3 Links I Love: WOW Gets Crazy, Hawaiian Stories, United’s New Coach Seat

This Week’s Featured Link:
Iceland’s WOW air eyes first foreign hub, Asian routesch-aviation
I can’t say this news about WOW is making me all that bullish on the airline. It has exploited Iceland’s geography to build a massive connecting hub between North America and Europe. I don’t see that as sustainable in the long run as aircraft technology improves, but it’s a perfectly good option now. But WOW is now talking about a secondary hub in someplace warmer. Good luck with that. And new Asian flying? Where is that supposed to connect to over Iceland? It sounds like an airline that’s grown beyond its niche and is now desperately searching for something that’ll work.

Two for the road:
Hawaiian Airlines’ celebrates 88th anniversary as it soars in to the futureJourneys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer
This nearly 17-minute podcast starts off slow, but it gets really interesting. I’d never heard the story at the end from Hawaiian’s historian about a DC-3 attacked by the Japanese. It sounds like this was recorded in the Kahului Airport around the A321neo inaugural.

United Airlines’ new “Aspire” economy class seat takes flightWandering Aramean
United has a new coach seat that just started flying. Anyone sat in it yet?

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14 Responses to 3 Links I Love: WOW Gets Crazy, Hawaiian Stories, United’s New Coach Seat

  1. JB says:

    Looks like those new seats will serve to Aspire you to book business class next time. And they are going in 3-4-3 on the 777 :(

  2. A says:

    I personally have not paid much attention to WOW and not really sure how they differ from IcelandAir. That being said I did notice they serve former hubs like St. Louis, Cleveland and Cincinnati. I’m sure they work well in those markets with little or no competition. For Asia where is their hub going to be? HNL is the only mid-point place where you can really copy the KEF model. Or are they going to fly all the way into Japan from under served and forgotten US cities? Does that even work with the A330-900? And does Cleveland have demand for Asian flights? DTW isn’t far away and has a bunch of directs all over Asia. Agree this sounds foolish.

    • Oliver says:

      > For Asia where is their hub going to be?

      Maybe DUT? ;)

      How do they get traffic rights for a hub in another country?

  3. J Walter says:

    WOW flights to Asia aren’t that crazy. They’ll need a plane with 6000+ mile range (12 hour flights are exponentially tougher than their current ~9 hour max down to LAX) and KEF is apparently strained, but KEF is on a reasonable GC line from the US to a couple Chinese cities, BKK, and India.

    • B says:

      From To
      KEF SIN 7,181 mi
      JFK SIN 9,537 mi
      2 segment path:
      JFK KEF 2,593 mi
      KEF SIN 7,181 mi
      9,773 mi (+2.5%)

    • Sam says:

      Yup. If you’re going one-stop from the US East Coast to Singapore, doing it via KEF is a shorter flight path than connecting anywhere in the Middle East, Europe, or US West Coast.

      http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=jfk-kef-sin,+jfk-lax-sin,+jfk-dxb-sin

      • Sam says:

        That said, I think the place for skepticism is if customers are willing to tolerate their low level of service on a 12 hour flight. I did EDI-KEF-BWI last fall and those (relatively) short hops pretty much maxed out my patience for paying for water, no entertainment, etc.

    • Kilroy says:

      I played around with the GC mapper and struck gold… KEF is exactly on the GC route of JFK-BOM (Mumbai, India). I wonder if WOW might be able to target the leisure crowd heading from the US back to India to visit friends and family.

      JFK – BOM = 7,799 mi
      JFK – KEF (2,593 mi) + KEF – BOM (5,206 mi) = 7,799 mi

      As an aside, I find it a little surprising that “BOM” is still used as an airport code, even if it does derive from Bombay. Must lead to some occasional awkward confusion in the airports.

      • JB says:

        Yeah, ORD or MDW is crystal clear for Chicago. (and yes, I know they comes from it’s old name of Orchard Field and, the battle of Midway). I doubt BOM causes confusion. It’s not like there’s another city in India called Bombay that people keep showing up at looking for an airport!

      • Bill in ATL says:

        After the cities in India changed their names, there was not a code that worked with the new names. So they stuck with the old ones. Same reason Beijing’s code is PEK.

        • tharanga says:

          I suspect the point isn’t that Bombay is an old name, but rather that BOM sounds rather like ‘bomb’.

  4. Harvey says:

    I’d imagine that WOW are looking more at Asia-Iceland travel rather than connections. According to the tour operator I used in Iceland, there are a growing number of Asian tourists visiting each year and it is currently an unserved region from KEF. Personally, I think Tokyo, Singapore or Seoul would work well and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them operate successfully.
    As for a foreign hub, I think they’d be better off keeping excess aircraft in KEF over winter; their reliability is notoriously low in winter, and having an aircraft or two spare to pick up slack can’t be a bad idea. Plus this downtime allows them to do heavy mainainance, and if they really want to put the aircraft somewhere else there’s always the option of leasing them out for the season. But they must have their reasons for choosing a foreign hub so I guess we’ll wait and see.

  5. Sean S. says:

    WOW plans only seem crazy if you forget about Finnair, which has also positioned itself as the gateway to Asia for European’s by virtue of its location when you look at a great circle map. As someone else posted, the distances are not crazy, and if they are able to funnel people cheaply from America to destinations in Asia which would require multiple stop overs, then why not?

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