Aug242016

WOW Air now allows free 22 lb. carry-on bag, but can you pack that small?

Big change in WOW Air baggage policies doubles the weight limit of your one free carry-on bag from 11 lb. to 22 lb. and you can also have another smaller personal item bag. The caveat is you have to pack small since a normal size 18 to 20-inch small roller bag is still too large to qualify as a small free carry-on bag.

The free carry-on bag size dimensions are 42 cm x 32 cm x 25 cm. In U.S. measure that means 16.5″ x 12.6″ x 9.84 “. The weight limit is 22 lb. for your free bag.

You can also bring a personal bag at 16.5” x 8” x 8” on board with your larger carry-on. And if you want to be tricky, you can bring a Duty-Free bag on board for free too. IndecisiveTraveler mentioned buying a Toblerone bar, asking for a large duty-free bag and filling it with more stuff to carry-on plane.

This is a big game-changer in my opinion, since now it is possible to reasonably get free bags on a transatlantic cheap ticket.

WOW bag fees are high from East Coast USA and higher from West Coast

Carry-On Bag

22 in. x 17.7 in. x 9.85 in. / 56x45x25cm, up to 26 lb/12 kg.

  • $48.99 one-way Boston/New York/Washington
  • $57.99 one way Los Angeles/San Francisco

Checked Bag up to 44 lb/20kg.

  • $67.99 one-way Boston/Washington/Florida
  • $76.99 one way Los Angeles/San Francisco

How Small is the Free Bag?

Assume WOW is generous and allows you to bring a 17-in x 13-in x 10-in bag. This is the typical size of a large laptop bag or a small backpack. WOW Airlines also allows you to bring one smaller carry-on bag for free 42 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm (16.5” x 8” x 8”) which opens up the option of packing camera or laptop in a smaller carry-on bag and stuffing clothes in larger pack/bag.

WOW Air – How much carry-on luggage can I take with me?

WOW Air – Optional Fees and Charges (Bag fees)

WOW free bag is about the size of my small Eddie Bauer backpack, which I traveled around Europe for two weeks with last month. With my computer, camera and change of clothes (extra clothes came in handy when I took a $400 United voucher, free hotel and meals and stayed overnight in London last month on my way home to San Francisco), that bag is filled in my photo and weighs 16.5 lb.

WOW free bag

My normal bags for two weeks in Europe are a 22-inch roller bag and small 16.5 inch backpack. The 18-inch ruler measures the roller-bag from its wheels in the way WOW bag regulations state. The top of my i-phone is 16.5 inches from the bottom of the wheels.

My Eddie Bauer backpack is 16.5 lb. with my computer, camera, extra stuff and clothes and the proper dimensions for a free WOW carry-on bag.

Are these bag fee changes a big deal?

The changes to WOW Air bag fees are a significant discount on WOW ticket prices to Europe.

I paid for both one carry-on and one checked bag the last time I flew WOW to Europe when there was only one carry-on bag allowed and the free bag weight limit was 5 kg/11 lb. Even if you paid for a 26 lb. carry-on bag, you were still only allowed one bag. Those additional fees for both a carry-on and a checked bag wiped out the bargain ticket price since the bag fees were over $200 on my ticket to Copenhagen.

WOW carry-on bag fee from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Europe are $58 for a normal size carry-on bag (22 in. x 17.7 in. x 9.85 in.). up to 26 lb. Technically, my TravelPro roller bag shown in photo above is 23 in. x 16 in. x 9 in. when measured from wheels to top handle and too large for a valid WOW paid carry-on bag.

WOW Airlines Carry-On Bag Fees

One item of carry-on luggage (max 42x32x25cm including handles and wheels; 10 kg/22lbs) is included in the standard ticket price. You can purchase allowance for a large carry-on bag (max 56x45x25cm including handles and wheels; 12 kg/26lbs) but please note that you are still only permitted one piece of carry-on luggage on board + one personal item (max 42x20x20cm).

  • If you’re traveling with more luggage you can get luggage allowance online at the time of your booking. It’s also possible to book luggage allowance online up to 24 hours before departure.
  • With less than 24 hours until departure, luggage must be booked by telephone or paid for when you check-in at the airport.

WOW bag fee carry-on LAX-Europe

WOW Airlines Checked Bag Fees are $77 each way from California to Europe

WOW Bag Fee checked bag

One checked bag up to 44 lb. is $76.99 each way.

The WOW Option Fees webpage states a checked bag is $67 each way, yet the price is $77 when I checked a flight from LAX to Paris.

Two small free bags for carry-on makes it reasonably possible to fly WOW to Europe without paying bag fees.

In my case, I can reasonably knock off the paid carry-on bag fees to save $116 on a round trip ticket from California to Europe. I still would plan on paying for one checked bag or at least one carry-on bag. But paying the extra $19 for a checked bag means the option to bring a heavy small backpack and a second small bag for camera/laptop or food.

I think I’ll look for a 16.5 in x 8 in x 8 in bag for when I fly WOW Air again. I am curious to know if I can make a WOW trip to Europe without paying any bag fees.

And if I still need more space for carry-on stuff, I’ll try the Duty Free bag trick.

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

Loyalty Traveler – WOW Air Boston to Iceland flight review (July 4, 2015).

Loyalty Traveler – WOW Air Review Part 2 Copenhagen to Boston (July 17, 2015).

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.

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  1. Wife is Italian, while visiting family in Naples this summer she picked up a smaller European rollaboard like 20″ or less even counting the wheels. Fits easily in the bins of even low-cost carriers.

    Personally I carry a Patagonia MiniMass or similar messenger bag. Saying “this is my only bag, and I will only take what fits in it”, makes you really think. I wear wool and synthetics now that I can easily have only only 2 of each item of clothing and wash as needed and hang-dry overnight. And why carry a bunch of toiletries when hotels will give them to for the asking?

  2. @Vicente – My wife is Californian and I have to pay for a checked bag for her on all budget carrier flights. She can’t travel with fewer cosmetics than fit into one zip-lock approved size bag for carry-on only.

    @Dan – I was really excited to hear about the 22 lb. limit, then saw the smaller bag dimensions and figured no big deal.

    The change to allow two small personal bags seems like something ‘tiny packer’ travelers can get by with to avoid bag fees.

    I might give WOW another whirl for a one-way positioning flight to Europe when I see some of those $150 one way fares from California again

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