WOW Air India launch-US/Canada for 27k return-Lowest rates ever

A trip between Indian and Canada/US costs at the least about 50-55k INR at its lowest level for round trip. While there are many budget airlines to explore South East Asia- like Air Asia, Scoot, Silkair etc and a few for middle east- like FlyDubai, Air Arabia, there was no budget option so far to go to US and Canada. This is now set to change, with WOW Air beginning its India operation by late 2018 with an irresistible offer!

WOW Air is set to begin India operation from December 2018 and website is already updated with pricing. On select dates, WOW Air has an extremely low one way fare of Rs 13499 for India to Canada/US destinations. A round trip ticket can be had for about 27000, which was never possible before.
Wow! The catch:
The fares advertised are genuine. You can indeed book and fly at these prices. But this cheapest ticket doesn’t get you anything apart from a seat. Not even 7 kg hand baggage, which is usually standard in low cost airlines. You will only get to carry what WOW Air calls a "personal item"- a small laptop bag/camera bag (size 42x32x25cm, weight less than 10 kg)- something that you can keep below the seat in-front of you.  Please note that Delhi to Iceland is a 12 hour Marathon flight- from there to US/Canada etc another 5-10 hours. Surviving without food will be very difficult, unless you plan well.

In my opinion it is very difficult to manage with this WoW basic fare which doesn’t allow standard cabin bag either.  It is still doable if:
Possibility 1: You’ve mastered the art of flying extreme light- like you plan to buy essential stuff at the destination than paying for extra bag,
Possibility 2: have some friends/family so you don’t have to carry cloths n stuff
Possibility 3: You’re buying say 2-3 tickets- only 1 of them will be requiring check-in bag and other 2 can fly hands free

Also WOW Basic is non refundable. You’ll have to book for some dates in January- March 2019 onwards- about an year away- no interest, no refund if you can’t travel as per plan. US Visa will cost about 12000 rupees. You can pay Rs 4000 extra to get 100% refund eligibility.
If you can’t manage with bare minimum WOW Basic fare (27k return) then you’ll have to select next category, WOW Plus, in which the round trip will cost you 43000 rupees at the best. WOW Plus will get you check in and cabin bag allowance but still no meals. Journey to US/Canada is a long one- difficult to manage without food.

How much do add-ons cost?
For a Delhi- New York (EWR) return flight, below is what various things cost
  1. Round trip WOW Basic fare: 27000
  2. 7 Kg Hand Baggage: Rs 3300 one way (4700 at check in)= Rs 6600 return
  3. Check in bag 6700 one way, 13400 return
  4. Special Equipment: Rs 5000
  5. Meal- Rs 650-900 per meal- for a round trip you will need min 8 meals total (these are super long flights- Delhi-Iceland 12 hours, Iceland to US/Canada-5 to 7 hours) =Rs 3000-4000
  6. Cancellation protection: Rs 2000 each way, Rs 4000 round trip(You will get full refund if you'd like to cancel)
  7. Priority Boarding: 670 per boarding, Rs 2300 approx for 4 boardings on the round trip
  8. Seat Selection: Rs 550-600 to 16700 per leg depending on type of seat= Rs 2400 to 60000 per round trip
At the minimum you may need a cabin bag and food, which will be around INR 10000 extra over the basic fare. If you also add check-in bag, seat selection then any cost advantage over middle east based carrier will be lost. Round trip will now be costing 50k+ which is same as what Emirates or Etihad or Qatar would charge (if planned well in advance)

For Delhi folks who can manage light, this is a great opportunity to explore Iceland, Canada and US. For others, return flight to Delhi from other Indian cities cost around 6-8k, so the net expense comes to 35-50k (WoW basic/Wow Plus)-This additional flight you've to plan well to factor possible delays- since they are separate PNR, you will be a no show if previous flight is late) Still great if you can manage without bag. If you’ve to pay extra for bag, meals etc it might be more practical to fly one stop on a full service airline via middle east (Emirates/Qatar/Etihad) for 50-55k return, as it includes baggage, meals, entertainment etc

Other things to note:
  • WOW Air has set a fixed promo price irrespective of destination- Even if you’re flying halfway to Reykjavik (Iceland), ticket price is same. The Multi stop itinerary also costs lot more than a return ticket, which I find it very discouraging. (If a US return ticket costs 27000 and I wish to add 2 days stopover at Iceland, it costs almost double- may be a thousand or two thousand rupees extra would have been very acceptable.
  • Cheapest return ticket to Iceland would cost close to 26000- for another 1000 rupees you can go to US/Canada and come back…
  • Right now Wowair.com is accepting bookings till March 2019 only. Not sure why not beyond that. I guess once summer kicks in, they will need more aircrafts to fly within Europe and may cut short flights to India. (Upto March it is winter in Europe, due to snow and bad weather most airlines cut their flights. Some companies take these aircrafts and fly them to elsewhere to make some money. It is also possible WOWAir is experimenting with India market-if demand is good they will continue else look for an alternate destination to fly in Asia (I am only guessing)
  • Good news is the fare you see on the website is final. No convenience fee was added while purchasing. Of course there’re a dozen things you can buy- bag, insurance, cancellation option, meals
  • Iceland weather can often go bad, causing delays. Also Iceland doesn't get much of night time, so your sleep cycle may feel more burden than a transit via Frankfurt or Dubai would cause.
  • The Delhi-Iceland leg has been planned based on new A330-900 Neo ultra long range aircraft-delivery of which hasn't happened yet and is expected by December 2018. If its delivery gets delayed, WOW Air's India operation may get delayed. WOW's challenge will be to fill all 350+ seats on this jumbo aircraft out of Delhi, every single day.
  • Reliability-WOW Air has only one flight per day to most of its destinations, at times only few days a week. In case of a missed connection, your wait will be lot longer than other popular airlines like Emirates/Etihad/Lufthansa etc- who may have multiple flights per day to popular destinations and impact of a missed flight/connection is little less.
WoW Air India launch summary:
  • Cheapest return ticket from INR 27000 to any destination- Iceland, Canada, US etc, but without food, bag anything
  • Current allowed booking period- Dec 2018-March 2019
  • Above is only available on Wowair.in website upon creating an account. Not available on OTAs like MMT
  • Cheapest ticket doesn’t get cabin baggage, food etc. Only a small personal item is allowed (like laptop bag). Everything else costs more.
  • If you add every available add-on- check in bag, cabin bag, meals etc, then price adds up to 50k+ which is at par with what full service airlines charge between India and Canada/US
  • Tickets can be booked from December 2018 till March 2019 only. Not sure what happens after that.
  • All flights will be via Iceland. Stopover flights can be booked, will cost more.
  • All flights via Delhi in India.
Visit https://wowair.in/ for bookings. I have made a few bookings, will look forward to the experience.

Is the WOWAir India offer worth?
Yes, by all means, provided you can make use of no frills service and buy bare minimum add-ons. If you've lots of luggage, need to buy every add-on then cost benefit disappears. I suggest go check it out and try to make the most of this opportunity, particularly if you're based around Delhi.

Does the fare excites you? Booking anything? Let us know

11 comments:

  1. I was expecting this post after seeing the news yesterday!! As usual very well explained. Agree with your assessment.

    I feel it is a good offer for Delhi people. For family requiring check-in bag, meal and extra Delhi flight, the price advantage goes down.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do not know how many people can bear all the inconvenience of such long flight without entertainment, food etc by going for cheap tickets. Most long distance travelers will be going for vacation would like to spend little more & get min comforts. I would any day prefer to go by

    ReplyDelete
  3. Full service airlines via Dubai , Abu Dhabi & enjoy their excellent service at a marginally higher cost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, WOW is useful for those who can manage with bare minimum

      Delete
  4. useful informative post thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow! Great deal for those with the luxury of traveling minus luggage...
    not quite with the add-ons- baggage, food & other city-Delhi to-fro tickets.
    Well explained & presented :)

    ReplyDelete

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