If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen a lot of deals for flights flying from Toronto to Reykjavik on the internet lately. They advertise flights starting from $240 CAD, depending on the dates you go. I was taken by these advertisements and ending up going to Iceland considering how cheap these flights are. But before you start buying, I want to let you know about the hidden costs by flying with these deals (usually these flights are offered by WOW Air).
1. Flight prices change quickly
I never knew this, but apparently airline companies can monitor how many times you’ve looked at their flights. If you view multiple times, they know that you’re interested in buying a specific flight and will suddenly bump up the prices. In my case, me and my friend were both buying seats on the same flight to Reykjavik. My credit card was malfunctioning, so she bought her ticket first. After I had refreshed my page, the flight price had jumped up $100 CAD! I tried to call the company to see if there was a mistake, but I was informed that flight prices are variable. I ended up having to pay quite a bit more for my flight than my friend because of a few second difference in our purchasing time. And in this situation, I couldn’t even refuse to go, since she already bought her ticket. Sneaky airlines.
2. Hidden Baggage Costs
Flying WOW Air means very strict baggage rules. They only allow one small carry-on free of charge. A small carry-on is defined as a size of 42 x 32 x 25 cm, weighing a maximum of 22 lbs. I even had a school backpack on, and they were questioning if this fit the size requirements. That’s how small the carry-on allowance is.
A large carry-on will cost $55, whereas a check-in will cost $60. We opted for a check-in split between 3 people to put the rest of our luggage in. Also take into account that these costs are for each flight ‘leg’, meaning you will have to pay again for your return trip. I know. Capitalism. Be sure to pay for all your luggage costs online before arriving at the airport. It’s cheaper to pre-pay, costing almost double to pay at the drop-off area. Also keep an electronic or paper copy of your receipt. They did not find my purchase in their system, so I had to find proof of purchase. Thank goodness for smartphones.
Also note that in Canada, they will check that all your bags are the right size at the baggage drop-off section. So, you have the ability to rearrange your items, and put more things in your check-in if you have to. They will then give you a tag for all your carry-on to let the attendants at the gate know that it is an approved size. This is not the case in Iceland. They will let you know AT THE GATE whether or not your carry-on meets baggage requirements. This means that AFTER you have given away your check-in luggage and RIGHT BEFORE you get on the plane, you can be told that your baggage is too large or too heavy to be free, ending up shelling $135 CAD to purchase a large carry-on fee. That’s right, $135, not $55 because you purchased this at the gate. Not online or at check-in which would’ve been cheaper, but you didn’t know that your baggage was too large until the gate. It’s a scam waiting to happen.
We saw this happen to quite a few people, and there’s really nothing you can do about it. Your flight is leaving in a few minutes and you just end up paying the money to avoid the hassle of fighting it.
A quick tip: The attendant at the gate was checking each carry-on to see if it met the size requirements. We had not taken off our baggage tags from our flight from Canada to Iceland, and she took one look at our tags and thought that we had paid for ‘large carry-ons’ and let us in with no trouble. So keep your luggage tags on.
3. Food Costs
Nothing is included at WOW Air. We were expecting a meal of some sort, but there was nothing. No snacks, and not even drinks. Everything had to be paid for. It was strange that they didn’t even offer us water. What if I was dying of thirst, or a diabetic. I would have to pay at least $5 to save my life. It’s a tough decision.
There are no in-flight televisions on WOW Air. No plugs, nada. You can rent an Ipad for $20 with pre-loaded movies and games, but if you don’t, you’re stuck twiddling your thumbs for 5 hours.
5. Seat Assignment
If you want to sit with your travelling companions, you will have to purchase $15 per flight leg to choose your seat. You are allowed to request a preference of aisle or window at the time of your booking for free however. And, you can switch seats with other passengers if they are willing. We didn’t end up sitting together, as it was just a 5 hour flight.
6. Other Grievances
On the flight from Iceland back to Canada, WOW Air did not have their own flight terminal. We were crammed into a bus with the heat turned up, waited for 15 minutes to arrive at the plane and walked in the rain to get to our airplane. You get what you pay for.
(lol, I kid. Our plane was much worse)
So although I was advertised a flight costing ~$350, I ended up paying $500 for the flight itself and $40 for baggage (already split between 3 people). It’s still a good deal, but just be aware of these costs before you start buying. I’m not sure if I’ll ever fly WOW Air again, maybe if there are good deals, but I will always budget at least $100 more for all the hidden costs and fees that incur.