It seems every low-cost airline out there has been having a sale to or from the US in the last few weeks, with many offering one way flight deals from the US to Ireland and other European destinations for as little as $55. As with most low-cost airlines, however, there are always more charges than meet the eye. Here are some hidden costs on Wow Air you need to know about – paying particular attention to the outrageous Wow Air Baggage fees that could double the cost of your ticket – because we are all smart enough to realise that when a price seems to good to be true, it probably is!
PRO TIP: If you’re planning to travel to the Iceland, be it on a budget or on a luxury tour, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have decent travel insurance – especially as medical care can be SO expensive here. I always use World Nomads, as they’re known as the best insurer for backpackers and long term travellers.
Wow Air Baggage Fees – Are their hidden costs?
Most of my readers will have seen me sharing these deals many times on Facebook, with many having lots of questions to ask. Are there lots of hidden extras? Will the flight be comfortable? What’s the safety record? Can I bring hand luggage?
The catch is…there are LOTS of hidden charges and yes, you are giving up comfort and peace of mind for a ridiculously cheap flight.
Normally I am ALL for cheap flights. I’m a huge advocate of both Ryanair (I feel they have improved a lot in recent years) and also enjoyed a short flight from Dublin to Iceland with Wow Air, despite a few hidden charges which I luckily figured out before my flight and managed to avoid.
However, it has come to my attention that on some of the most recently advertised low-cost fares from the US to Europe, many of these hidden charges are UNAVOIDABLE. I believe if a hidden cost is going to be added to the cost of your flight no matter what you do, it should be included in the original price of the flight. Am I right?
Hidden costs on Wow Air
My sister recently flew back to Ireland from San Francisco with Wow Air and was pretty angry with all the hidden costs she encountered. Here are some examples, so you should add these up / take them into consideration before booking that next budget airfare.
Fixed charge for picking a seat – $10 – $300 (NO JOKE!)
While many airlines give you the option to pick a seat and charge you extra, Wow Air flights from the US to Europe MAKE you pick a seat when checking in online. There is no choice in the matter.
While seat prices start at just $11, this is only for a set amount of seats. So if you are not one of the first people to check in, you might be left with no choice to pick a seat priced at $45 or more. Need extra leg room? It will only cost you about $300.
REMEMBER: These prices are for each flight – so if you are flying from the US to Europe, you will have to pay TWICE!
Wow Air Baggage Fees for hand luggage – $39 – $48
You read that correctly. Wow Air might just be one of the only airlines in the world that charges for hand luggage. While you are allowed to bring on one small personal item for free (think hand bag or laptop bag, you will be charged to bring a small backpack or wheelie suitcase on the flight. The cost is $39.00 if you book online or $48 if you do it during check-in. Considering you are not going to fly from the US to Europe with nothing but a handbag, you need to add this to the flight price straight away as it really is an unavoidable charge!
If you’re carry on is deemed too large (even if you have paid for it) at check in, you will be charged between anywhere between $20 and $40 extra to check it in.
Seat Guru website has a complete breakdown of all the charges, as they change depending on where you are flying to / from and how long your flight is.
Wow Air Checked luggage – costs $39 – $67
While this should be familiar to anyone who regularly flies with low cost airlines, it’s still important to note just how expensive it is to check in a bag on Wow Air. We’re talking about a $67 fee just to check in one bag from San Francisco back to Europe! If you forget to pay online and show up at the airport, you will be charged $85 – which is probably more than the flight itself cost you.
Fixed charge Wow Air booking fee – $10+
Planning to book that cheap flight online? of course you are! Just don’t forget about the booking fee added on to each online booking. While not too outrageous, it is an extra GBP 7.99 + 2.5%*. (price varies depending on where you are booking the flight and where you are flying to. That little asterisk? Apparently it is telling us that this fee is per flight leg, rather than per booking. Lovely!
No free food or drinks
Again, if you are used to flying on low-cost airlines you should be used to this but it’s something to keep in mind if flying on a long international flight such as from San Francisco to Iceland than on to Dublin. Asking for a glass of water (which is normally free even in the cheapest of airlines) will set you back around $3 – you will be given a bottle though. No meals, no free tea or coffee to keep you going on that super long flight – so be prepared to pay for extras or to bring some snacks on board with you.
What will you REALLY pay for a €55 flight?
Let’s say you got lucky and found a cheap fare from Ireland to Miami, Florida for just €55. (Apologies that I keep changing currency – I have many international readers!). Once you have chosen your seats (fingers crossed you book and check in early or you will be left paying a lot more!), decided to bring a small carry on and one small checkin in bag and paid your €17 booking fee, you’re €55 flight has increased from €55 all the way up to €170 – and that is still for a low-cost airline with no food, no drinks and reclining seat!
Whether you decide to go ahead and book those flights is up to you. I will say that they are a very fun airline, and I enjoyed my short Dublin to Reykjavik flight with them 2 years ago – review here.
However, having flown with a similar budget airline (Thomas Cook / Condor) from San Francisco to Manchester yesterday – I am really suffering today. I will never again give up comfort in exchange for a cheaper flight, even if it means paying an extra €100 or €200 for a flight with a better airline. Being served one (pitiful) meal on an 11 hour flight, no free drinks and hard seats that don’t recline was not my idea of a pleasant flight. Never again, seriously.