WOW Air Launching Flights To Vancouver

WOW Air is the Icelandic ultra low cost carrier that has been growing like crazy the past few years. They first launched flights to the US in March 2015, with a flight between Boston and Keflavik, and since then they added service to over a dozen US destinations.

Unfortunately the airline has been losing money and one has to wonder how sustainable their business model is. Within the past couple of weeks the airline has canceled flights to five US destinations — Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, New York JFK, And St. Louis. That’s some pretty significant scaling back, if you ask me.

It seems the airline isn’t completely stopping with their growth plans, as WOW Air has just announced their next destination in North America. WOW Air will launch flights between Reykjavik and Vancouver as of June 6, 2019. This will be WOW Air’s third route to Canada, as the airline also flies to Montreal and Toronto.

The schedule will be as follows:

WW245 Reykjavik to Vancouver departing 5:20PM arriving 6:15PM
WW246 Vancouver to Reykjavik departing 7:30PM arriving 10:05AM (+1 day)

The flight is blocked at 7hr55min westbound and 7hr35min eastbound.

This route will be operated by one of WOW Air’s Airbus A321neos. At ~3,544 miles, this will be one of the longer A321neo routes. Also keep in mind that WOW Air has an especially dense configuration, which increases the weight of the plane and reduces range. This seems like it will get pretty close to the operating limit for the aircraft.

At least WOW Air has good aircraft utilization on the route. On other routes the plane sits on the ground in North America for about 20 hours to optimize connections, though here the plane is quickly turning around.

This new flight is now bookable on WOW Air’s website, and fares start at just 119CAD one-way, based on a roundtrip purchase (unfortunately the return flights seem to be more expensive).

While that has the potential to be a great deal, keep in mind that WOW Air is as “no frills” as they get, as they charge for everything, including bags, seat assignments, food, etc. They even adjusted their carry-on policy earlier this year.

So be sure you crunch the numbers before booking, so you can figure out if you’re actually getting a good deal. Nowadays transatlantic flights are often also inexpensive on “full service” airlines, so the savings might not be that big in all cases.

When WOW Air first launched North America service a few years ago, Gaurav was kind enough to share his experience flying WOW Air between Boston and Iceland, and had positive things to say overall. If you come in with the right mindset, they’re a solid option.

Bottom line

It’s concerning that WOW Air recently canceled five routes, which greatly reduces their network to North America. I know WOW Air is now focused on adding flights to Asia, though I tend to think that the success of the Asia network relies upon a robust network in North America, since the intent is for the airline to connect people traveling between North America and other points.

What do you make of WOW Air’s new route to Vancouver?

Comments

  1. This route makes a lot more sense than the ones to the US MIdwest that they cancelled. A lot more potential premium traffic.

  2. @ Riley Peick — Nope, there’s a significant time change, so it only lands 55 minutes after it departs.

  3. YVR is more of a “hipster”/premium market that would want to visit Iceland. Much more than St-Louis and Cleveland, for instance.

  4. I’m actually a bit surprised that they’ve chosen to fly directly into YVR, rather than using BLI as the alternative (as a lot of other airlines have chosen to do).

  5. I am surprised that WOW is willing to go toe to toe with FI at YVR (and to a lesser extent SEA). While WOW doesn’t bank at KEF the way that FI does, a 10:30AM arrival does mean you miss some connection options. I doubt this lasts past summer 2019.

  6. I don’t think Wow Air will die, because it seems very dynamic and fast to respond to market pressures.

    Wow was smart to take some big subsidies from the desperate “rust belt” cities — I feel bad for them losing Wow, but they should have never offered subsidies in the first place — and now it will move service to a world-class cosmopolitan city, a city with lots of demand for European travel from Canadians and, just as important, a city where Europeans will want to travel.

  7. @Anthony
    The only rust belt city that I feel slightly bad for losing WOW is STL. At least CVG has DL to CDG and CLE has FI to KEF. STL is left with nothing. What makes it worse is that BA has been taunting STL for a 787 LHR flight since day 1, but AUS, BNA, MSY, PIT and CHS already and STL hasn’t.

    Now STL is demanding WOW to pay back the subsidies and landing fees.

  8. Lucky- if I have a lead or news to give you , is there a private email address to send it to ? You have my registered email , can you let me know ? Thanks

  9. This is just a last ditch attempt to cover up how dire the situation is at Wow. I was never keen on the idea of connecting in Iceland in the first place but the idea of 3544 miles in a configuration I can’t fit in (6’10” go figure) is hell to me. Still this seems to try to make us believe that everything’s fine when clearly the clock is ticking for Wow.

  10. @Anthony There was an article in a local newspaper from one of the rust belt cities — I think it was STL or CLE — and WOW won’t be getting any of the promised subsidies since they didn’t meet targets that were put in place (I’m guessing based on pax numbers).

  11. Noah – It’s rather absurd to claim Wow launched a route to Vancouver to trick a bunch of blog readers (the only ones who would notice, other than those wanting to fly to/from YVR of course) that they’re doing OK…

  12. Seems like they are sick of Americans in Iceland… they thought they had gotten rid of the IDF since 2006 😉

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