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Struggling Icelandic airline Wow Air finally collapsed in dramatic fashion this morning – reportedly still selling tickets just minutes before the announcement. The chaotic nature of the collapse has left thousands of passengers stranded and many more facing the prospect of being left out of pocket.
Wow has put out the following statement, which is unlikely to provide much joy for affected passengers:
End of Operation of WOW AIR
Information for WOW AIR passengers
WOW AIR has ceased operation. All WOW AIR flights have been cancelled.
How will I reach my destination?
Passengers are advised to check available flights with other airlines.
Some airlines 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.
What are my rights?
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.
Where can I get up-to-date information?
This announcement will be published and continuously updated on the following websites:
– Icelandic Transport Authority: www.samgongustofa.is / www.icetra.is
– Keflavik Airport: www.isavia.is/en
– WOW AIR: www.wowair.com
– Posted at all relevant airports
General information about passenger rights can be found atwww.icetra.is
If you are stranded, the first thing to do is check whether your travel insurance covers this type of event. Icelandair and Norwegian are offering discounted ‘repatriation’ flights, so get in touch with them to see if they can help you out, though do of course check all the other options too.
If you haven’t flown yet, you’ll still obviously want a refund, which could unfortunately be tricky if you booked direct with Wow, given its financial situation. If you used a credit card though, your credit card company should be able to sort things out. Travel insurance isn’t always as useful as you might hope in these situations – whether you are covered or not really depends on the details of your policy.
Low cost carriers (particularly long haul ones) are really struggling at the moment and this is far from the first collapse we’ve seen over the last couple of years, and it may well not be the last.