WOWAir Ceases Operations: End of an era for the airline

WOWAir, the Icelandic low-cost carrier, has been in a massive financial crisis. They need immediate liquidity to stay afloat.  Icelandair and WOWAir struck a deal last year, but the deal went south. Reports came in that Indigo Partners would invest in WOW Air, but nothing materialised and they also left the building.

WOWAir had initially closed five destinations in the USA including New York JFK and Dallas. WOW Air reduce its fleet. They also returned the sole Airbus A330 in their fleet. Following this, WOW Air has zeroed out flights to New Delhi, Chicago and Los Angeles later in January.

WOW Air to Delhi

WOWAir also had some of their aircraft being seized by lessors, which is a poor state to be in front of customers. Now, running out of money, the airline has grounded all their operations till the time they have money to operate.

If you turn up on their website, you notice,

We will add more details as they emerge, but for the moment, it does not look like there is much you can do except take a full refund. For instance, here is one case of a very long layover.

Update: WOWAir could not secure emergency financing, and they are now closing down for good. In the latest alert on their website, they have advised that WOWAir flights have been cancelled for good, and you need to find your own way home.

For stranded passengers the airline advised:

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.

The airline has advised passengers to recover their funds from credit card companies, who can do a chargeback or tour operators, who are protected under European Package guidelines. Or that they may be entitled to compensation from WOWAir, but they have to wait for liquidation. Here is the complete advice.

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.

So long WOWAir, it was good to have you around while you were around. 

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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