When Wow Air heads back into the skies next month, it’s going to look rather different than its no-frills predecessor.
After announcing its plans to acquire and relaunch the Icelandic low-cost carrier, which ceased operations in March leaving hundreds of passengers stranded, USAerospace Associates told AFAR about some ambitious upgrades to the Wow Air flying experience.
“Our goal is a premium economy experience from the first row of the aircraft to the back galley,” Michele Ballarin, chairman of USAerospace Associates and of the newly reborn Wow Air LLC, told AFAR in a statement. Ballarin said that the aim is to “make flying fun again.”
How so? For starters, Wow Air’s inflight menus are being created by chef Roger Wiles, who was featured on the cooking and travel series Great Chefs. His focus will be on innovative and clean cuisine using fewer processed ingredients, carbs, and sugars.
Wow Air is also partnering with Viennese coffeehouse Julius Meinl to provide the coffees and teas onboard, as well as with Italian gelato maker Sano Gelato to serve up the creamy iced treat inflight. Onboard duty-free will feature Icelandic products, such as Omnom Chocolate and the organic skincare line Soley.
The premium treatment won’t just be reserved for the skies. Wow Air is working to develop a passenger lounge for all of its passengers at both of its hubs—Keflavík International Airport (KEF) in Iceland and at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). The airline is also planning on integrating biometric boarding procedures using facial recognition technology, and it also wants to develop the ability to send passengers a text letting them know that they can board. Luggage will get radio-frequency identification (RFID) bag tags so that passengers can track their own bag on a mobile device, something airlines like British Airways and Delta have also started to do.
The company has hired a creative director, Gunnar Hilmarsson, who has been charged with designing the flight attendants’ uniforms.
It all sounds lovely, but it also has us wondering whether all these fun extras mean the end of Wow’s notoriously cheap $99 flights to Iceland. When we asked about airfares, the carrier’s new owners said simply, “Wow Air will maintain low-cost fares.” They added that carry-on will be included. We’re not entirely convinced, but we remain hopeful.
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Michelle Baran Michelle Baran is the senior travel news editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, pandemic coverage, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.