On Thursday morning, the travel plans of thousands of Irish people were thrown into complete disarray after Iceland’s Wow Air announced that it was immediately ceasing operations and cancelling all flights.
Some people who contacted The Irish Times had made their bookings just hours before the announcement was made, while others had been planning trips to Iceland, the US and Canada for many months only to find out with days to go before scheduled departures that they had been left high and dry.
Here are just some of those stories.
“My family and I booked a flights to Iceland for April 21st to 25th because he had to go to our baby’s cousin’s christening, and now we can’t go. It’s a disgrace, it was going to be the first time I’d see my cousin, and now I probably won’t see him until Christmas. I’m so mad. I also bought a dress that was really expensive and now I can’t wear it.” Lucy O’Donovan, Cork
"Me, my husband and two sons had organised to fly to Iceland with Wow from April 19th to 23rd. I had booked two rooms in a hotel through booking.com and we had also organised a rental car. Unfortunately I choose to reserve two non-refundable rooms in the Reykjavik Centre Plaza hotel. I have been in contact with them but they won't budge. They say they have to adhere strictly to their no-refund policy. AA travel insurance won't pay out either as it is the airline that has cancelled the flight, not the hotel. I pointed out that it is virtually impossible to get a flight to Iceland at Easter now so we cannot avail of our hotel booking, but they remain resolute. I paid by Visa debit so there is no hope of a refund from the bank either." Jenny Curran, Galway
"I booked return flights with Wow to travel home to Ireland from Toronto. My Mom isn't well which is why I was planning to head home in May to help out. I'm in a junior role here as I'm fresh out of college so as you can imagine being out pocket $900 is a lot of money for me. I am very pissed off about the whole thing. Reluctantly rebooked the flights on Aer Lingus for an inflated price." Amy McGreal
"I booked a round trip from Dublin to Reykyavik just last night (Wednesday) for the May bank holiday weekend. I was aware of the situation but risked it - paying €200 instead of around €500 with Icelandair. I have now booked flights with Icelandair this morning at a cost of almost €600. I had accommodation and tickets for a gig booked and paid for already so I had to go ahead with the break." Thomas Duffy.
"We had booked to go Iceland for Easter weekend and also took annual leave days from work for the trip. Our flight was meant to be in three weeks but we have not been contacted by Wow about the status of our flight (although it is obviously cancelled). We had activities booked in Iceland which we've no idea if we should cancel now. We're at a complete loss because the only other direct flights for our dates are €1,000 which we obviously won't be able to pay for the trip. We don't know if airlines are going to release more flights or if we are entitled to compensation on top of our flight refund. We have literally been left in the dark about the whole situation." Geraldine.
"My friend and I are students who were heading to our Stanford-in-Berlin study abroad programme when Wow Air delayed our flight by four hours and proceeded to cancel it completely. We will now be late to our programme and are forced to pay over three thousand dollars in last minute tickets from other airlines in order to make it to Berlin as soon as possible for our studies." Bao Phan, Michigan