WOW Air has been on the rocks financially for a while now. Talks about a buyout by another airline have been in the works, including the potential for fellow Icelandic airline Icelandair to buy out WOW, which has been on the table twice. Icelandair has now made it clear that a deal will not happen, and with the current talks with Indigo Partners about a potential buyout falling through, WOW’s time may be close to an end.
On Sunday, one of WOW’s aircraft was repossessed in Montreal. The airline then started cancelling numerous flights, including those to Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and London. I’m not sure if there is any hope for WOW, and we could certainly see the end of the airline in short order.
WOW is known for offering crazy sales to Europe, including fares for $69 one-way to a number of destinations, one of which I almost jumped on last year. The budget carrier charges you for everything, offering a business model similar to RyanAir or Spirit where they simply sell you a seat and then you pay a la carte for everything else. This model has worked well for the latter two airlines, but WOW has not seemed to be able to make it work.
What should passengers do if booked on WOW?
If WOW does collapse and cease operations, it is unlikely that they will be issuing any refunds for fares paid by passengers, as they will be completely out of money. At this point, I would be a bit worried. For this reason, I would absolutely be paying for a trip on either WOW or Norwegian with a card that has good trip cancellation insurance coverage, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
While trip cancellation insurance should cover you, you could also initiate a charge-back on your credit card if WOW does not issue you a refund. Since WOW sold you a ticket and then didn’t provide the service, your credit card company should cover it. However, this is a unique situation, as the bank may have a tough time getting the money back from an airline that has defaulted.
For now, I certainly wouldn’t book on WOW. Which sounds terrible, as this will just increase the death-spiral of the airline, as passengers look elsewhere due to their financial troubles.
Featured image courtesy of Milan Nykodym under CC-BY-2.0 license.