Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW Air sure is in the middle of a growth spurt. Fresh off its announcement of new service to St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Detroit, WOW announced a new big city destination. From Wednesday’s Dallas Morning News, WOW Air plans to bring its cheap fares to DFW International Airport beginning next May.
Seasonal, Sub-Daily Flights to Start
WOW Air plans to launch DFW to Reykjavik (KEF) service beginning May 24. At first, the carrier plans seasonal service on a 3x weekly basis. As an aside, the banner on WOW’s website announcing the new service features a photo of Fort Worth. Someone might tell WOW’s CEO that showcasing Cowtown is no way to endear yourself with Big D. 🙂
- WW191 Reykjavik to DFW departing 21:30 arriving 00:45 (+1) (1,3,5)
- WW192 DFW to Reykjavik departing 16:10 arriving 04:45 (+1) (2,4,6)
Though service begins with just three flights a week, WOW has a reputation for expanding quickly if routes prove profitable. Hopefully that proves to be the case at DFW as well. Advertised fares start at $169 each way, based on a round trip purchase. I didn’t dig real hard, but the cheapest roundtrip I could find was $370 in the “WOW Basic” bucket. “WOW Business” fares run around $920 roundtrip, and include access to the “BigSeat”.
All flights operate on Airbus A330 aircraft equipped with 338 (!) seats. These aircraft contain a “three class” Economy configuration. 308 regular Economy seats feature a 2-4-2 configuration with 29-31″ of pitch. Ouch. 16 “XXL” seats, also in a 2-4-2 layout, provide an extra 4-6″ of pitch. Meanwhile, the pointy end is home to the “BigSeat”. The BigSeat reminds me of a light version of Norwegian Premium Class. Or I guess more correctly, an equally cheap knock-off of Spirit’s Big Front Seat, minus the BuzzBalls, of which Rohan is an expert. The seat itself looks similar to domestic First, with 37″ pitch and power ports. Probably not terribly comfortable on a red-eye.
WOW also permits free stopovers in Iceland en route to other points in Europe. Initially, connections from Dallas are limited to the following cities:
Just doing a quick search to LGW, I found fares as low as $340 roundtrip. These prices do, however, come with a caveat. James covered the ins and outs of WOW Air previously, but just know that “Basic” fares include, well, nothing. You’ll have to pay fees for just about everything. As with Norwegian, it pays to add up the extras and compare prices to a full-service airline.
Welcome Low Cost Competition to Europe
Domestic pricing from DFW is notoriously brutal (for the airlines), largely thanks to Spirit’s invasion. We also see good fare sales to Asia reasonably frequently. Transatlantic fares, on the other hand, are a different story. Those $500 roundtrips to London you see from Chicago and New York? Good luck finding one out of DFW, unless you’re willing to connect. Even with limited seats at the lowest fares, sub-$1,000 airfares to Europe in the summer will be a sight for sore eyes. Norwegian recently announced new service to Austin, but even that requires either driving there, or self-connecting via American or Southwest.
The tradeoff, of course, are the rather brutal flight timings. A 4:45 am arrival into Keflavik can’t be fun after 8 hours in a seat with 29-inch pitch. But even the return features an odd schedule. Clearly, WOW designed the 9:30 pm departure to facilitate connections from elsewhere. Then again, if you’re staying in Iceland, that gives you a full day and then some when departing. A post-midnight arrival into DFW, though, mandates a forced overnight if flying or driving in from elsewhere. Of course, for $350 for a flight to Iceland, I’m willing to overlook some inconveniences.
As someone who’s long wanted to visit Iceland, the coming of nonstop flights to Reykjavik certainly has me excited. Even if Iceland doesn’t strike your fancy, WOW’s new service brings some welcome low-cost competition to the American/British Airways duopoly at DFW. With any luck, this means lower fares eventually for everyone, not just WOW Air passengers. Cheap fares are good, because that means more money for afternoon tea in London.
Or for curious Europeans to have a taste of some delicious Texas BBQ.
Photo of WOW Air plane: “TF-GMA WOW air Airbus A321-211(WL) coming in from Reykjavik Island (BIKF) @ Frankfurt (EDDF) / 19.06.2016” by Ollver Holzbauer, via Flickr Creative Commons, license Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).