***Update, flights are now bookable on Wow Airlines***
Man, these budget airlines don’t seem to be wasting any time. Ryan Air, Wizz, Wow Airlines, Norwegian, are all adding new routes faster than I can keep up. Heck, there’s even a brand new budget airline that I will be flying on in the Fall, Level by Iberia.
This latest announcement by Wow Airlines is a welcomed one since it isn’t cheap to fly to Israel. They’ll be operating 3-4 weekly nonstops from Tel Aviv to Reykjavík, Iceland, starting this September. The aircraft in use for this route is yet to be announced but we should assume it will be on their A320 or A321 single-class Airbuses.
How much are the tickets?
Each time Wow Air launches a new route they usually slash the prices, well, initially. Flights are not yet available for booking but here is what we should expect to see at launch:
• West Coast to Tel Aviv (via Reykjavík) – $199 one-way
• East Coast to Tel Aviv (via Reykjavík) – $149 one-way
• Reykjavík, Iceland to Tel Aviv – $99 one-way (though I can only find those prices from TLV > KEF)
US cities to Reykjavík (all flights on to Europe will connect in KEF):
• Newark – EWR
• Boston – BOS
• Miami – MIA
• Baltimore – BWI
• San Francisco – SFO
• Los Angeles -LAX
• Chicago – ORD (starting July 2017)
• Pittsburgh – PIT (starting June 2017)
If those prices don’t sound-ultra cheap, remember, Israel borders Egypt and Jordan, not exactly Western Europe. Once you land in Reykjavík for your connection you’ll still have to fly another 7-8 hours to reach Tel Aviv. US citizens can visit Israel for 90 days with no visa needed!
Also, Wow Airlines provides no free entertainment or food on-board, though their food choices and prices are reasonable. I recommend bringing a laptop or tablet with movies pre-loaded, most of their seats have a 110v outlet to keep things charged.
Before you pull the trigger and book, when available, do keep in mind the extra costs of a low-cost-carrier. Wow Airlines only permits one piece of “free carry-on”, essentially a personal item like a backpack or large purse. That free carry-on can weigh no more than 22 lbs and measure no more than 16″ x 12″ x 10″.
In addition to your one free personal item, here are the costs for a second carry-on or checked bag:
— One-way costs from the West Coast to Europe (and assuming Israel):
• One large carry-on bag – $58.00 USD online/$76.00 USD during check-in – maximum size 22″ x 18″ x 10″ and maximum weight 26 lbs
• Check-in bag weighing up to 44 lbs – $78.00 USD online/$89.00 USD during check-in
— One-way costs from the East Coast to Europe (and assuming Israel):
• One large carry-on bag – $49.00 USD online/$67.00 USD during check-in – maximum size 22″ x 18″ x 10″ and maximum weight 26 lbs
• Check-in bag weighing up to 44 lbs – $68.00 USD online/$76.00 USD during check-in
What I recommend is for couples to share a checked bag when possible. If you can share, you’ll each get “22 lbs of the bag” (44 lbs total per checked bag), that is an effective cost of $34-$39 per person, each way. You’d both have your own free small carry-on bag weighing up to 22 lbs, so that means you can each bring a combined 44 lbs (effectively) for around $35 each way. Not terrible, and if you are heading somewhere warm that should be enough allowance.
Do you see yourself flying over 15 hours on a budget carrier from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Tel Aviv? You can check out my review of Wow Airlines from Paris to Boston, here.