Why passengers stranded by the collapse of Wow Air will likely never see a refund from the airline

  • The Icelandic ultra-low-cost airline Wow Air ceased operations on Thursday, stranding hundreds of passengers around the world.
  • Wow Air’s shutdown also left those who have reservations with the airline stuck without flights.
  • AirHelp CEO Henrik Zillmer said passengers shouldn’t count on refunds from the airline, and financial experts have advised going through credit-card or insurance companies.

The Icelandic ultra-low-cost airline Wow Air ceased operations on Thursday, stranding hundreds of passengers around the world and leaving those with reservations stuck without flights.

They’re likely to be out some money as well.

“Passengers should not count on assistance or refunds from Wow Air,” said Henrik Zillmer, the CEO of AirHelp, a company that helps passengers claim compensation for canceled or delayed flights.

“Claims are usually the last items to be paid out in bankruptcy estates,” he told Business Insider.

Instead, financial experts advise travellers to seek refunds through their credit-card company or, for those fortunate enough to have travel insurance, the insurance company.

Read more:
Wow Air shut down and canceled all its flights – here’s how travellers can get their money back

“The best chance consumers have for getting their money back hinges on whether they purchased travel insurance, or purchased their tickets with a credit card that offers travel insurance,” Arielle O’Shea, a personal-finance expert with NerdWallet, said in a statement to Business Insider. “Travel insurance may cover financial insolvency or bankruptcy. You typically must file a written claim within 60 days of the incident, and be ready to show all receipts and the cancellation notification from the airline.

“It’s a tedious process that won’t resolve the issue overnight, but it’s worth it to recover the ticket cost,” O’Shea added.

Read more:
Wow Air has shut down. Here’s what went wrong, according to the company’s CEO.

Wow Air ceased operations after failing to secure investment from Icelandair and the private-equity firm Indigo Partners. Last year, the airline laid off 111 employees and dumped its fleet of Airbus A330 wide-body airliners in an attempt to reduce costs.

In the first nine months of 2018, the airline’s losses more than doubled, to $US33.6 million from $US13.5 million in the same period in 2017, even as revenue surged by 31%, to $US501 million.

David Slotnick contributed to this story.

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