Iceland’s WOW Air plans to bring its cheap, no-frills fares to DFW International Airport next spring, giving North Texas travelers nonstop access to an increasingly popular tourist destination and a connecting gateway to nearly two dozen European cities.
WOW Air is the first of a new breed of international ultra low-cost carriers to land at DFW Airport. This group of European airlines, which includes Norwegian Air, represents a small but fast-growing segment of the trans-Atlantic market, with their low fares — one-way tickets to Europe can start under $200 — causing headaches for major domestic carriers like American Airlines.
WOW Air will launch its three-times-weekly service from DFW to Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport on a seasonal basis beginning May 24.
From Reykjavik, travelers will have nonstop access to 21 European cities in France, England, Germany, Spain and several other countries. In Iceland, they’ll be able to visit a country that has seen a boom in tourism with about 1.8 million visitors in 2016, nearly double the figure from 2014, according to the Icelandic Tourist Board.
The company said one-way fares will start at $99 to Reykjavik and $149 to connect to European cities.
Founded in 2011, WOW Air launched its first service to the U.S. in 2015 and has since expanded to eight cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. WOW plans to add service to four other U.S. cities next year.
WOW Air’s low fares come with the caveat that nearly everything besides the seat costs extra, a model that’s familiar to anyone who has flown Spirit or Frontier airlines.
That includes fees starting at $39.99 for a carry-on bag, $59.99 for a checked bag and $6.99 for a basic seat assignment. Food and drink also cost extra.
WOW Air’s CEO Skuli Mogensen said the company weighs a number of factors when choosing new destinations, including the number of international travelers and the overall size of the market. The goal, he said, is to stimulate demand for international flights through lower prices.
“Our mission is to enable everyone to fly,” Mogensen said. “The way to make that a reality is to lower prices to a point where it actually becomes affordable to everyone. We work very hard every day to make that reality come true.”
WOW Air’s flights will depart DFW on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 4:10 p.m. and arrive the following day at 4:45 a.m.Flights from Reykjavik to DFW depart at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving at 12:45 a.m. the following day.
Mogensen said the airline always keeps an eye toward growing its presence once it has established service in a market, a strategy that could come into play at DFW.
“So far, nine out of 10 times, we end up expanding fairly rapidly,” he said.
Presented by the Dallas Morning News, September 6