A WOW Air Review – Get the Lowdown

standard April 20, 2017 1 response

Please note: I am writing this WOW Air Review of my own volition after having experienced WOW Air at my own expense. 

WOW Air Review

A few weeks ago I got a call from my sister at 7 am that had me sitting at my computer 5 minutes later googling flights to Paris. From San Francisco. Leaving that morning.

Crazy, right?

Well, turns out, not so much. In fact, that’s how my love affair with WOW Air began.

I hadn’t even heard about Wow until that day. And yet, moments later I was booking a flight and getting ready to pack my bags.

Cost of the round-trip flight? Just under $500.

That’s right. I booked a transatlantic flight three hours before take-off and paid less than $500.

I have to admit that I didn’t waste much time questioning my luck. I booked, and hustled. In less than three hours I had to make childcare plans, prep school lunches, and pack a bag. It wasn’t until I was sitting at the gate that I paused to wonder if I’d gotten myself into a situation I was going to regret.

It’s one thing to fly a cut-rate airline when you’re going just a state or two away. It’s a whole other ballpark when you’re going to be traveling to the other side of the world and it’s going to take the better part of two days. That said, I didn’t exactly have a choice. Time was of the essence and I really didn’t relish the thought of shelling out $2k to fly a more “traditional” airline.

Turns out, I worried for nothing. Suffice it to say, I was so delighted with my WOW Air experience that I have since taken my whole family back to France with meWOW Air flights all the way!

I heard from a friend yesterday that it was hard to find a legitimate WOW Air review, so I’m sharing my experience with you all in case you’re intrigued by these ridiculously low prices and are worried you’ll be flapping your arms all the way to Europe.

The WOW Air Review: what to expect when flying WOW Air

1 – You get what you pay for

Everything on WOW Air has a price, from whether you can choose your seats to how much luggage you can bring with you. The price you see is the bare bottom price. Seat + personal item (aka purse or backpack). You can pay for each carry-on or suitcase, or you can “upgrade” to the other two fare levels (Plus or Biz to include the price of luggage etc.)  The four of us just flew to Paris and I purchased two “basic” seats and two “pro” seats so that we could bring two suitcases and two carry-on bags. It was perfect. (I did have to purchase my tickets in two different orders because I couldn’t select two different price points. I have a feeling this is a glitch that will be eventually addressed.)

You can purchase food and beverages on board for about the same price as on every other flight. (Pizza or sandwich for about $9.) Food was very adequate. Nothing is free. Not even water. They take all major credit cards. No cash.

2 – No TV screens or music

WOW Air is pretty minimalist, so no screens on the backs of the seats or music playing from your armrest. That said, you can rent iPad minis on board that come pre-loaded with a bunch of movies and games for $16. Considering the fact that on other airlines you sometimes have to pay $8/movie, it’s a deal and a half. Good movies too. With a few that are kid appropriate. Oddly enough, they seem to be partial to Benedict Cumberbatch movies, but who isn’t?

So far all WOW Air planes I have flown have had outlets at each seat, so no worries about running out of juice.

3 – Great staff

So far I have been delighted with the WOW Air staff, both at the airport and on the planes. They’re helpful, gracious, and polite. Way more so than some airlines I won’t mention. Plus, they wear uniforms that hail from the 1950’s and it’s beyond charming.

4 – They don’t mess around with carry-on luggage size

Every bag is carefully assessed when you’re checking in. Small “personal” items are tagged to go under the seat. Bigger items for the overhead compartment can be paid for, but must also meet weight and size restrictions. You will not be able to skate. If your bag doesn’t fit the bag sizer it will not go on with you. End of story. If your back-pack is too big, they will charge you. There’s something kind of nice about this no-nonsense approach to the whole thing. Maybe it’s my European blood, but I like a good rule enforcement.

5 – No boarding groups or such shenanigans

WOW Air boards planes on a first come first serve basis. (Except for families and people with special needs who are invited to board first.) They start boarding almost an hour before the flight takes off and, because they’re so strict about the carry-on situation there’s none of the usual overhead luggage drama that can sometimes make boarding so damn stressful.

6 – No first class – everyone in the same boat…er…plane

WOW Air considers all customers to be equal. So, good news, you can totally use the bathroom at the front of the plane! Need a bigger seat? You guessed it, you can buy one. Want to sit closer to the front of the plane? That’s right, you can buy that too.  Need extra leg room? Need I say it? Seat options can be found here.

7 – Iceland? Yes.

Every WOW Air flight lays-over in Reykjavík, Iceland. The Keflavík International Airport is small and somewhat reminiscent of a freshly built Ikea. There are limited options for food, but you can definitely find a couple sandwich options. There’s also a well stocked Duty Free store where you can purchase some Icelandic knits and stuffed puffins along with your booze and chocolates.

 

So, to recap, WOW Air is a minimalist airline that believes in only making people pay for exactly what they want. The seats aren’t overly plush, the offerings aren’t overly abundant, but for an incredibly reasonable price, you can fly to and from Europe quite comfortably.

Would I fly WOW Air again? I already have and am planning on doing so again soon.

Would I recommend WOW Air to a friend? Already have. And now I’m recommending it to you.

WOW Air Review

Please note: I was in no way compensated for this review. I am writing this of my own volition after having experienced WOW Air at my own expense. 

 

 

Come Pley with me!

standard December 5, 2015 Leave a response

All of my daughter’s clothing is piled high in two laundry baskets near the laundry room. Why, you ask? Ah well, that’s easy. It’s because her closet is packed to gills with toys. There’s a bin of doll food, and a bag of puppets. One shelf holds an entire Playmobil schoolhouse and another holds an assortment of building toys all jumbled together and virtually always ignored.

We can’t fit a dresser in her room because the walls are lined with an assortment of organization bins designed to hold (and organize!) even more toys.

Yes, yes, I know. It’s beyond high time I went in there with some big ol’ cardboard boxes and sorted through the mess to find toys we can donate or even just get rid of. But it’s a big job and it’s way down on my ever-growing to do list.

But it is one of the reasons I’m seriously dreading this holiday season. No matter how small the gifts end up being, I truly have no idea where we’ll stash them.

I’ve been working recently with a company that seems to have the perfect answer to my toy clutter situation.

Pley. 

Pley Logo

What do they do? Oh, simply enough, they rent toys.

That’s right. Rent. Toys.

You sign up for their service and, with your child, built out your “pley-list” of toys you’d like to receive. Then Pley sends you the first toy on the list. When you return it, they send the next one out.

Magic. No shelf space has to be dug up. Happy kids with new toys to capture their imagination. Delighted mom who doesn’t have to yell at anyone about picking up toys any more.

What kinds of toys does Pley offer? Mostly LEGO and other construction toys, but they have a few other options.

How clean are they toys? Super clean. Everything gets sanitized before it gets sent out.

What if you lose a piece or two? Eh, these things happen. Pley will replace the pieces before sending the kit out to the next person who requested it.

What if your kid falls in love with a toy and does that ear-splitting death screech when you want to return it? No problem, with one click of a button, the toy is yours. Finding a spot for it…that’s up to you!

So, when family starts to ask you what your kids want for the holidays and you start playing mental tetris with the toys they already have, think about asking for a Pley subscription. Then you’ll have many, many reasons to smile throughout the year!

Group_Shot (1)

 

Please note: Pley is a client of mine and I was compensated for this post, that said, I do adore their service and believe they’ve truly hit on one of the great parenting hacks of all time, so all opinions contained in this post are 100% genuine and mine. 

Visit a C Wonder store and #UnwrapWonder

standard December 18, 2013 1 response

Last week, as most of the people in the area hunkered down and tried to stay warm as temperatures plummeted way below what any of us are used to (hey, be nice, there’s a reason we live in northern California!) I wound my way south to spend the evening at a gorgeous new store called C Wonder.

A month ago I had never even heard of this glittering gem, today it’s high on my list of places to stop by and visit when I’m at Santana Row (a super swanky downtown area nearby with great restaurants and high end stores).

C Wonder is a neat mix of preppy hipster goods that range from clothing and shoes to home and personal accessories. It’s a one stop shop for any shopping you might need. I scored some cute earrings for a teen and some fun stocking stuffers for my kids. I have my eye on a great cutting board for myself and a cute dog collar for our new puppy.

The light in the store is amazing and I had a blast taking photos of all the bright festive displays.

As friends arrived to come shop with me I dragged them from display to display, showing off the monogrammed gifts, the cute clothes, the holiday decorations, even the bicycles (yes, bicycles!) that C Wonder sells.

To be honest, we did spend most of our time drooling over the jewelry. I’m more of a silver kind of girl, but even I was tempted by a few of the shining gold pieces on display.

And then there were the shoes… ah yes… even shoes!

Stop into a nearby C Wonder store and check it out for yourself. I bet you can find the perfect gift for that hard to shop for person on your list! Like… maybe a bicycle with a wine basket? (What? Don’t tell me there isn’t at least one person on your list who wouldn’t want to have a wine picnic!)

Please note: I was compensated for the time spent at the C Wonder store and for this and my social media posts. All photos and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Introducing The All New San Francisco American Girl Store!

standard November 14, 2013 Leave a response

My daughters and I were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the all new “San Francisco” American Girl Store yesterday. I put “San Francisco” in quotes because the store is actually in Palo Alto at the Stanford Mall, about 45 minutes south of San Francisco. The company researched the markets and found that most of their Northern CA customers were located in the Peninsula, not in the city, and if there’s anything the American Girl peeps want to do, it’s please their customers.

San Francisco has a much better ring than Palo Alto…

I’m not complaining. It’s much closer to home for us!

So off we headed after school, friend in tow, dolls clutched tight to excited chests. In the car they chatted about when they’d gotten their dolls, what accessories they had, what clothes. They futzed with their doll’s outfits, making sure they were ready for the visit “home.”

The chatter slowed as we neared the store. It stretched wayyyyy up into the gorgeous blue sky of an unseasonably warm November day. I had no time to get a good shot of the storefront; the girls were just too excited to wait.

That there is a November sky in the Bay Area. Lovely, right?

And then we were in. My girls had been to the American Girl Store in Chicago, but for their friend this was a first. The magic wasn’t lost on anyone. You have to love how you’re just never too old or too cool to be wowed by beautiful dolls in a beautiful setting.

Big tough 3rd Graders. Ha.

The store is significantly smaller than its Illinois counterpart, but it had all of the essential elements.  Doll salon, Bistro, endless displays of gorgeous dolls in adorable dioramas. And, of course, a book store, to hold all of the great AG books!

Doesn’t she look thrilled to be getting her hair done?
Such stylish place settings!

Some toy stores are mere places to buy toys; the American Girl store is a destination. It’s designed to make you want to walk around, browse, ohhh, ahhh, get your doll… well… dolled up, and stop for a bite to eat. But be warned, this store’s Bistro only seats 40, and 10 of those are at the “bar.” Reservations for tea or for parties are booked up through March already and with such few available seats you’re going to have to plan way ahead to take your doll out for tea. The food seems to be upscale “kid” food, with a few tasty “mommy” options, and the prices weren’t shockingly high. (Definitely par for the course for what you’ll find at other Stanford Mall eateries.) It’s a sweet little place, made to look like a doll sized old style diner. They even have doll seats so everyone’s “friend” can join in the fun. Didn’t bring your doll? No worries, they have loaners, even for mommy and grandma.

As for the book store, it’s not a big part of the store, but it’s where we spent most of our time. The stories are well written, and they really give you a great sense of who the dolls are supposed to be.

American Girl also seems to be cornering the market on young girl self help books. We went home with a guide about boys and a guide on challenging friendships… both of which went to school with my daughter today (together with a stack of post-its and a pen for intense note taking). The hair book for dolls and for girls has also been seriously earmarked and I’m sure will be put to work as soon as school lets out.

They thought I hadn’t noticed they were reading a book about boys. Silly girls.

Take your girls, heck, take your sons. Be ready to be begged for a lot of cute stuff, and be ready to want to shell out for it. You might even find yourself pointing out things your kids didn’t notice.

It won’t take long for you to understand why each doll costs $110. It won’t take long for you to come on board with spending that to bring one home. The dolls are high quality, they’ll last forever. And one day, it’ll be your child walking into one of these stores with her daughter, and odds are, she’ll be clutching that very doll to her chest, excited to find her some new outfits and accessories.

That’s the math book my girls will have in 4th grade. This one is doll sized.

Please note: I was in no way compensated by the American Girl company for this post. We were given a few books and a doll t-short to thank us for our visit.