Usually, when you show up at an airport, a delay is the worst-case scenario. If you’re really unlucky, the flight will be cancelled and rescheduled. It never crosses your mind that the entire airline might suddenly collapse and go out of business. But that’s what happened to passengers expecting to board low-cost WOW Air flights today. In a statement on its website, the Icelandic budget carrier announced its immediate closure, and advised passengers to book new flights on other airlines.
Stranded passengers described hectic scenes at Toronto Pearson airport to CNN last night as the flight from Toronto to Reykjavik was cancelled at the last minute. No accommodations or refunds were provided to the passengers, who only heard about the airline’s collapse this morning.
According to the airline, passengers with travel insurance, or who bought tickets from a European travel agent as part of a packaged tour, may be protected. It also hinted at compensating passengers “in accordance with European regulation on Air Passenger Rights,” but didn’t go into detail. If the airline declares bankruptcy, passengers will be entitled to file a claim with the administrator or liquidator.
Other airlines, like EasyJet and Norwegian Air, are stepping in to ease the negative effect on passengers. Icelandair is offering discounted fares for passengers stranded while traveling to or from Iceland, as long as they have already departed on their trip, and the flight falls between March 28 and April 11.
The airline’s collapse was reportedly due to long-standing financial difficulties. Although WOW was slated to merge with Icelandair last year, that deal fell through, and a solid restructuring plan never really got off the ground.
H/T: Lonely Planet