WOW Air’s Record-Breaking Flight to LA Probably Wasn’t Much Fun for Passengers

Jan 25, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

For some enthusiasts, nothing beats the opportunity to be onboard a record-breaking flight, and the experience can be something to cherish for years to come — I can’t imagine that being the case for customers on this particular WOW Air adventure, however.

Ultra-low-cost carriers like WOW Air have one primary mission — to advertise the lowest possible base airfares while maximizing profits. That means fees for everything, bare-bones amenities and adding in as many seats as they can reasonably get away with. For Tuesday’s flight from Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF) to Los Angeles (LAX), that meant 218 seats squeezed into a new Airbus A321neo, in what was almost certainly the longest A321 passenger flight ever.

[Update, 3/28/2019: WOW Air has ceased operations. Find our ongoing coverage of WOW Air’s collapse, and what affected passengers can do about it, here.]

The A321neo is the newest version of the Airbus single-aisle twinjet, with new engines (hence the name, from “new engine option”) that stretch its range to 7,400 km or 4,600 miles. This flight to LAX pretty much maxed out the airplane’s capability. The A321neoLR or “long range” version, which hasn’t been rolled out yet, will have even more range. Such flights used to be far beyond the capabilities of the A320 and Boeing 737 single-aisle twinjets, but advancements in engine technology have brought impressive fuel economy.

Typically, WOW operates a wide-body A330 on its longest flights, including Los Angeles. Instead, this time around, passengers spent a whopping 8 hours and 40 minutes flying on a plane that’s most often found on much shorter hops to the Northeast, or to some of the airline’s destinations in Europe.

WOW’s narrow-body pitch starts at just 29 inches, compared to a (still-cramped) 31 inches on the more typical A330, which means a tight squeeze for anyone not paying to upgrade to the bulkhead or exit row. Still, the novelty of being on what’s likely to be the world’s longest A321 flight for some time to come counts for something, right?

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.