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"Wow fuckin WOW:" Hundreds of passengers stranded after WOW Airlines suddenly shuts down

WOW replaced its website Thursday with a travel alert that the company had shut down and cancelled all flights.

by Emma Ockerman
Mar 28 2019, 3:51pm

WOW Airlines, champion of cheap flights to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon and other favorite locales of Instagram influencers, left hundreds of passengers stranded at airports across Europe after the company suddenly went out of business.

WOW replaced its website Thursday with a travel alert that the company had shut down and cancelled all its flights. Now, customers don’t know how to get their money back, fly home, or take their scheduled vacations without dropping serious cash on a last-minute ticket.

The Reykjavik-based company, founded in 2011, isn’t offering refunds on tickets and told passengers to check with European regulators or credit-card companies if they wanted their money back. WOW was still allowing passengers to purchase tickets just hours before shutting down, according to Business Insider Nordic.

Naturally, tensions were running high, and disgruntled customers took to Twitter to take out their aggression.

“Fuck you! Canceled our flight to Paris and still charged us for bags etc, had us waiting for hours at the airport sayin our flight was delayed! wow fuckin WOW,” one Twitter user wrote Thursday.

Another Twitter user, who'd been scheduled to leave for Iceland tomorrow, apparently, wrote: “Fuuuuuuuuck. I'm supposed to go to Iceland tomorrow and WOW Air went under and cancelled all flights. Fuck fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckFUCKFUUUUUUCKCUFUCKfuckauCUFCKFUCKFUCKcckck.”

WOW going out of business isn’t that unusual for a small airliner these days. Multiple budget airlines, like Flybmi and Primera Air. have shut down over the past few years.

In WOW’s case, a big investor backed out of talks to save the company. But in general, fuel is expensive and the skies are crowded with tiny planes, which drives the prices of tickets lower as airlines compete for the limited set of customers that have the time and money to fly to Europe. It’s simply becoming less efficient to operate a budget airline.

That could be a bit of a blow to countries like Iceland, which saw a massive bump in tourism due to cheap flights. Last year, 30 percent of tourists visiting Iceland flew with WOW, according to NBC, and the airline’s collapse could spark a 16 percent drop in tourism.

Some Icelanders might be pleased, though. Although tourism has revitalized the nation’s economy, it’s also driven housing prices higher.

Cover image: Picture taken Sept.12, 2017 shows an aircraft of Icelandic airline WOW that is parked at the airport in Schoenfeld, Germany. (Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)