This post is also available in: FR
I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Iceland, a country that has been in the news as much for its volcanoes disrupting the skies as for its performance during the Euro 2016. But this does not do justice to this magnosic land. And of course, this trip allowed me to discover a new company, WOW air.
We had already mentioned this new Icelandic company. It offers low-cost flights with a minimalist service in its planes. I took advantage of his arrival in Montreal to buy a ticket on Labor Day weekend. It cost me $309 taxes included for the round trip with a selection of seats.
Where the matter gets complicated is with the luggage. The ticket price includes 1 small piece of cabin luggage (42x32x25cm) weighing less than 10kg and a small bag that can be stored under your seat. Carry-on baggage can be larger (56x45x25cm, 12kg) for an additional fee of approximately $50. Finally, for $90 you can check in one piece of luggage.
Let’s move on to the flight! I checked in the day before with the company’s mobile app. I then get my boarding pass.
The airport is located 45 minutes by public transport from the city of Reykjavik. There is a shuttle bus that leaves from the terminal near the city center. You can also ask for a pick-up at your hotel which is done via minibus, given the narrowness of the streets of the city. The terminus being at 10 minutes walk from our accommodation, and the weather being good, we go there on foot.
The shuttle is a bus equipped with Wifi, but without a power outlet although some buses in the fleet are equipped with it.
We arrive at the airport after the 45 minutes planned. We have a checked baggage, so we go to the self-service kiosks that allow to print the baggage tags.
You can then use the automatic baggage drop-off after printing a paper boarding pass, as the scanner is not compatible with the electronic version.
We are heading towards the security posts.
After a rather fast passage we find ourselves on the side of the boarding rooms and the duty free. A quick look at the board to see that our flight is on time.
However, we have to go to the terminal D, because it is the one from where the flights to the USA and Canada leave and therefore a border crossing is necessary. Many flights leave at this time to both countries, the wait will be about 15 minutes, which is still reasonable.
If the terminals seem very basic in their offers, the D terminal is… stripped down. A bar with a few crowded high tables, a pizzeria and a food store. Our boarding room is a temporary room. The airport has had trouble keeping up with the country’s tourist expansion (+138% in 6 years).
Boarding will be by bus. This can take some time but the staff is very organized and it allows you to get a closer look at the device. This one is an Airbus A321-200 and its registration is TF-KID. The other registrations also follow the family tree: TF-MOM, TF-GPA etc.
The aircraft is recent (3 years old) but it does not have the same seats as the aircraft on the outbound trip. Is this due to the rapid expansion of the company and the use of aircraft leased to intermediaries? We’re waiting to see the arrival of new aircraft ordered directly from Airbus in 2017 and 2018 to get a better idea.
We are in the spartan register: no power outlet, no individual screen, no removable headrest
The menu is also simple. Thirsty? You will have to pay 300 Icelandic crowns (3.3$) to get a bottle of water.
And it’s time to leave after a well organized boarding by the hostesses.
Our route is quite simple with a passage over Greenland. We were lucky that day because the view was superb.
The moment of the meal came, the sandwich was particularly good, a good surprise.
The rest of the flight will be unsurprising with some turbulence over Canada. The approach to Montreal will be fast.
The doors being all occupied at this time (6pm) we are disembarked by mobile bridge. This will take a little time but the border crossing will be done very quickly.
There is no doubt that WOW air is a low-cost company. Low rates with paid options if you want to add comfort. The company suffers from a hub that is also a fast growing airport and therefore has some problems such as the lack of lounges or simply easily accessible power outlets.
The staff on board is friendly, we are also in the minimal service. We could just hope for a little more warmth in the cabin layout (light, power outlets on the seats). But the offer is interesting especially for Montreal which has little or no low-cost airline.
Some maps with travel points to book this type of ticket
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