laps after that. Finally, a male passenger held the inflight magazine in his hand out across the aisle to block the younger girl from passing and reprimanded her. The little girl looked scared. Their plane running ceased after that encounter.

I was amazed that the flight attendants had done nothing to stop the girls running. They kept it up long enough that I was imagining a serious inflight running injury from one of the girl’s tripping and hitting her face on a metal armrest. I attribute the flight attendant response from inexperience. As I said earlier in this post, they all looked young.

Arrival in Boston

Our luggage arrived in Boston on our flight. Kudos to WOW Air and the Copenhagen ground crew for quick work.

WOW. That’s it.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. I have never seen so many complaints about children in 2 consecutive posts. It’s one thing to mention it, and another to go on and on. I presume you have forgotten that you used to be a child, and secondly that you have never had children. If you have spent any time in Scandinavia, you know that disciplining children is nearly unheard of. The point of traveling is that things are not like home. The point of this post indicated it was to review WOW-not review children. Thanks, Captain Obvious, for pointing out that more children travel in the summertime, and they do not sit quietly like adults. If the two girls get injured, its not your responsibility. If the nine year old boy pushes your recline button and you can’t handle it, maybe tell him sternly not to the first time it happens. Then you don’t have to write so much about how he kept doing it. When my son was 9, if he would have seen me sleeping, he might have pushed my recline button to help me feel more comfortable. Then I would have left the seat that way while I slept, and it wouldn’t have been a problem.

  2. Wow! What an entertaining story! Sounds miserable, but I hope you can laugh about it eventually. No more morning beers for you, I’m guessing, at least not when you are with Kelly?

  3. Hi, Its really no big deal, per se, to miss your flight, I just wonder if Wow Air would have rebooked you for the next day under the flat tire rule, and then you could have just gotten a hotel near the airport.

    Also its a little refreshing the Wow Air f/as let the girls run around, I mean, we have a safety crazed culture which isn’t necessarily good. Life is inherently dangerous. We’ve all done things as a kid where we should have been dead, but made it. For instance I used to like to play with the boiler in my parents house, and one time my father was drunk and he had me drive the car when I was 10. It seems refreshing that the Wow Air f/as are not as jaded.

    Thanks for your report, I enjoyed it!

  4. Awesome article! Your best one yet. Don’t pay any attention to the wet mop parents who don’t know that children have to behave on a flight. They are in the wrong here.

  5. I think the mention of the number of children and their behavior IS relevant. If someone wants a quiet flight, he/she should avoid flying WOW in the summer.

  6. Glad you made your flight. I, too, would have been perturbed by unruly children as you described.

  7. Ric, I was recently in Copenhagen and feel your pain with how confusing the trains are. We were caught off guard a couple times when trains were inexplicably canceled or the spors changed. The delays are also frustrating since you see the scheduled time, then it keeps climbing as delays pile on.

  8. @M in Boston – I spoke with a woman who missed her WOW flight to Iceland by 30 minutes due to delayed Southwest flight getting to Boston. She told me WOW required her to buy another ticket for the flight the next day to continue with her prepaid itinerary in Iceland.

    @TJ Ruch – The flight from Copenhagen to Iceland seemed like it was nearly all Scandinavians. The flight from Iceland to Boston was nearly all Americans.

    I am a credentialed elementary school teacher. Three women seated around me on the WOW flight were elementary school teachers. The girls’ behavior was not appropriate and unsafe on an airplane. There is a concept called ‘in loco parentis’ we live by as teachers and the same applies to flight attendants. The adult passenger who stopped the children running was the sensible response to the situation.

    Children need to be taught appropriate behavior for situations.

    I’ve cleaned a lot of kids’ blood over the years for injuries sustained from actions they were told to stop doing.

  9. @DaveinDC – I looked at the train schedule today and saw the train to Roskilde departed at 10:16am and train to CPH airport departed at 10:20am. We were at the correct track, but boarded the train too soon. Trains move rapidly through Copenhagen Central Station.

  10. LOL – if I had put my husband in a similar situation, not speaking to me for 10 hours would have been a better outcome for me. He doesn’t have the “travel gene” and probably would have threatened to never go overseas independently again! Anyway, great story, glad to read your reviews of WOW and I agree that children do need to be instructed as to appropriate behavior for the situation.

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