WOW It’s All Over: WOW Air Shuts Down Overnight Leaving Thousands Stranded, Icelandair Makes A Special Offer To Fly Them Home

Oliver Holzbauer [CC BY-SA 2.0], from flickr
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WOW Air took the ultra low-cost carrier market by storm with round-trip fares between North America and Europe via Iceland for as low as $140 and round-trip fares between North American and Israel via Iceland for as low as $220.

Not surprisingly, it wasn’t sustainable.

They have been cancelling routes left and right though. Service to Israel ended in October, though they said it would resume again in June. Many North American destinations were axed as well.

In November, they agreed to sell themselves to Icelandair for $18MM, but that deal fell through.

WOW shut down operations overnight, stranding thousands of passengers.

Luckily, Icelandair is offering to fly passengers home at a discounted rate of $60+tax between Iceland and Europe, $100+tax between Iceland and North America, and $160+tax between North America and Europe. Icelandair is even including a free carry-on and checked bag with this fare. You must have a return ticket on WOW between today and April 11 to be eligible for this offer.

To book the discounted fares, you can call Icelandair in Iceland or Europe at +354 50 50 200 or in North America at 1-800-223-5500.

If you have a ticket on WOW for future travel you may eventually be able to get a refund from WOW during bankruptcy, but you should contact your credit card ASAP to dispute the charge and try to get it refunded that way.

Next time, airlines should think twice before claiming their food is kosher when it’s not 😉

Did you fly on WOW? Are you sad to see them go? What will be the next airline to shut down?

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43 Comments On "WOW It’s All Over: WOW Air Shuts Down Overnight Leaving Thousands Stranded, Icelandair Makes A Special Offer To Fly Them Home"

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My family had only one ticket used on WOW btw East Coast and Israel – incredible fare. Only issue was going warm weather to warm weather, only to disembark on the tarmac in Iceland with snow falling and no jacket.


I liked the airline

While it was the Spirit of the international airlines, it’s planes looked brand new with much more legroom than spirit

Sorry to see them go.


Winston Churchill a little amended ‘the way you treat the Jews is the way God treats you’


WOW, I am stranded in Iceland !!!!


So all these low-cost carriers came around, and introduced such amazing ideas like charging for a drink, first checked bag, selecting a seat, or getting your boarding pass at the airport on international flights! (do they charge for using the bathroom yet?) Then the legacy airlines decided it’s a cool way to make some more money by selling “economy basic, lite, and all the other fancy names” fares which are so cool, you get to actually pay the same price you always did, and now you have the privilege to pay $60 (each way!) if you want to take a couple of changes of clothing on your transatlantic trip!
Then one by one these low-cost carriers are going down the drain, and left us with a such a big mess of the legacy carriers, it’s no longer possible to clean it up….
The end.


It is not really that they were charging for everything separately, it is that they broke it down so you select what you want. I have been travelling for years with only a legal sized roller. why should I pay the same as someone that used to travel with suitcases?

I can concede that the main point you raised is correct, travel became a mess.


This is insane, at least for me! I was about to book a flight last night with them for July, but did’t get to it. Luckily, I didn’t.
Although, I’m sad to see them going. I flew with them several times to tlv for very cheap.


Wowwwwwwwww! No duh!

Ah well



Lady at the gate: “Sorry, Wow air has been cancelled this evening”.

Customer: “That’s too bad. When is the next flight to New York?”

Lady at the gate: “I didn’t say your flight was cancelled. I said that the airlines is cancelled”.

Arye her

WOW I mean just WOW


Too bad. They were a far better airline than Spirit or any of the European ULCC’s.

The only thing they had in common with Spirit and RyanAir was charging for everything.

Their seats, employees, and overall pleasantness of the flight were at least as good (probably better) as the Big3 US airlines.


Legacy carriers are laughing all the way to the bank…

They have cut base fares due to competition, but also started “basic economy.”

With less competition, they will be free to raise fares again… while of course still charging for bags and seat assignments on international flights.



You can try booking a better experience with the legacy carriers of the great socialist airliners.


Barry Reiner

I wonder how many people have Pesach plans affected by this.

Ed Travel

Two days ago I made a continuation of a Wow trip 🙁 Now I need to make to Iceland somehow…


Any suggestions if I already booked an airbnb, car, and other tours…? Layover or something?

Mr. Frugal

I flew on WOW in Jan. 2018 for $350.00 round trip from EWR to TLV. I brought my own food and water. Only a under the seat carry-on (no extra charge). The flight from Keflavík to TLV wasn’t as full so I had a row to myself! If you didn’t give in to their nickle and dime attitude it was a nice flight for $350! There downfall was this. Once a passenger needs to pay for the overhead or checked baggage then it wasn’t worth flying them. They drove customers away! I also flew EasyJet from TLV to Luton. The crew was more pleasant and less nickle and less dime!


Dan, can you write an article about the future of LCC’s, particularly European ones? They seem to be falling like dominos!


They are failing because there is only so many times when people want to pay for bad service.

LCCs can be and in some cases are very profitable. Southwest is probably the USAs most successful airline.


I remember Tower Air, back in the 80’s, and how they treated us paying passengers like garbage. I can give you 100’s of examples. I flew with them to Israel a few times, but then switched over to Air France and Lufthansa. Any so-called “discount” airline that abuses its paying costumers, will have a very short life. I never flew with People’s Express, so I can’t comment on their short tenure.


People Express was pleasant. But it was a looong time ago.


Except WOW didn’t abuse its customers. We had a pleasant experience with them last year.


I assure you that Wow did not treat their customers like garbage, or abuses it’s paying customers.

From a pricing standpoint, their business model was like any ULCC.

But from how the employees conducted themselves and how they treated passengers, they were much more Southwest than Spirit.


I flew Tower Air a few times in the 80’s and 90’s and while in the 80s they had many delayed flights they were better later on in the 90s, and they had decent service. Tower Air wasn’t a low cost carrier per sey ,they had cheaper flights but it was a full service airline..




Grandpa (bless his heart) was wrong.


I flew with the KEF-ORD, only had a backpack, it was great, except their boarding process was a complete mess, I’ve never see such chaos before, worse than Ryan Air in Venice, which was also bad.

World Traveler

I flew with WOW from JFK to TLV. We took two suitcases and paid for it, brought along our own food and drinks that we issue for in duty free. Wouldn’t do it again because I believe that it’s worth paying a little more and knowing you’ll have a little more. It was a nice flight though. Flew with Azerbaijan Air on the way home from that trip. Highly recommend it. Just make sure you reserve yourself some kosher meals, because they do have, though it’s hard to find in their website.
Happy travels!


The thing about Wow and their exuberant fees for baggage allowance, when I did the math comparing them to a nonstop ElAl or United flight the difference wasn’t large enough for me to go with Wow. I know others have mentioned that Wow was only a “steal” if you didn’t purchase the extras. I saw that clearly, as at times Wow was only $100-$200 RT cheaper than a comfortable nonstop flight with a meal and drinks and carry on + checked bag, just not worth it in my opinion.




My experience with Wow was positive. They weren’t trying to pull anything over on anyone. They were very clear about what the fare included and what it didn’t. If it fit your needs, you understood the risks, and stuck to the agreement, it was comfortable and the staff were nice

Acabou o doce

Bad news now that they are caput. Reasonable airline flew with them tlv to yyz. Was a last second trip and saved me tons of money. Rip

The Mel

I brought my kids home from Israel for pesach on Wow for under 509 each RT. My son thought it was all right and enjoyed it. My daughter complained about charging for water, although I told her I saved 800 on the fare you coud afford to buy a lot of water. Or refill at airport. They made unscheduled stop in way back for fuel, and I laughed because when I flew el al in the 70s they always made unscheduled stops.

But I was wondering, what if wow has merged with whizz?


I flew them TLV NYC, very nice staff. Takk Fyrir!


When Air Berlin went out of business, I disputed my tickets with chase immediately. A few weeks later Air Berlin issues me a refund as well. Made some good money on that one;-)