Upstart Icelandic discount carrier WOW Air has created a stir by offering $99 one-way fares from the USA to Europe.
So, what’s the catch? The fares are legit, but there are some major limitations. WOW Air’s limited flight schedule and small U.S. footprint mean the deal won’t be available to most U.S. travelers. And return fares are only available for higher (but still generally modest) prices.
WOW’s sale covers flights from Boston and Baltimore – its only two U.S. destinations – to just two European cities: Paris and Amsterdam. And thanks to blackout dates and WOW’s less-than-daily flight schedule on the routes, the $99 fares are offered only one day a week on each route.
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And passengers traveling between from Boston and Baltimore also must connect via WOW’s hub in Reykjavik when traveling to or from Amsterdam and Paris.
Another major limitation: the $99 fares aren’t offered on the return flight. They’re available for more-pedestrian rates that are as low as $210 (limited availability) to $300 and up. Still, bargain-hunters willing to comb the carrier’s schedule could put together a round-trip itinerary for as little as $350.
For those unfamiliar with WOW, it operates with an “ultra low-cost” model. That means it charges for everything from checking a bag (starts at $48) to requesting an advance seat assignment ($3 to $38 per flight). Small carry-on bags are free, but bags weighing more than 11 pounds will cost at least $29 to bring on board.
But if all that sounds OK – and if you can get to Baltimore or Boston and navigate the limited calendar of availability – then the $99 fares are being offered through March 10. Availability on the narrow window of days remained decent as of Wednesday evening (July 15), though fares could sell out at any time.
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And, in addition to the advertised fares to Paris and Amsterdam, WOW also was selling some flights to Dublin for $99. Those flights were available from Boston and Baltimore, but only during January and February. As with WOW’s other flights to mainland Europe, a connection via Reykjavik is required.
As for the Paris and Amsterdam fares, scroll down for the complete list of restrictions for the $99 Europe-bound routes:
Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) to Amsterdam: Available for travel from BWI on Thursdays from Oct. 1 through Dec. 10 and from Jan. 10 through March 10. Fliers must connect via Reykjavik.
Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) to Paris: Available for travel from BWI on Sundays from Oct. 1 through Dec. 13, and from Jan. 10 through March 10. Fliers must connect via Reykjavik.
Boston to Amsterdam: Available for travel from Boston on Sundays from Oct. 1 through Dec. 13, Jan. 10 through March 10. Fliers must connect via Reykjavik.
Boston to Paris: Available for travel from Boston on Thursdays from Oct. 1 through Dec. 12, 2015 and Jan. 10 through March 10. Fliers must connect via Reykjavik.