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United Airlines and American Airlines are feeling new heat from WOW air

Lewis Lazare
American City Business Journals

United Airlines and American Airlines, the two major carriers operating internationally from Chicago, are facing new competitive threats from WOW air, the Iceland-based ultra-low-fare carrier that flies nonstop five times weekly from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland and onward to a number of European cities. WOW said today it is launching an extended winter sale with rock-bottom $69 one-way fares from Chicago to Reykjavik, an increasingly hot tourist destination, and $89 one-way fares to a number of European cities, including London (LGW), Amsterdam (AMS), Copenhagen (CPH), Dublin (DUB) and Frankfurt (FRA). WOW is the same kind of threat internationally to the likes of United and American that ultra-low-fare carriers such as Spirit Airlines (SAVE) and Frontier Airlines represent on the domestic front. Both Spirit and Frontier are aggressively expanding their route systems in the U.S. and offering low-ball fares.