WOW Air is revolutionizing the way we think of transAtlantic travel. They are a leader in ultra low cost transatlantic flights. WOW uses their fleet of A330s and A321s to the US and connect people via their hub in Iceland. The airline offers low cost fares to Europe, with add-on fees for everything you can think of. This has not stopped the airline from aggressive expansion (and subsequent success). They have added flights to the East Coast starting in 2015, and have since expanded to destinations on the West Coast.
WOW Air Midwest Expansion
The airline recently announced expansion to four new markets in the US. They plan on adding flights to Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati and St. Louis. This will mark the first trans-Atlantic flight to St. Louis in many years. This will fortify WOW Air’s reach in the US, and offer passengers from these cities access to Europe via Reykjavik. These flights will be flown with A321 aircraft four times a week each. In the case of Cleveland, Cincinnati and Detroit, these flights will depart after midnight, arriving around 11am in Iceland. The St. Louis flight will depart at 11pm, arriving around the same time frame. The flights will begin between April and May of next year.
What to Expect
WOW Air, as mentioned before, offers you a ticket for the price you pay. They will charge you for everything you can think of. The airline has recently instituted charges for carry-on bags bigger than a personal item. This means that you will be charged for both your checked luggage and a carry on bag. They are, however, planning on instituting a premium cabin. This business class of sorts will be found mainly on their A330s. This move was done in order to better compete with both Icelandair, their local competitor, and other long haul low cost carriers, such as Norwegian.
I am beginning to consider the transAtlantic market to be getting saturated. This move by WOW Air will impact connecting legacy carriers, such as Delta and American. Although this brings more competition into the market, I don’t know how sustainable a flight to Iceland (and then to Europe) from St. Louis is year round. I am glad to see St. Louis begin to add flights, given its history as a vibrant hub.
With other airlines launching low cost flights (such as IAG’s LEVEL and Air France’s Joon), the market will reach saturation sooner than I originally expected. Once this happens, I expect a few airlines to curtail flights, trim capacity, raise prices or disappear. I believe that WOW Air offers a competitive connection option, as opposed to CDG or Heathrow. These flights will launch soon, and it will take a few months to see the impact of these new routes. I hope that both WOW Air and legacy carriers can sustain their business models going forward.
What do you think? Are you going to take advantage of WOW Air’s new routes? Have you flown WOW Air before? How was your experience? Let us know!
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