This week, Icelandic budget airline WOW Air unveiled a set of new flight deals from Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport: $199 one-way tickets to various destinations in Europe, and $99 straight to Iceland.
Yes, you read those numbers right.
The $199 flights have a one-hour stopover in Keflavik, Iceland, before allowing you to jump to 18 different cities in Europe, including London, Paris, and Berlin.
For a long-haul transatlantic commute, that’s a steal; a quick online price check with traditional carriers shows nonstop flights for later this month going for $1,200 and up, and one-stop options hovering in the $700 range. With more than two stops on your route, you’re still going to have to shell out $518.
Meanwhile, budget transatlantic air rival Norwegian Air is posting prices upwards of $275.
So what’s the catch? WOW Air is a notorious budget carrier, along the lines of the Spirit, Ryanair, and Allegiant brands. They identify as part of the “ultra-low-cost long haul” category, in which they’re shooting to become the industry leader.
Currently rated at 2.5 stars on Yelp, you’re going to have to pony up for traditional carrier amenities. It’s $25 for an aisle seat; $5 for seat assignment in advance; an added $38 fee for “overweight” carry-on luggage, which means anything over 11 lbs.; and $48 or more for checked luggage. Reviewers also mention that in-flight refreshments are not free.
Still, since they launched Boston and Washington, DC low-cost routes in 2015, they have grown substantially, running at 90% capacity this year and expecting to double their passenger capacity this year.
“We have had a tremendously positive response to our low prices on our current transatlantic routes and this gives us confidence that passengers will take up the chance to travel even further afield,” said CEO and Founder Skuli Mogenson in a statement posted on their site.
You’ll be flying in one of three new Airbus A330-300 aircraft that WOW purchased just for these routes, each holding up to 340 passengers. And there will be no “upgrades” to extra legroom, as WOW flies single class only.
Don’t get too excited about making an affordable last-minute escape to Europe this winter, though. A quick search shows that their $199 deals are booked out to most destinations through the fall of 2016. But you know what they say: Paris is always a good idea. It will be lovely next October, especially for just $199.
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