Icelandic budget carrier Wow Air suddenly ceased operations this morning. Canceled its flights, leaving passengers stranded on both sides of the Atlantic. The shut-down is the latest in a string of such occurrences airlines are having as the aviation industry weathers fierce competition and shifting business models.
Primera Air ceased operations in October 2018. In February, German airline Germania filed for bankruptcy and British airline Flybmi stopped flying.
The airline announced the closure in a statement on its website today, advising passengers to book new flights on other airlines. Some passengers may be eligible for compensation. Digital firms, such as AirHelp, may be able to assist with claims against the airline.
Wow executives advised passengers to check available flights with other airlines that may offer flights at a reduced rate, so-called rescue fares, in light of the circumstances. Information on those airlines will be published, when it becomes available.
Passengers whose ticket was paid with a credit card are advised to contact their credit card company to check whether a refund of the ticket cost will be issued.
Passengers who bought their ticket from a European travel agent (within the European Economic Area) as a part of a package tour (a package which includes flights and accommodation or other services) are protected by the Package Travel Directive. Those passengers are advised to contact their travel agent to arrange an alternative flight.
Passengers who may have bought travel protection, or those passengers whose credit card terms may include such protection, may be entitled to claim compensation and assistance due to delays or travel disruption. However, such compensation is often limited.
Passengers may also be entitled to compensation from WOW AIR, including in accordance with European regulation on Air Passenger Rights. In case of a bankruptcy, claims should be filed to the administrator / liquidator.
Repatriation fares will be available at a 25 per cent discount off economy net fares, subject to availability. The fares are available for travel until April 8, 2019. Wow Air customers must be able to show a valid Wow Air booking on the following overlapping routes:
• LGWBOS (Gatwick-Boston)
• LGWJFK (Gatwick-New York JFK)
• CDGBOS (Paris CDG – Boston)
• CDGJFK (Paris CDG – New York JFK)
• CPHJFK (Copenhagen – New York JFK)
• AMSJFK (Amsterdam – New York JFK)
• ARNJFK (Stockholm – New York JFK)
• BCNEWR (Barcelona – Newark)”