WOW Air have cancelled all of their flights, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. If you’ve got a ticket for a WOW Air flight, here’s what you need to know.
It’s official; WOW Air are bankrupt and have cancelled every last one of their flights. The closure of the airline happened overnight, with very little warning. In fact, just yesterday, it was looking like they had sealed a deal with their creditors to keep them afloat.
Sadly, it was not to be, as they couldn’t finalize the terms of the agreement satisfactorily. As a result, thousands of passengers woke up to the news that they would no longer be flying with WOW.
The suddenness of their departure has left many passengers’ travel plans in tatters. If you’re booked on a WOW Air flight, you can be certain you will not be flying on a pretty purple plane. However, the silver lining is that you may not be left out of pocket, nor may your trip have to be cancelled.
If you booked with the airline directly
As the airline has ceased trading, you won’t be able to claim compensation from WOW directly. However, you may be able to get some of your cash back, depending on how you paid for your fare.
- Paid by credit card? If you’re from the UK, you’ll be covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. As long as some of your fare was paid for using a credit card and the total cost of the booking was over £100, you may be able to claim back your money. Talk to your credit card provider to make a claim. In the US, refunds will depend on your credit card issuer’s policies; talk to them to find out more.
- Paid by debit card? Although you’re not as well protected as if you’d paid on credit, debit card companies will sometimes refund your money through the ‘Chargeback’ scheme. This scheme can also help if your trip cost less than £100 and was paid for by credit card. It’s not a legal requirement, simply a perk offered by some companies, so do talk to your card issuer to find out if you’re protected.
- Paid by PayPal? PayPal offer a buyer protection scheme which endeavors to refund your money in the event that the service or item is not provided. PayPal will then attempt to claim it back from the other party. Lodge a claim through your PayPal dashboard within 180 days.
Simple Flying were contacted by Alastair Douglas, CEO of UK credit experts TotallyMoney. He said:
“Providing the purchase was above £100 — and you used a credit card to book directly with Wow Air and not through a third-party booking site — you should be able to get your money back under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
“Using a credit card responsibly and not spending beyond your means offers you a bit more protection, which can prove invaluable in situations such as this. The trouble is, many customers aren’t sure what they’re entitled to under Section 75.
“Lack of knowledge of these situations often leaves consumers out of pocket, thinking there’s nothing to be done, when really that’s not the case.
“If in doubt, the best thing to do is speak with your credit card provider. You might be surprised at what you could get back.”
Although many of us fly without trip insurance (silly us), those of you who do should talk to your insurer as soon as possible. However, don’t be surprised if they refuse to pay out, as many policies are invalidated if the airline goes into administration.
If you booked through a travel agent
If your flight on WOW was booked through an ATOL registered travel agent or tour operator, you can relax. It’s down to the travel firm to organize new flights for you, as well as to look after you if you’re stranded overseas.
If you’re at home and are yet to fly, you may be offered a refund instead of alternative arrangements. But, if you’re stuck overseas don’t worry, as your travel agent will get you home as planned, albeit with an alternative airline.
If you’re stranded abroad with no ATOL protection
If you’ve booked through a non-ATOL agent or have booked directly with the airline, it’s advisable to start looking for available flights with other carriers. Some airlines may offer up repatriation flights at reduced rates to stranded travelers. In a statement on their website, WOW Air have said:
“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.”
Passengers who have already embarked on their trip can secure discounted return tickets, thanks to help offered by Iceland’s flag carrier airline, Icelandair. The offer is only available to passengers with a return flight booked with WOW Air between today (March 28th) and the 11th April.
Their offer prices are:
|To/From Europe||USD 60|
|To/From North America||USD 100|
|Europe-North America/North America-Europe (VIA Keflavik)||USD 160|
These special fares are available to selected destinations. Specifically, these are Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Oslo, and Paris in Europe, and Boston, Edmonton, New York, Toronto, and Washington in North America.
To book a rescue flight with Icelandair, passengers need to complete a form here first. They can then call the airline on +354 50 50 200 from Iceland and Europe or on +1(800) 223 5500 from North America to make the booking.
What about compensation?
In terms of claiming compensation for the cancelled flight, or if you were due a delayed flight payment from WOW, the chances of getting your money back are slim to none. You can become an ‘unsecured creditor’ of the airline, but you’ll be at the back of a very long queue of people who want money from the administrators.
Are you stranded because of WOW? Have you managed to book a ‘rescue flight’? Tell us your story in the comments below.