There has been a lot of buzz the past two days about the March 27, 2015 launch of Iceland’s WOW Airlines low cost carrier flights between Boston and Iceland (KEF), London (LGW) and Copenhagen (CPH). The fares are truly low at $100 to $200 each way into June and July 2015. WOW Air will also fly from Washington DC (BWI) to KEF, LGW and CPH, beginning June 4, 2015.
Reykjavik, Iceland has $99 one-way fares from Boston until summer season starts mid-June.
Copenhagen looks like the best deal to me with $200 fares Boston-CPH and $173 CPH-BOS up to mid-July dates. I am looking at clicking the mouse on this fare since $375 roundtrip to Europe in summer is an incredible deal. Spending miles to get from California to Boston is 50% of the miles to fly to Europe.
London is the most expensive destination, yet a $495 roundtrip ticket between Boston and London Gatwick is an incredible bargain for travel in July.
Add $38 for 26 lbs. carry on bag and $67 each way for 44 lbs. checked bag. Less for travel between USA and Iceland only.
Add $6 for seat assignment in the back of the plane if you want window or aisle and don’t want to be at the mercy of the airline assignment.
The price you ultimately pay for Boston-London or Boston-Copenhagen is bumped up $82 for one lightweight carry on and $140 for one heavier checked bag.
Still, $515 for Boston-Copenhagen roundtrip in July 2015 is a deal if you can get by with an 11 lbs. carry on bag and one checked bag or one 26 lbs. carry on bag for a total fare $58 less at $457.
$577 – $635 in July 2015 for Boston-London roundtrip is cheap these days.
$256 to 294 in June 2015 Boston-Reykjavik roundtrip for travel to Iceland is exotic on the cheap.
Hope you have Club Carlson points or like to camp. I cancelled a trip to Iceland in 2003 when I realized it was going to be $1,000 for hotels or camp. Wife was not too keen on moving into a tent for a week in Iceland in June 2003. Our 2003 ticket deal was even better with $57 roundtrip tickets from New York to Reykjavik, Iceland. One of those wasted tickets. I think I got over $100 of entertainment out of the trip planning before we decided to cancel. I started a new job in May 2003 and getting a steady paycheck was fine consolation for a missed trip.
Analysis of WOW Airlines low summer fares to London and Copenhagen
$195.48 to fly Boston to London Gatwick one way on July 2, 2014.
London-Boston $299.08 July 14, 2014.
Of course, you can fly roundtrip from Boston to Iceland for $198 if you choose to travel before or after peak summer dates. That is a real bargain for a quick trip to Iceland if you are near Boston.
In terms of getting to Europe from the west coast, Norwegian Air still has competitive fares to WOW outside of summer dates since you can fly from Oakland or Los Angeles, but Norwegian airfare in June and July to Scandinavia is currently priced around $500 outbound and $700 inbound to be well over $1,000 round trip after bag fees.
WOW airfares to London and Copenhagen are available today for half that price to travel in June and July 2015.
I see real deals here are WOW fares for summer travel to Europe.
Add-on fees for WOW baggage and seats.
Low-cost carriers charge for everything. Last month I flew Norwegian Air in Norway and Allegiant Airlines from Monterey, California to Las Vegas. Bag fees are high priced. Monterey to Las Vegas one way airfare was $19.99 on Allegiant and a prepaid carry-on bag fee was $20. Norwegian charges around $89 for one bag and a seat assignment on the OAK-OSL flight.
A common practice among low cost carriers is to charge the lowest prices for online payment for carry-on or checked luggage at time of booking. The price goes up at the airport and skyrockets at the gate. On my Allegiant flight last month there was a bit of an argument between a gate agent and passenger who was irate he was being charged $50 for a carry-on bag at the gate when he had not prepaid for his bag. I paid $20 for a carry-on at time of booking.
WOW charges for carry-on bags (fee for bag over 11 pounds) or checked bags.
WOW Bag fees US to Europe (travel beyond Iceland)
Bag fees are much lower when booked online compared to at the airport.
- $38 Carry on bag up to 26 pounds in weight
- $67 Checked luggage up to 44 pounds in weight (note that the WOW website chart reads 11 lbs. which is an error and not equivalent to 20 kg). There is no discount for more bags. Additional checked bags are $67.
The bag fee is slightly lower if Iceland is your destination to/from USA.
Basically you pay $29 for carry-on bag up to 26 pounds and $48 for a checked bag up to 44 pounds if purchased at time of booking.
WOW Seat Fees
Seat fees range from $3 for the back of the plane to $14 for the front of the plane and $24 for economy extra legroom per segment. In my check the seat fare was only charged once for a two segment flight from Boston to Copenhagen.
WOW Service fees allow date and name changes
An interesting feature of WOW is it looks like you can change the date and even the passenger name on your ticket for a fee. This is a real deal compared to the no changes of legacy carriers and high $300 cancellation fees.
I am not an expert on flight rules, and I do not know if a person can actually change the name on a passenger flight ticket to another person. Perhaps some readers might have more knowledge on this point. But if you can change the name on the ticket, then buying tickets now seems a bit risk free, since no doubt you could resell a $500 ticket to Europe to someone else this summer for $600 and cover the change fee cost.
Bottom line is WOW can be one cheap way to travel to Europe this summer from the USA.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.