MSE News

Wow Air stops trading and cancels all flights – what you need to know

Wow Air stops trading and cancels all flights – what you need to know

Icelandic airline Wow Air has stopped trading and cancelled all flights this morning.

The budget carrier said earlier this morning it was postponing all flights while it concluded talks with investors, but now says flights are cancelled and that it's ended operations.

The airline connected Europe and North America via Reykjavik in Iceland. It had flights to and from London Gatwick, London Stansted and Edinburgh – it is thought its collapse could leave thousands of customers stranded.

If you're a Wow Air customer – read below for what you need to know if you were due to fly, are stranded abroad, or if you've already booked hotels, car hire etc.

I'm due to fly with Wow Air – what should I do?

If you've booked a flight, here's what you can try to get your money back:

  • Check if you have ATOL protection. ATOL is the name of the protection scheme run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

    Wow Air did not offer ATOL protection, however some passengers who were due to fly with it as part of a package holiday may have ATOL protection. The simplest way to check is to look at your booking – if you had ATOL protection, you should have been sent an ATOL certificate at the time.

    If you do have ATOL protection, the travel firm you booked with is responsible for your flight arrangements and must either find alternative flights, so that your holiday can continue, or provide a full refund. See our Holiday Rights guide for more.

  • Paid on a credit card and your flights cost £100+? Try Section 75. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you booked directly with a firm and paid on your credit card for a transaction costing at least £100, the card company's equally liable and you may be able to claim from it. See our Section 75 guide for more info and template letters.

  • Flights less than £100 or paid on a debit card? Try chargeback. Unlike Section 75, the chargeback scheme isn't a legal requirement, it's just a customer service promise. But it's worth trying and we've seen successful claims from people using this. You may be covered by the Visa, Mastercard or American Express protection schemes, and should be covered for the whole price of the flight. See our Chargeback guide for full details.

  • Try your travel insurance. It's worth seeing if your policy covers the airline going into administration – though many insurers won't cover you unless you have specific travel firm failure cover. Contact your insurer to check.

I'm stranded abroad – what should I do?

Wow Air is advising passengers to check available flights with other airlines. See our Cheap Flights guide for help on finding cheaper tickets.

Some airlines may offer flights at a reduced rate, so-called rescue fares, in light of the circumstances. We'll have more information on these rates when they become available.

For how to claim for your cancelled flight, see above.

What about hotels, car hire and other costs?

If you can't get to your destination because your Wow Air flight's been cancelled, you could also lose out if you've already booked accommodation or further travel – these are known as consequential losses.

First, check if you can cancel these bookings and get a refund, either as part of the T&Cs or as a goodwill gesture from the provider.

If that doesn't work, check if your travel insurance will cover you. Some fuller policies give you 'abandonment protection' for consequential losses – but it's not guaranteed. See our Holiday Rights guide for a breakdown of different insurers' policies.

Occasionally, we've heard of people trying Section 75 to claim for consequential losses (see above), but this isn't guaranteed, so don't bank on it.

I was due a flight delay payout from Wow Air – what happens now?

Unfortunately, you may find it difficult to get your cash. Passengers have struggled to get delay payouts after other airlines – notably Monarch – have gone bust in the past.

One option is to sign up to become an unsecured creditor – but again, you'll be at the back of a long line of people claiming.

What does Wow Air say?

A statement on Wow Air's website says: "Wow Air has ceased operation. All Wow Air flights have been cancelled."

It also gives guidance for customers and answers some FAQs.