(WPRI) — Travelers expecting to fly using WOW Air got a notice Thursday morning that the airline would be ceasing operations.
Passengers were left stranded across two continents without flights after WOW Air released a statement on its website saying that all its flights have been canceled.
“I get a message saying, ‘Flight canceled.’ Then I try to figure out what’s going on and some lady at the desk tells me, ‘Oh, they [WOW Air] just went bankrupt,'” stranded traveler Enzo said.
WOW Air began operations in 2012 and was known for its cheap flights between North America and Europe.
Last year, Iceland Air agreed to buy WOW Air, but the deal collapsed and the airline wasn’t able to secure new investors.
The CEO of WOW Air sent a letter to his employees and apologized, saying he will never forgive himself for not taking action sooner.
“Airlines come and go. It’s not unusual in this business,” Matthew Balsamo, travel agent at Donovan Travel in East Greenwich, said Thursday night.
Balsamo, like WOW Air, advised anyone affected to check other airlines for discounted fares.
“There are other airlines who have reached out and are assisting people,” he explained.
Iceland Air announced it is offering special fares for stranded WOW passengers, as is United, Norwegian, and Aer Lingus.
Those left stranded said they are frustrated with the situation, and despite some discounted fares, the solution is still expensive and inconvenient.
“We are trying to figure out how to get home. We live in Boston, Massachusetts,” traveler Sean Tinscher said. “We’ve got to work tomorrow. So I don’t really think that is going to happen.”
Balsamo said he is not “terribly surprised” by the way the airline handled its’ sudden shutdown. He said this is exactly why his travel agency would rarely book with WOW Air.
“We tend to steer them [customers] toward vendors or companies that we think are reputable, so we don’t run into these kinds of problems.”
Passengers who used a credit card to purchase a flight ticket are advised to contact their credit card company to see if a refund will be issued.