Wow Air, the Icelandic airline known in the U.S. for incredibly cheap flights from North America to Europe, unexpectedly announced its closing this past Thursday, March 28.
The news that the airline was shuttering came via a post on the company's website, which informed passengers their flights would not be happening and advised they "reach out to other carriers."
The news came as a shock to many, especially the thousands now stranded around the world.
.@wow_air airline suddenly announced a cease in operations declaring bankruptcy and leaving thousands of WOW Air pa… https://t.co/KatSl6aHdY— TODAY (@TODAY)1553857856.0
In its early years, the airline recorded promising growth, with 37 destinations and "60 percent annual growth in passenger numbers."
It would seem this economic model would be unsustainable, however, and Wow recorded a 20% dip in revenue per passenger in 2017.
Before long, the company would be searching for a buyer.
@FiveThirtyEight Makes United look appealing— Michael Fiorelli (@Michael Fiorelli)1553869897.0
Planes were grounded in "Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Detroit, New York and Baltimore" on Wednesday.
Several more from "Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt and Copenhagen" were grounded on Thursday.
@adage Wow— Don T Bother (@Don T Bother)1553859370.0
On Twitter, many displeased customers expressed their frustration:
@wow_air @wowairsupport Why won't you give some clear answers? You are grounding flights left right and centre and… https://t.co/Hhm9TAK5At— Aisling O'Sullivan (@Aisling O'Sullivan)1553520108.0
Have quite the headache already this morning thanks to @wow_air nothing says good morning like hearing about cancel… https://t.co/GGseOEobBs— Katie mckelvy (@Katie mckelvy)1553784180.0
@wow_air cancels flight to Dublin from Detroit at the last minute, looks like the company has gone bust. Any chance… https://t.co/JAo6CQUVfn— Barrai Omuireagain (@Barrai Omuireagain)1553741576.0
I’m stranded in Iceland and I canNOT afford how much they’re asking me to pay for “rescue fare” and all the flights… https://t.co/NAptyVZvYf— afghaneestan (@afghaneestan)1553863759.0
I’m here in ATL for my flight on @wow_air ... can’t find gate info anywhere? What’s going on!?!— bret (@bret)1553862584.0
Dang, I had 2 free @wow_air tickets from taking a voluntary bump a while back. Guess I'll never to relive using the… https://t.co/D7Ej6Zlaeu— Kamyar (@Kamyar)1553784166.0
Wow Air was founded by entrepreneur Skuli Mogensen, who's been in talks to sell the company for the past six months.
For a while, it seemed the company's main rival, Icelandair, might be interested in purchasing the airline.
There was also some interest from American company Indigo Partners.
@barstoolsports https://t.co/e1AlGYliEr— Eddie (@Eddie)1553829492.0
Ultimately, however, these plans fell through, leaving Wow Air with no course of action but to close.
Mogensen expressed his sadness in a letter to employees:
"I will never forgive myself for not acting sooner. WOW was clearly an incredible airline and we were on the path to
do amazing things again."
@TODAYshow @NBCNews @wow_air Not everyone is rich, @WOW_AIR needs to refund their money..— Rep.patrick Ramirez (@Rep.patrick Ramirez)1553860375.0
@Reuters @ReutersTV I noticed that they carried on taking booking until the very last minute. There should be a jai… https://t.co/wVHdWpTayv— peter audley (@peter audley)1553817953.0
Tourism is Iceland's largest industry.
With peak season approaching, the sudden removal of a travel option is expected to cause complications for the nation, perhaps even triggering a dip in the economy.
RIP Wow Air, thanks for taking me to Iceland in 2017 https://t.co/sD3ZUnqaH4— Karla (@Karla)1553797126.0
With some luck, hopefully everyone who was planning to return from their vacations via Wow Air is able to find safe passage back home.