Wow Air Abruptly Shut Down, Stranding People in Boston and Elsewhere

The company behind those outrageously cheap flights to Europe is no more.

Photo courtesy of WOW Air

Wow Air, the Icelandic company that offered extremely cheap flights to Europe, has abruptly shut down, leaving passengers adrift in Boston and other cities on both sides of the Atlantic.

In what looks like a nightmare scenario for travelers, the airliner announced on its website Thursday that all of its flights have been grounded, and that there is more or less nothing they can do about it. A message on the site advises customers to find tickets on another airliner (they may offer “reduced rate, so-called rescue fares,” the company says), try to get refunds from credit card providers, or use travel insurance to cover the costs. It also said some passengers may be eligible to file a claim for compensation with the administrator of Wow Air’s bankruptcy.

Customers venting on social media say the abrupt closure came as a shock. Some have reported learning about it on the internet. One outraged passenger in Boston said fellow travelers were being treated “like cockroaches or garbage.”

The airliner, which popped up in 2012, offered shockingly inexpensive trips to Europe, including $69 flights from Boston to Paris, Brussels, Stockholm, Dublin, Berlin, London, Copenhagen, and Edinburgh—so long as you were fine with a layover in Reykjavik. There were additional fees tacked on for other amenities, but a savvy and flexible traveler willing to pack light could save some serious money flying Wow.

But it all, apparently, came crashing down today. The Associated Press reports that Wow flights were grounded in Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Detroit, New York, and Baltimore. In Europe, passengers were impacted in Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Copenhagen.