Founded by Skuli Mogensen, Wow Air operated between Iceland, Europe and North America, offering short and long-haul routes for travelers

By Dave Quinn
March 28, 2019 11:05 AM
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Credit: JOEL SAGET /Getty

Wow Air certainly lived up to its name on Thursday, when they announced they had stopped operations permanently and canceled all of its flights — stranding passengers who had booked with the budget carrier.

The Icelandic airline — which began business in 2012 — informed customers of the change via a travel alert on its website. “Wow Air has ceased operation,” the notice read. “All Wow Air flights have been canceled.”

Passengers planning to fly on Wow Air were advised to check rival airlines for available flights, which may be offered at discounted prices. “Some airlines may offer flights at a reduced rate, so-called rescue fares, in light of the circumstances,” the company wrote. “Information on those airlines will be published, when it becomes available.”

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Wow Air
| Credit: Yuriko Nakao/Getty

As for refunds, that depends on how the customer paid.

Flights purchased as part of a package tour from a travel agent in the European Economic Area are protected under the Package Travel Directive, Wow Air said, meaning those customers can contact their travel agent to arrange an alternative flight.

Everyone else? Not so much. Travel protection bought directly from the airline may grant passengers some ability to “claim compensation and assistance due to delays or travel disruption,” Wow Air wrote, but “such compensation is often limited.”

If a credit card was used to pay for the flight, that company might have a level of protection too and issue some form of a refund, Wow Air said.

Wow Air might also be on the hook for paying back its customers. “Passengers may also be entitled to compensation from WOW AIR, including in accordance with European regulation on Air Passenger Rights,” they wrote. “In case of a bankruptcy, claims should be filed to the administrator / liquidator.”

In the wake of Wow’s announcement, many stranded passengers took to social media to share their horror stories.

Founded by Skuli Mogensen, Wow Air operated between Iceland, Europe and North America, offering short and long-haul routes for travelers.

The carrier was known for offering low prices and adding charges for things like checked baggage and seat selection.

Wow had been in financial trouble as of late, after a deal to be bought by rival carrier Icelandair Group fell through in November.