How To Survive A WOW Flight

WOW-Air_500x500_thumbI wrote this ON THE FLIGHT HOME while sitting on the second of three FLIGHT legs. I’m on the final of three TRAIN legs. And still about ninety minutes to go. I’m telling you all this so you understand how utterly exhausted I was when I wrote it as well as why I can’t be bothered to re-read / edit / finalize it for you now.


Forget the free pillows and blankets and entertainment, forget the free drink and snack and checked bag!

And I hope you like purple.


do you remember what it was like to fly in the eighties? you were allowed to check a bag. and could have a carry on and a personal item. and they gave you as many pillows and blankets as your pride allowed you to request. and free drinks! typically you just asked for a coke and they gave you a whole can, but when you figured out you could ask for more than one? hoo DOGGIE! that’s LIVIN’. they crammed their crappy peanuts down your throat and asked you if you wanted a drink and the peanuts were so salty, you HAD TO have that drink. if the flight was longer than a few hours, they’d even serve a hot “meal” (chicken or beef?) which, back then, was still crap.

but these days.

you only get a checked bag if you travel across the ocean. that carry on bag better be tiny. and that personal item even tinier. you still get a free pillow and blanket – made out of tissue paper. individual entertainment
sometimes exists – there was some sort of flight enticement phase, maybe after 9/11, when no one was flying, so they threw all kinds of freebies our way.

and then there’s the cheap flights.

no seat assignment or pillow or blanket. no drinks. no snacks. no free checked bags. only one carry on and you better stuff that sandwich you just bought into it cause ABSOLUTELY NO EXTRAS. and customer service? forgetaboutit. but we take these flights cause DAMN they’re cheap. and, sure, we can PAY to check a bag or have an extra carry on, but we typically don’t cause we’re all pinching pennies. and the cheap flights are all short. you can suck it up for one to two hours from the netherlands to england. or spain to france. short flight discomfort? no worries.

and then there’s wow air.

this airline is so new that you can’t check in via the self check in kiosks. you HAVE TO wait in their incredible long check in / baggage drop lines and since they’re also pinching pennies, they’re understaffed for how many people are on their flights. so check in online, from home. or, if you get to the airport and realize i was right (like i did) download the app and check in there.

there’s no entertainment. neither individual nor for the whole cabin (remember those screens that used to be for everyone? *shudder*) which means bring your own book or ipad or laptop.

there’s no food or drink. but they’ll sell you their stuff. some of it is pretty damn good, like the which is this amazing thick yoghurt protein thing, and the superbar which is this raspberry dark chocolate power bar
thing, but some of it is ass, like the ‘the food doctor’ bulgar wheat and quinoa wholesome pot which SOUNDS amazing, but turns out tepid and slightly crunchy in all the wrong ways. either bring your own no-liquid / security clearing sustenance from home or buy from the airport before you get on the plane. it’s cheaper and higher quality and you’ll have more options. cause once they run out, they’re out.

now for the awesome.

wow airline is so new that they’re SUPER cheap. and their hub is in iceland, so they’re marketing themselves as a hub for europe / north american travel. which is brilliant. ideally, you stay the night in iceland to see the northern lights and the blue lagoon, but if you want, you can totally just have a few hour layover and be on your way. and how cheap are we talking? it normally costs me around $1100 to fly from the netherlands to california. it was so cheap that i bought space upgrades – the ticket totalled $800 after all the add ons and I HAD ALL THE SPACE.

initially i thought the seats didn’t tilt back, but they just don’t have the buttons like i’m used to – it’s more like the old school car seats with the toggle underneath the seat. plus there are multi national power plugs in
between most of the chairs. the power to them doesn’t turn on until after take up / before landing, but still. ALL THE POWER. and once i figured out how to sleep sitting up, i was golden (pony boy).


wow has to make money and part of how they do that is by nickel and diming you to death, but also by not having any spare airplanes anywhere. or spare flight attendants. so they fly out to the states and the next day they fly back to iceland. or out to europe and back to iceland the same day. and airplanes get one quick fuel up / cross check and then they’re back in the air. which means if it’s late, the next flight is late and the next and the next.

this is how i was delayed six hours on one of the AMS –> SFO trips.

on the way back? no problem.


if you asked me if i would recommend wow on the way out? HELL NO. on the way back? sure, whynot. it’s not for everyone, but if you’re a cheap bastard and you can sleep sitting up?

the sky’s the limit.

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