Readers who have flown transatlantic with Wow Air will probably consider this Icelandic carrier too no-frills for comfort.
My son, a fan of low-cost airlines (LCCs) , is happy with Norwegian (transatlantic) and Easyjet/Ryanair (short-haul), but baulks at flying with Wow. It’s not just because it’s a longer flight via Reykjavik but because Wow charges for every conceivable amenity… too many in fact.
Indeed Wow’s CEO Skull Mogensen regularly boasts both in the media and at conferences that his airline’s goal is to earn more revenue from ancilliary fees than from the fare [price] alone.
Now it appears the Indian government will compel Wow to provide free water to its passengers when it launches Delhi flights in December.
The news was broken by the Business Standard’s Arindam Majumder who was reporting on Wow’s intention to provide (paid-for) Indian cuisine on its Delhi route.
It was apparent that Wow will be providing free water onboard but *only within Indian airspace.*
It is unclear whether or not free water would be provided for the remainder of the flight.
Why this particular restriction? It’s believed that the instruction has come from the Indian government which only has jurisdiction within its airspace.
Maybe the Indian government has heard about Norwegian’s experience when it launched flights to Bangkok.
Elderly Thai passengers (who were visiting their children in Scandinavia) wailed to local media that they had to forgo food and water on the ten hour flight because a) if they had cash they discovered Norwegian was a cash-less airline and b) if they had a credit card they found Norwegian’s onboard card readers wouldn’t accept Thai-issued cards.
Following these revelations Norwegian (long-haul) changed its policies.
Today a senior Norwegian executive told Business Traveller that “I believe free water (not bottled) is a minimum for LCCs [especially long-haul] as there could be health risks associated with not providing it. So it makes sense.”
But Indian travellers have a choice. Why fly Wow when there so many indirect options to North America with direct and indirect airlines?
It’s because Indian travellers are wooed by keen fares and the Indian government may not want its citizens to be inconvenienced by Wow’s no-frills service.
Wow Air has provided Business Traveller with the following statement:
“Wow Air is a European low-cost, long-haul carrier and therefore operates in accordance with EU aviation regulations, which stipulate that LCCs are not required to distribute water free of charge.
“However, for our new route to DEL we will be providing complimentary water as passengers embark and will continue to give all passengers the option to purchase additional bottled water throughout the duration of the flight.”
Wow Air has been in touch and added the following:
“Wow Air operates in line with EU aviation regulations which stipulate that LCCs [low-cost airlines] are not required to distribute water free of charge.”
“However for our new route to Delhi we will be providing complimentary water as passengers embark and will continue to give all passengers the option to purchase additional bottled water throughout the duration of the flight.”
“Wow Air accepts only card payments (Visa/Mastercard), except American Express, so passengers flying from India should have no problem using their credit cards on board.” [This therefore suggests that cash payments will not be accepted on board]