Following the announcement this morning that Icelandic LCC WOW AIR has ceased operation and that all flights have been cancelled, the airline has published some information for affected travellers:
How will I reach my destination / get home?
Passengers are advised to check available flights with other airlines. Norwegian, easyJet and Wizz Air have already announced ‘rescue fares’ to assist stranded passengers and other airlines may soon offer these flights at a reduced rate.
This latest airline collapse is likely to leave approximately 5,000 long-haul trans-Atlantic passengers stranded; several thousand Europeans, who are in Iceland on short-haul breaks, are also now without a return flight. Hundreds of thousands more passengers with future bookings are affected and may not see their money back.
Am I protected?
Passengers who bought their air ticket 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.
WOW Air – a sign of the times
WOW Air joins a list of several low-cost carriers that have ceased trading recently, all of them citing financial difficulties. The list includes:
- German airline Germania declared bankruptcy on 4 February 2019
- Lithuanian airline Small Planet ceased trading on 28 November 2018
- Cobalt Air, based in Cyprus, ceased operations on 17 October 2018
- Belgian airline VLM announced bankrupcy on 31 August 2018
- Primera Air, based in Denmark – although founded in Iceland like WOW – ceased operations on 1 October 2018.
This announcement will be continuously updated on the Icelandic Transport Authority website(samgongustofa.is ) and the Keflavik Airport website (isavia.is/enand) and will posted at all relevant airports. General information about passenger rights can be found at icetra.is.