A Special Look at WOW air’s A330 before the inaugural DFW-KEF flight!

WOW air kicks off a new era at DFW Airport today with the inaugural flight from DFW nonstop to Reykjavik!

Why a new era?

When people think of DFW Airport they usually think American Airlines.  It’s been a long time since someone has come in and shaken things up at one of America’s busiest airports, and WOW air did exactly that when they announced non-stop service between DFW-KEF.  Their move prompted an immediate response from Icelandair (which is to be expected) but surprisingly from American Airlines as well!  Within a few months DFW Airport went from having no service to Reykjavik to having three airlines making the journey.  What a refreshing situation for the frustrated “prison hub” captive passengers who have to watch all the other airports get the cool flights while we’re stuck with the same American flights!

WOW air is a no-frills airline which offers cheap fares with lots of options for passengers to purchase bigger seats, checked bags, etc., to customize their journey.  The first WOW KEF-DFW flight landed just after dark last night, causing a flutter of activity in the planespotter community here at DFW, nobody had seen the Big Purple Plane land at DFW before.  The first flight departs this afternoon from DFW but I was granted special access to join some local planespotters for an up-close look at the WOW air A330 in advance of the first flight, so get ready for some pictures!

Hard Stand

Just a note for everyone on this flight in the future: it will be what is known as a “hard stand” flight, meaning passengers will board a bus to ride to the jet then climb stairs to the aircraft.  The jet was ready and waiting for our little group, and most importantly our cameras, so we hopped on a little bus and made the quick journey from gate D12 to the waiting A330.

The beautiful exterior of the WOW air Airbus A330

I love the livery they chose, it’s immediately clear you’re looking at a WOW jet (with a profile view of a jet conveniently hidden in the logo) but it’s not an eyesore by any means.  I guarantee people were stopping to take pictures of the new jet making its first appearance at DFW (I mean besides us, obviously).

We had nearly unfettered access to the exterior of the aircraft, which gave me a unique chance to walk around the aircraft and explore some different compositions!

Ok I’m a sucker for this direct shot of the jet engine, that’s not a new composition.  This one is!

Of course they brought aircraft tail number TF-WOW for the inaugural flight, thought that was a nice touch!

Annoyingly I’m not on the inaugural flight leaving in an hour so this was as close to an Inflight Wing Shot as I could get.

The landing gear was meaty and sturdy looking, crazy how many landings those things can take!

I made my way to the front of the aircraft for some more epic shots.

And then I wanted to see how ridiculous it would look if I laid down directly under the nose and shot up with my super wide angle lens.  Trust me when I tell you I looked sufficiently ridiculous…actually you can see my reflection in the nose!

Before we made our way into the interior of the aircraft I found what I think was the perfect composition of the day.  Super happy with this picture!

WOW air Airbus A330 Interior

Airlines like this typically have a “sardine can” reputation so I was really curious how the interior of their A330 would look.  How would the interior shake out?  I knew to expect a pretty dense configuration but honestly I was pleasantly surprised!

Big Seats

The Big Seat section was basically the same as a domestic First Class or international Premium Economy seat.  Having just flown Premium Economy on British Airways last week I can vouch that it’s not a terrible way to cross the pond at all, much better than regular coach!

Big Seats were in a 2-3-2 configuration and had leg rests as well as double armrests, which are crucial.  Depending on the price to upgrade I would say it’s absolutely worth it, every bit of space helps!

Economy Cabin

The economy cabin is a mixture of Standard, Standard+, XL, and XXL seats.  They’re all basically the same seat with the location being the difference between Standard (back of the plane in the middle) and Standard+ (window or aisle seats) while legroom is the key difference between XL (lots of legroom) and XXL (lots of legroom) seats.  The jet we were on, TF-WOW, is one of their largest aircraft with capacity for 345 passengers.

Being one of the only people on the aircraft meant I had plenty of time for some really cool pictures of the interior!

As you can see the coach cabin is configured in a 2-4-2 layout.  Towards the back of the aircraft the middle aisle is reduced to 3 and 2 seats as the fuselage tapers towards the tail.

The obvious strategy here for WOW air is to tempt you with the nicer seat locations and more spacious legroom seats.  Their fares are low if you don’t mind sitting in the back in the middle but be careful as you’re shopping around and compare the cost of sitting in the seat you’d like to sit in against Icelandair and American.

The cockpit

I mean what good is an empty plane without a visit up front?

Final Thoughts

WOW air is a compelling option out of DFW.  They’re based out of KEF in Iceland and the flight schedule (arriving at 4:45am in Iceland) is designed to make for easy connections onward to Europe.  With Iceland becoming an enormously popular tourist and photography destination in the past 10 years having a direct option from DFW is very welcomed.  Having three options is even more welcomed!  Sure enough, fares have been incredibly low on these new routes as the airlines are fighting tooth and nail for passengers!

Ultimately I don’t see American lasting on this route.  WOW is flying an A330 while Icelandair and American will fly 757s.  I’m just not sure there’s enough demand for three airlines to profitably operate this route and I think American would pull out first (since it really doesn’t make any sense for them to fly direct to KEF).  Still, it’s good seeing American react to competitive forces every now and again!

Look, you need to know what you’re getting into when booking on a low-cost carrier like WOW air.  But as mainline carriers are taking the ax to their service levels again and again the low-cost carriers have an opportunity to shine, and WOW air seems ready to do just that.

I hope you enjoyed this first look at the WOW air A330, I wish I were flying on it this afternoon but I’ll be on my way to Iceland soon enough.  Many thanks to DFW Airport for hosting this special meetup and arranging for access to the jet!

 

Which was your favorite picture?  Have you flown WOW air?  What did you think?

4 Comments

  1. Very cool! I have my theories on just how long all 3 airlines will last on this route. I tend to think WOW will be out first since they can’t down-gauge to a lower-capacity plane for DFW. 345 seats is a ton of seats to fill and we know the ULCC model really only works with full flights. In time we will see!

    Reply
    • Will definitely be interesting to see how everything goes. I don’t think the early fares are promising from an airline perspective but it sure is great for the passengers!

      Reply
  2. I recently (April 25) had the pleasure of taking the inaugural flight from DTW to KEF, en route to CDG. It was festive (cakes and balloons at the gate!) and fabulous (comfiest seat ever, and I love those gorgeous purple uniforms and aircraft). I’d do it again without hesitation, and plan on it soon!

    Reply
  3. They have announced a KEF-DEL flight. They are hoping to get a chunk of US-India travel via Iceland.
    This may get interesting to watch in the coming days.

    Reply

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