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Wow Air fails, passengers stranded


Wow Air, the splashy but struggling Icelandic discount airline, has cancelled all its flights and told passengers to get home however they can. The end came after a year of cutbacks, and two failed attempts to sell the airline.

A message posted on the airline's website says “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. Information on those airlines will be published, when it becomes available.”

Passengers who paid with credit cards are likely to be able to get refunds, but due to Wow's low fares and the last-minute circumstances, they will not cover emergency fares home. There is also coverage for those who bought packages from agents in the European Economic Area, which has a coverage plan for package travel. Again, that will benefit mostly those who are not already on trips.

Wow, founded by Icelandic tech entrepreneur Skuli Mogensen, started up in 2012, but made its big headlines starting in 2015 with rapid expansion, purple planes, and stunningly cheap base prices for flights between Europe and the U.S., always with a stop in Iceland.

In the middle of last year, a cash crisis forced the airline to drop some flights and let go of some planes after first trying for a merger with rival Icelandair. When that failed, it turned to Indigo Partners, a U.S. equity firm that invests in airlines, but negotiations recently failed. The final collapse was so sudden that tickets were still being sold up to hours before the announcement.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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