In Brief

Wow Air collapses: what to do if you are booked to travel

Cash-strapped Icelandic budget airline grounds all aircraft, leaving thousands stranded

Icelandic budget airline Wow Air has abruptly ceased trading, stranding thousands of passengers in Europe and the US.

The airline, which ran flights from London to the US via Reykjavik for as little as £99, grounded all of its aircraft early this morning after the collapse of 11th-hour talks with investors to secure financial backing.

The company, which Sky News describes as “heavily indebted”, had also suffered from bad press over its no-frills service, which Travel Codex described as “notoriously horrible”.

Wow Air later confirmed in a statement that it had “ceased operation” and cancelled all future flights.

What can affected passengers do?

Wow Air has said that ticket-holding passengers will need to arrange travel with other operators.

However, “some airlines may offer flights at a reduced rate, so-called rescue fares, in light of the circumstances”, the statement adds. “Information on those airlines will be published, when it becomes available.”

According to Yahoo News, many customers “took to social media in disbelief on discovering their flights to and from Iceland had been cancelled”.

Passengers covered by various protected booking methods, “including booking by credit card or through a European travel agent”, should try to get their money back from them, says the BBC.

The Daily Telegraph’s chief consumer editor, Nick Trend, adds: “If you paid by credit card (and the fare was over £100) you will probably be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.”

However, Trend adds that Section 75 will only cover a refund of the money passengers had paid for the original fare on Wow Air, and will not help them get home if they are stranded abroad, forcing them to pay for a new flight.

Yahoo says that around 1,000 staff members would also be laid off as a result of the collapse of the budget carrier, which is the “latest in a string of airlines to fail over the past two years – as oil prices have risen sharply in a competitively priced market”. The airline follows Monarch Airlines, Primera Air, Flybmi and Air Berlin into recent liquidation.

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