WOW Air, an often celebrated low-budget airline, announced it is ceasing service on Thursday. Though it may just sound like a bummer that one more budget airline is off the market, it’s turning into an actual nightmare for WOW Air passengers who are now stranded around the world with no way home.
“WOW AIR has ceased operation. All WOW AIR flights have been canceled,” the company wrote on its website.
As for what passengers should do to reach their intended destination, WOW Air offered this advice: “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.”
That’s it. As of right now, the airline won’t be issuing refunds and won’t be helping passengers further.
It did, however, note that there are a few things passengers could still do to get home without buying an entirely new flight.
Check with your credit card
“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,” WOW Air wrote.
Booked as a package? Call your travel agent
Te airline noted that passengers who bought an airline ticket from a European travel agent as a part of a package tour are protected by the Package Travel Directive. To ensure you’re protected reach out to the travel agent who helped book your travel to arrange a new flight.
If you purchased travel protection you should be all set
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, the airline added, such compensation is often limited.
According to WOW Air, passengers may be entitled to compensation in accordance with European regulation on Air Passenger Rights, however, that may take both serious time and money to fight and may not be worth it in the long run.
To make matters worse, it appears WOW Air was attempting to get people to purchase tickets right up until the moment it announced its collapse.
As Business Insider pointed out, Rory Boland, the editor of the UK consumer-rights charity Which?, tweeted that just two hours before Wow Air declared its collapse would-be passengers could still book — and pay for — tickets on the carrier's website.
Several passengers also took to social media to vent their frustration over canceled flights.
WOW Air began service seven years ago. Throughout its time the company became well-known for running insanely low flight deals to Europe, including $49 one-way fares and even ran a promotion for Valentine’s Day giving free flights to anyone named Valentine.
A family of four travelling over the bank holiday could have paid #wowair over a thousand pounds this morning to book flights the airline knew would never take off (or refund). It went out of business just two hours later. Complete and utter irresponsibility. pic.twitter.com/koDaCXEZNJ
— Rory Boland (@roryboland) March 28, 2019
@wow_air cancels flight to Dublin from Detroit at the last minute, looks like the company has gone bust. Any chance you can accommodate a family of four on @AerLingus out of Chicago or Tornado tomorrow the 28th. You would make this little girl Maeve very happy to see her cousins pic.twitter.com/jMnmWSh6zI
— Barrai Omuireagain (@BOmuireagain) March 28, 2019