WOW air are very good at the marketing game. An offer of scandalously low fares into the market gets the newspapers chirping and the people talking. Currently it is €99 fares one way from Dublin to the USA and Canada for dates in November through to early December.

Unfortunately, it is a bit of a con job. Yes, you can get tickets for €99.00 which is a fantastic deal. However you will want to be travelling without luggage for your trip and getting back may be an issue. Why? Let’s have a look.

WOW, these are some charges!

Feel like taking a standard carry on bag? That will be €31.99 please. That’s right, your standard carry on bag attracts quite a hefty charge to bring it on board.

How about a checked bag? That’s €47.99 for 20kg please. It is definitely not cheap. How many people fly to the USA without a carry on bag or a checked bag? I’d like to see the numbers on that.

How about some more?

Other charges compare more with other airlines. Priority boarding is a flat fee of €8.99 which is fine for four flights. Standard seats are €6.99 or €7.99. Those that want extra room will pay extra at €16.99 or €25.99.

While the seating costs are reasonable, a flight from Dublin to the USA or Canada is four flights which will each attract four different seat charges. These add up quickly.

How about bundling?

Let us have a look at Dublin to New York Newark. The web site shows the cheapest fare is 3 November and the prices on offer are listed below.

€99.00 – WOW Basic – Flight ticket, and one personal item.
€172.70 – WOW Plus – The above plus a carry on bag, checked bag, and standard seat.
€266.32 – WOW Biz – The above plus an inflight meal, XXL legroom, priority boarding and cancellation protection.

If you select WOW Basic and then choose to add say a cabin bag and a checked bag, the price will be more than the WOW Plus fare which also gives you seat selection. You need to be very careful with the add ons versus the bundles.

WOW, one more issue!

Let’s say you decided to depart on 3 November on your €99.00 fare. You know, pick up a few cheap bits and pieces in the States and not worry about luggage, making it a real bargain trip. How are you going to get back?

The cheapest WOW Basic return fare is 10 days later on 13 November for a princely €259.99. Coming home earlier costs even more so a short trip is out. Okay, maybe you don’t mind when you come back, so you go for the cheapest.

You’d better be prepared to stay almost a month then as the cheapest is €129.99 on 29 November. God help you if you picked up a few things to bring back and need to add a bag!

Overall Thoughts

Low cost long haul travel is here to stay and I have no issue with the headline rates. Yes, you can buy a ticket for that price and they will take you there. It opens up the opportunity for people to travel inexpensively.

That being said, it smells of a cheap publicity stunt as there are not that many seats at the low price and you will be gouged with the return pricing. I checked several cities and all the return flights were far above the €99 outbound flight. Any loss on the ticket price is more than made up for in the free publicity these fares garner.

People need to take care when booking these cheap fares as you can end up paying more. Always check other airline options before jumping in. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Oliver Holzbauer and other image by Bill Abbott via Wikimedia Commons.