This is sad to see, but appeared inevitable for some time now. WOW Air is (was?) an Iceland-based carrier that provided low-cost service between many cities in the US and Europe. Their purple planes stuck out amongst more bland liveries at airports. However, they’ve been in financial distress for quite some time. They failed to get a deal done with two different airlines as a last resort in the past week, which meant they were pretty much out of moves.
Well, this morning it appears that they have canceled all flights. There really shouldn’t be much surprise here. Even with some last-minute reorganizing Monday and Tuesday, the airline hadn’t outlined any path forward to a cash infusion. Without cash, the engines won’t turn.
IcelandAir has some rescue fares for people holding current WOW Air tickets. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t expect any refunds from WOW Air. Your credit card company is the most likely place to get a refund, they generally plan for eventualities like this with the airlines.
However, stranded passengers aren’t yet out a lot of money, given WOW Air’s low-cost model. Where the pain will come is when they can’t find a cheap flight last-minute to replace the one they purchases on WOW Air.
The Final Two Pennies
Just a few days ago I encouraged folks holding a WOW Air ticket to start hunting for a backup option. Hopefully, you had a stash of points or miles that you used to secure a backup option and this news won’t ruin your vacation like so many others. I suspect there will be a bunch of unhappy people waking up this morning.
WOW Air isn’t the first low-cost carrier to fail recently, which is sad for passengers. Prices on flights between the US and Europe have dropped dramatically over the past 10 years. I’ve seen plenty of friends take advantage of these cheap flights who might otherwise never have been able to plan a trip to Europe based on the cost. Norwegian Air remains the largest low-cost carrier connecting the US and Europe right now, and they’ve had their own financial concerns. I sincerely hope we’ve seen the last low-cost carrier fail for a while. These low fares have changed the way people think about travel. That’s a good thing, even with the sad ending of WOW Air today.
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