WOW Air flew from the Icelandic capital Reykjavik to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for the first time on July 13th. The flight will fly four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (This will increase to six weekly flights during the peak summer season, according to Dublin Live). WOW will operate the flight on its Airbus A321 aircraft.
Speaking to Irish press, Svanhvít Fridriksdóttir, Director of Communications at WOW said that, “We are thrilled to be able to offer our Irish passengers more affordable travel to transatlantic destinations and to continue our mission to offer the lowest fares across the Atlantic,” He continued, “With its unique history and attractions, and the city’s deep ties to Ireland, it’s easy to see why Chicago appeals to Irish travelers. We’re delighted to add it to our route list and are pleased to be able to make the city more accessible than ever before.”
“This announcement is great news for the City of Chicago and O’Hare International Airport. I want to thank WOW Air for choosing Chicago as its first central destination in North America,” said Ginger Evans, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation. “This new service is estimated to generate approximately $80 million in annual economic impact for the Chicago region and will boost tourism and business for both the cities of Chicago and Reykjavík.
Chicago is WOW’s eighth destination in the United States, and tenth in North America. WOW already serves New York, Boston Washington DC, Toronto, Montréal, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh.
This new route, along with routes opened by Norwegian earlier this year, can be trouble for American carriers. While WOW and Norwegian can boast trans-Atlantic flights costing $400-$600, airlines from the U.S. can charge up to $1000 for a coach seat to Europe.
However, United president Scott Kirby shrugs off the competition. “It’s my perspective that that’s either a business model that they change over time or they go away because you can’t produce the kinds of losses that they produce and stay in business.”
Though routes to London may be in trouble for budget airlines, WOW’s routes to Iceland will probably remain for the time being. WOW is one of the only carriers to offer nonstop flights from Chicago to Reykjavik.