6 catches with WOW Air's $99 flights to Europe

Don't Waste Your Money

Cincinnati, once the most expensive airport in the U.S. as a Delta "fortress" hub, is rapidly becoming a discount airline mecca, with cheap flights to Florida on Allegiant and Frontier.

As of earlier this summer, you can find cheap flights to Chicago and Baltimore on Southwest.

And starting next May, you will be able to find cheap flights to Europe on WOW air. But before you book, there are some catches you need to know about.

WOW air to shake up international travel

Tri-State travelers, for the first time ever, will soon have a discount option to Europe. Until now, the only direct flight from the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) has been to Paris on Delta, at an average fare of $1,500.

WOW air promises fares as low as $99 one way to Iceland. Or you can continue on to London, Paris and other cities for a total of $150 each way (or $300 round trip).

Travelers like Helen Tandessa, who frequently visits her family in Africa, are saying "wow." "We pay $1,600 per trip to fly from east Africa to here," she said, while waiting for her next flight overseas.

Catches with discount airlines

However, If you have flown a deep discount airline in the past, such as Allegiant or Frontier (or Spirit, which doesn't serve Cincinnati), then you know what's coming next: You'll be charged for anything and everything additional.

Jeannine Violante has experienced that going to Florida. "I would suspect if you look at the Frontiers or Spirits or Allegiants, you are being charged for baggage, for carry-on, for drinks. So, I am assuming this is going to be the same principle," she said.

She's correct. Airfare Watchdog.com analyzed WOW air's offerings, and found some downsides:

  • Checked bags are expensive: $48 if prepaid, $60 at check-in ... per segment. (So Paris would cost about $100 one way for a checked bag).
  • Your free carry-on bag must weigh 11 pounds or less. So no jamming everything into an overstuffed carry-on.
  • You will pay for all snacks, even water.
  • You'll pay $10 to $60 to reserve your seat in advance, depending on seat location.
  • There are no in-flight TV shows or movies.
  • There is no in-flight Wi-Fi. (Bring a good book or two)

For Eileen Keller, the lack of amenities could kill the deal.

"I don't mind paying extra for things, but if it is uncomfortable the entire way to an international location would be terrible," she said.

Interested? Flights from Cincinnati to Iceland and mainland Europe begin next spring on May 18, 2018.

As always, don't waste your money.

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