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WOW Air Is Why You Shouldn’t Book Flights With Cash

By Victoria M. Walker

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WOW Air, the troubled low-cost carrier, announced in the middle of the night on March 27 that it had ceased all operations. The carrier struggled to stay afloat after Icelandair, Iceland’s flag carrier, announced that it would not acquire the airline.

CNN reports the failure has left passengers stranded on two continents. A man with a scheduled WOW flight out of Boston told WBZ that the airline made passengers feel “like cockroaches or garbage in their eyes.”

On WOW’s now-shuttered website, the airline advised travelers with flights on its airline to look for so-called “rescue flights” on other carriers. It also advised passengers who booked tickets using a credit card to contact their company for refunds. The website does not include any information about travelers receiving refunds from WOW directly.

Travelers who booked flights with a credit card can dispute the charge with their company. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers trip cancellation and interruption services for what it calls a “covered loss.” According to its website, that includes trips canceled or cut short by “financial insolvency of the Cardholder’s travel agency, tour operator, or travel supplier.”

Those travelers who booked travel insurance on Allianz, one of the largest travel insurance companies, are covered if the airline is on its “covered supplier list” and ceases operations due to bankruptcy.

But that same form of protection doesn’t extend to passengers who paid for tickets in cash.

Earlier this week, WOW made headlines after passengers were reportedly left stranded in Montreal and Cuba after its Airbus planes were repossessed. Last year, the airline scaled back flights from cities such as Pittsburgh, New York, and New Delhi apparently in an effort to save costs.
WOW is the second Nordic low-budget carrier to fold in less than a year. In October, Primera Air ceased all operations due to financing problems. It offered non-stop flights from Washington Dulles to London Stansted.

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Victoria M. Walker

Victoria M. Walker is an award-winning multimedia journalist and full-time lecturer in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at her alma mater, Howard University. She was previously the breaking news and viral content video editor at The Washington Post.

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