The Icelandic budget airline Wow Air just announced that it is shutting down, effective immediately. A travel alert posted on its website today put it bluntly: “Wow Air has ceased operation. All Wow Air flights have been cancelled.”
The carrier has been in a financial bind for a bit. Last December, it announced that it was slashing 111 jobs–one month after a potential acquisition by Icelandair fell through. At the time, that left about 1,000 employees at Wow–all of whom are without jobs today.
Wow flew to over 23 destinations around the world and was known for offering extremely cheap fares (for instance, a transatlantic one-way ticket for $49). The airline had at least 14 departures scheduled today out of Iceland’s Keflavik airport scheduled today–all of which are cancelled.
To make matters worse, it seems the company is unable to give automatic refunds to all of its customers. In its travel alert, Wow told customers to contact either their credit card or travel agent to try and get a refund.
The instructions went on: “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.”
For now, stranded passengers should try and get a refund as quickly as possible and, of course, find a new flight.
It seems the budget airline industry is in a bit of a crisis. Wow Air is only the latest airline to shut down operations. Primera Air went bust late last year, and the U.K.’s Monarch Airlines closed up shop in 2017.