What Should I Do If I’m Booked On WOW Air?

by Chris Dong

Early this morning, news broke that Icelandic low cost airline WOW Air went belly up. The nature in which it was handled certainly was highly suspect, leaving thousands of passengers and crew stranded in various cities across the US and Europe.

First thing you should know is that WOW has completely suspended its flights and that you will not be receiving a refund from the airline directly. That’s the bad news. But breathe, we’re here to help.

What To Do If You Are Booked On WOW And Stranded Now

Late Wednesday night, WOW grounded at least six planes in North America that were set to leave from Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Detroit, New York and Baltimore. In Europe, Iceland-bound planes from seven cities also did not take off on Thursday morning from Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt and Copenhagen.

There’s obviously much more urgency if you are currently stuck in a city because of WOW’s bankruptcy. WOW has basically said “good luck” in its statement.

Icelandair Rescue Fares For WOW Passengers

Icelandair has stepped in with “rescue fares” for those stranded by WOW. The airline is offering $60 fares to or from Europe, $100 fares to or from North America, and $160 fares for travel between Europe and North America via Iceland.

The fares will be available through April 11th for the following cities only:

  • Europe: Amsterdam Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Oslo, and Paris
  • North America: Boston, Edmonton, New York, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.

To book, passengers are being told to fill out a form about their cancelled WOW Air flight and then to call Icelandair at 800-223-5500 to complete their booking. Availability is probably limited but it’s great to see Icelandair step in out of goodwill.

What To Do If You Are Booked On WOW In The Future

  • Check to see if your credit card offers some kind of trip protection. Popular cards that have this include the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, among many others.
    • Call your credit card even if you don’t have coverage as you may be able to dispute the charge as a service that wasn’t rendered.
  • Check to see if you purchased travel insurance of any sort. Start the reimbursement process ASAP.
  • If you are in Europe and booked your flight as part of a vacation package, contact your travel agent as you may be protected under Europe’s Package Travel Directive.
  • If you end up needing to book your own flights, use Google Flights to find the lowest cost in their calendar view. If you only need a one-way, most full-service airlines charge more than the cost of a round-trip so keep that in mind when rebooking yourself.
  • Consider redeeming your points or miles on a flight, especially if you are in need of an expensive one-way.

Am I Covered If I Submit A EU Regulation 261/2004 Claim?

Probably not. Under normal circumstances, passengers may be entitled to compensation in case of a flight delay or cancellation if departing from an EU airport or operated by an EU carrier. Well, WOW’s bankruptcy basically means that these claims can’t be processed by the airline (even ones that were pending).

The Upshot

WOW Air’s financial situation was dire for months, but the way it handled its bankruptcy so abruptly is a huge disservice to passengers. In fact, WOW was still selling tickets right up to the moment it collapsed.

Low-cost carriers that have transatlantic operations are really struggling so we’ll have to keep an eye out if Norwegian Airlines will be the next LCC to bite the dust.

For now, will WOW’s sudden end of service affect you?

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