Iceland’s debt-ridden low-cost carrier, WOW AIR, has ceased operations. As of 28 March 2019, all WOW AIR flights have been cancelled and stranded passengers have been told to book new tickets on other airlines.
Icelandair, the country’s other major airline, has been offering discounted tickets to stranded passengers. Meanwhile, affected passengers that booked with a credit card may be able to apply for a credit card chargeback.
Since 2012, now-defunct WOW AIR ran low-cost flights between Iceland and many destinations across Europe and the United States. The business model largely relied on selling dirt-cheap trans-Atlantic tickets between Europe and North America via Reykjavik. WOW has regularly offered sale fares across the Atlantic for around $100 – well below cost. As is often the case with low-cost airlines, it relied heavily on ancillary income to make money.
WOW AIR had come under recent criticism from passengers for poor service and on-time performance. The airline was also infamous for hidden extra charges – some of which would put even Ryanair to shame. These included forcing passengers to pay for a seat when checking in online and charging for carry-on bags.
Sadly, the writing has been on the wall for WOW AIR for a little while. The airline has never made money and has been struggling to find new investors. The airline had been in recent takeover talks with Icelandair and Indigo, but these fell through.
With extreme competition and rising fuel prices, many European airlines have gone out of business in recent months. Germania, flybmi, Primera Air and Cobalt Air have all recently gone broke, as well as Airberlin and Monarch in 2017. Norwegian Air, which too operates low-cost trans-Atlantic flights, has also been struggling.
India’s Jet Airways has also been struggling lately. Jet Airways has already had to ground aircraft as a result of its debt and the CEO stood down last week. There is some speculation that it could also soon collapse.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: WOW Airlines Cancels All Flights [End of Operation of WOW AIR]