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Good morning everyone, happy Thursday. I just wanted to give a quick shoutout to everyone who attended the SF Travel Hackers March Meetup last night. I gave a presentation about my recent trip to Iguazu Falls, Argentina. I will work on getting that presentation turned into a blog post “soon”. In today’s post, I will show you how I used Google Flights to track a WOW Air flight from Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF) to San Francisco (SFO). I’ve always been interested in Iceland, and even more so after reading Whitney’s posts (Iceland & What I Wish I Had Known Before Going – Part 1 and Part 2).
I’ve been planning a trip to Iceland for the last few weeks and knew the dates I wanted to travel, but I just had to wait for the price to go down. One of the many great things about Google Flights is that you can track specific routes on specific days, and you can even track specific flights on specific days. I received the following email from Google Flights that the WOW Air flight I was tracking dropped from $469 to $263. Granted, this is not the cheapest possible WOW Flight I have ever seen, but the price was right for me so I jumped on the deal.
If you’re a stock investor, the below chart might give you nightmares, but if you are a savvy traveler waiting for a deal, the below chart might make your heart race. Overnight, the price of the exact WOW Air flight I wanted dropped by more than $200.
To quickly explain how Google Flights price tracking works, you need to be signed into your Google account and perform a search on Google Flights. If you like the day, but you don’t have a prefered route or airline, click the slider above the search results to track the prices. If, on the other hand, you found the perfect flight (non stop KEF-SFO in my case), you can click through to the booking page. Beneath the booking options, click the box to track the price. You will get an email anytime the lowest priced flight changes in price (either up or down). The emails might be sent real time or close enough.
You can also easily see all the flights you are tracking in one place. In the upper left corner, click the 3 bars, then click Tracked Prices. Make sure you have email notifications turned on.
Anyway, back to my KEF-SFO WOW Air booking. I clicked the link from Google Flights and it brought me to this page. By default, the language and prices were in Icelandic Krona, so I switched over the English and USD. The price, including taxes/fees, came out to $239.99 for my seat.
I skipped all upgrade options throughout the booking process and paid with my Citi Premier Credit Card. Now, it was time to add upgrades (seat assignment, carryon baggage, etc) to my reservation.
Depending on your route, the prices for upgrades will probably differ. Since KEF-SFO is a 9 hour flight (probably one of WOW Air’s longest routes), the prices are toward the higher end of the spectrum. Since I am going to be flying this route by myself, I wanted to get a nice comfy seat. Here is the WOW Air seat map, along with the color coded seat prices.
I checked on SeatGuru to see the reviews of the various seats. According to SeatGuru, the plane has 23 XL seats and 319 standard economy seats. The XL seats have 3 more inches of pitch (recline), so I decided to splurge and get the XXL seat with extra legroom for $60.99.
As for baggage, you are only allowed a free personal item on board. Carryon bags and checked bags cost extra. Here are the baggage terms (I bolded a few items for emphasis):
Included in the WOW airfare is one small personal item up to a maximum of 42x32x25cm / 17x13x10in, such as a small purse/backpack, laptop or a camera bag. Must fit under the seat in front of you.
WOW air guests can purchase allowance for one carryon bag, up to a maximum of 56x45x25cm / 22x18x10in, including handles and wheels. Checkin baggage and special equipment (skis, golfbag, bicycle, etc) are also available at an additional fee.
Use the size-gauges at the airport to measure your carryon items. If the personal item doesn’t fit it will be treated as a carryon bag. If the carryon bag doesn’t fit it must be checked into the hold according to standard price list.
Baggage allowance is not refundable, not changeable and not transferable. Cash is not accepted as a form of payment for baggage allowance and other services at the checkin counter. Debit and credit cards are accepted (VISA and MasterCard).
I’ve traveled all over Europe and South America with a carryon bag, so I decided to purchase a carryon bag for $50.99.
The total cost of my upgrades came out to $111.98. Instead of paying for that with my Citi Premier Credit Card, I charged the upgrades to my JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card. That card will reimburse up to $300 per calendar year of airline incidental charges (seat assignments, carryon/checked bags, inflight meals/Wifi, etc).
After paying with my JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card, the payments column reflects the upgrades purchased. The total cost of my one way flight si now $351.97. I considered flying Icelandair, but their prices were higher and they all had connections, whereas WOW Air was the only nonstop flight available.
I waited a few days for the charge to post (along with a cheese and cracker purchase from Alaska Airlines), then I called the JPMorgan Chase customer service number (best service in the credit card industry) and asked to have my WOW Air and Alaska Airlines purchases reimbursed. After a short hold, the agent processed the request and said I had $180.52 travel credit remaining for 2017. If I don’t spend that before my trip, I will take that on board my WOW Air flight to pay for inflight meals.
The $119.48 travel credit posted to my JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card 1-2 days later.
If you have any questions about using Google Flights or tracking a price; booking flights or upgrades on WOW Air; or about the JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!