What You Can Do When Your Airline Goes Belly Up
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
There are many unanswered questions left in the wake of an airline’s collapse. The latest example is WOW Air — the Icelandic low-cost airline that just announced it’s ceasing operations and canceling all flights following months of financial struggles. [Find more of our ongoing coverage of WOW Air’s collapse, and what affected passengers can do about it, here.]
The most pressing question for ticketed passengers is likely to be: “What now? How do I get home and how can I get reimbursed?”
The first thing you should probably do is call your credit card company and ask for a chargeback, which is a reversal of payment due to WOW Air’s failed delivery of the goods or services you paid for (in this case a flight). There’s no guarantee your issuer will reverse the charge, but it’s definitely worth trying.
You also can demand repayment from the air carrier itself, although you’re probably not going to be able to get in touch with anyone — and even if you do, WOW Air may not be able or willing to refund your money. When Danish low-cost carrier Primera Air suspended operations in anticipation of filing for bankruptcy in 2018, passengers reported problems getting their money back for route and flight cancellations.
Credit Cards That Can Help
You have the best chance of getting a refund if you paid for your flight with one of several credit cards that offer trip cancellation/interruption coverage. The amount of available coverage differs, as does the eligibility of members of your traveling party, but you should be able to file a successful claim with these cards:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Receive coverage up to $10,000 per person per trip. Coverage is available to the card holder and his or her immediate family. Chase specifically includes a provision in its coverage addressing the “financial insolvency of the Travel Agency, Tour Operator, or Travel Supplier whose services you booked.” It further defines a supplier as “a Tour Operator, occupancy provider, cruise line, airline, railroad or other Common Carriers.” The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers the same benefit up to $5,000 of coverage.
Help From the EU
The European Union requires that any EU carrier must compensate you if your flight is canceled by either:
- transporting to your final destination using comparable alternative means, or
- having your ticket refunded and, where relevant, returning you free of charge to your initial departure point.
WOW Air notes that passengers “may be entitled to compensation from WOW Air, including in accordance with European regulation on Air Passenger Rights. In case of a bankruptcy, claims should be filed to the administrator/liquidator.”
Find more of our ongoing coverage of WOW Air’s collapse, and what affected passengers can do about it, here.
Featured photo via Getty Images.
WELCOME OFFER: 30,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: up to $100 annual CLEAR statement credit, up to $100 annual LoungeBuddy statement credit, 3x points on travel and transit, 3x points on restaurants worldwide
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
- Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. and Permissible Biometric Scanning Technology terms: eye scanning, irises scanning and fingerprints scanning.
- Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network – no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required. Earn up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year on your LoungeBuddy purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $150 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees