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WOW Air ceases operations leaving thousands stranded

Passengers’ travel plans in chaos after talks with investors break down

Icelandic airline Wow Air has cancelled all future flights, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

The low-cost carrier made the announcement on Thursday morning. It was still selling tickets right up until 7am the same day.

It comes after talks with a US financier and rival carrier, Icelandair, broke down. Wow Air was heavily in debt and had been seeking a backer for months.

The carrier connected Europe and North America via Reykjavik, with UK flights serving London Gatwick, London Stansted and Edinburgh.

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Financial collapse

Wow Air said in a statement: ‘Wow Air has ceased operation. All Wow Air flights have been cancelled.

‘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.’

It added: ‘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.’

Your rights if your Wow Air flight is affected

If you are stranded abroad and had booked a package holiday that includes Atol protection you should be able to get a flight home at no extra cost, or a refund if you have yet to travel, but you will need to contact your travel agent to arrange this. You probably have Atol protection if you booked the flight and hotel through the same website at the same time. 

Passengers who booked directly with Wow Air will have to make their own arrangements to get home. First check whether your travel insurance covers scheduled airline failure. If not, look for special repatriation fares from other carriers – like Icelandair, which has set up a help page for stranded passengers. You may need to provide evidence of your booking.

Passengers who paid with a credit card may be able to claim a refund of their Wow Air ticket under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

For more advice see our guide on your rights if your airline goes bust.

Airlines going bust still selling tickets

Which? Travel has now found Primera, FlyBMI and Wow Air all selling tickets in the days and hours before bankruptcy leaving passengers completely out of pocket.

Passengers booking future flights can protect themselves by booking with a credit card or ensuring their travel insurance policy includes scheduled airline failure. Find out what you’re covered for with our travel insurance unexpected event cover reviews.

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