Monday, September 3, 2018

Time to Spare? Take WOW Air!

I saw a humorous meme a short while ago. It’s posted here. Basically, it goes something like this: a couple is being served dinner on a flight. They’re so impressed and wonder how luxurious planes in 50 years will be.

This past week, with little pre-planning, I needed to get to Berlin for the 12th Annual Firefighter Combat Challenge, and my options were limited. A never heard of airline, called WOW Air came up on Kayak.

It had the shortest elapsed time to Berlin via Iceland. All the cheap seats were gone, and I hate to pay retail. But, I needed a booking. The International departures are on D concourse, the far end of the airport, where I have not yet traveled. The departure was scheduled for 7PM (1900hrs EDT). The day before, I wanted to check in and the website reported that there was no such reservation. That really bolstered my confidence. I called the airline and after a significant hold time, the agent confirmed my reservation under my last name: DAVISIII. I am the 3rd. But this was a new one. The recommendation was to be at the gate 3 (three) hours before departure. Given the lapse of the confirmation on the website, I thought that I better be present since I could not miss this window.

I arrived at the appropriate three-hours before departure, checked the one bag to avoid the $60 fee and had my carryon inspected to ensure that it would fit under the seat.

In photo two below, you can see about 200 passengers milling about, past 7, with no plane in sight.
Waiting at Gate 12, BWI Airport for WOW Air departing for Iceland, 29 August

The plane from Iceland landed about 15 minutes late and took about a half hour for everyone to unload. With virtually every seat filled, off we went. I took a shot from the aft end of the plane during the flight. Seemed like it was 100m long. 

The plane landed in Iceland around 0500hrs. There was a mad scramble to make the connection to the Berlin flight since we had one hour to get through immigration. Actually, that worked out reasonably well as all the agents were on auto-stamp. 

My seat on this leg was one row from the back of the bus. I was in a middle seat, but the gate agent had told me that while she could not change my seat, the aisle seat was empty. Great news! I hoped. So, I was counting down the minutes before they closed the hatch and here comes some guy who probably tipped the scale at 4-bills. Oh no! 

Fortunately, he had the very last two seats on the back row. Whew. Close call. 

Now, off to Germany. It’s about a 2.5-hour ride. There are absolutely no amenities. Including water. You can rent an iPad if you want to watch whatever they put on it. 

The planes are new and clean Airbuses. All the flight attendants must have to meet a height requirement of 6’2”. I guess this allows them to handle the overhead bins or play on the company basketball team.

The return trip had its interesting moments. So, the flights leave Shoenfield (STX) Terminal D. Basically, it’s a hanger. They had two people checking in 200 passengers. Not one to like standing in line, there were no options but standing in line for an interminable period of time. I would add a caption, but Blogger doesn’t like leaving things where you put them. 

The layover in Iceland was a modest 1.5 hours, with huge lines for the fast food purveyors. What was interesting was the 25 people, dutifully standing in line at the water fountain to fill their bottles. And, you had to go downstairs to find the fountain. 

Back on the plane, heading West. 

The only event of significance was an altercation between two passengers. The flight attendant separated the two family members. 

Back in Baltimore, waiting for baggage, I struck up a conversation with the five flight attendants. We concurred that based upon the speed at which random bags appeared, there must have been one guy on the tarmac. I suggest that they hire more people since they proport to actually be in the black. I’m not so sure. This might be a good stock to short. 

Now, for some real fun, you’ve got to read this poor sap’s experience and why he’ll never fly WOW again.

Why I will never fly WOW Air and neither should you

As for me, well, maybe. And, maybe not. 

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