Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Why I will NEVER fly with WOW Air again

Laying on the airport floor in Dublin, I am curled up against the side of a wall and begin to bawl my eyes out. I am tired, hungry, and have no idea why they have sent me to Dublin - WOW Air do not even fly from Dublin to London. This, I swear to myself, is the last time I will fly with WOW Air. Of course, at this point in time, I did not know the hassle that would ensure chasing compensation too. 


On the 10th of June 2018, I arrived at SFO to board my WOW Air flight to London Stansted via KEF airport in Iceland. All was going to plan until I arrived at the gate: "Your flight is delayed by an hour", I hear over the tannoy. Great. Not the end of the world though as I should still make my connecting flight to London. Slowly, this time keeps getting pushed back slightly. Eventually, after an hour and a half delay, we are allowed to board.

Church in Iceland

Touching down in Iceland, I have 10 minutes to make the flight to London - not likely to happen but not impossible if they hold the plane for a few minutes. Several of us on board are hoping to get there. Of course, this does not happen and we are told to enter through security and go to the WOW Air desk. I reluctantly do as I am told and race to the desk hoping I can be put onto another flight. 

Questioning the WOW Air representative at the check-in desk as to where to stand, I am told to wait in the queue in front of her. I am the first passenger off the plane and in line. I think I am getting closer until they open a desk in a different part of the airport without telling me and inform me when I reach the front of the queue. Great - now I have the entire plane in front of me and I have zero chances of being put onto the next flight as its now completely full.

When I finally get to the front of the queue, I am given a hotel voucher, a bus ticket, and a food voucher for lunch and dinner that day. When I ask what is going to happen about my flight, the attendant tells me that I should keep an eye open for an e-mail with further information. It is about 4pm at this point and I board the coach to my hotel. 

Stuck in Iceland

I cannot fault the hotel they sent me to at all - very nice people, and a nice room. However, it was a 15-minute walk from the place I could use the food voucher, and it was freezing outside and a miserable walk. Reaching this place, I find that I couldn't even buy a meal and a drink with the voucher I was given. I mean, Iceland is expensive, very expensive but WOW Air should account for this when dishing out meal vouchers. I fork out the extra cash needed and meet with some other people on the flight. 

Midnight rolls around, and WOW Air has still not told me where I am due to go. The front desk of my hotel tells me I have to board a bus at 3:30am to go back to the airport. I ring WOW Air several times - I am on hold for at least 40 minutes each time only to be told the same story: "I don't know, just go to the airport and we'll let you know". Ok... Great. Eventually, 10 minutes before my coach comes, I am told I will be on a 7:30am flight to Dublin.

Dublin? What? I ring up again... I wait 45 minutes again... and I am told: "I am sorry Miss, I do not know why but your final destination has been changed to Dublin. I cannot tell you anything else at this moment in the time". I respond: "But, I don't live in Dublin? Dublin is not even the same COUNTRY that I am trying to get to and you do not even offer flights from Dublin to London so what use it is sending me there?" After an awkward silence, the representative on the other end of the phone replies: "I am sorry, I still do not know anything else". Right.

Arriving at the airport several hours early, and on the MINIMUM amount of sleep, I am bounced around from one place to the other as I try to get food vouchers for breakfast and find out if I can book another flight/ whether they will reimburse me. Nobody will tell me anything. Food vouchers don't exist, and yes there is another flight but it's full and I can't get one direct to London for another 2 days. At the last minute, asking again about the flight to London due to depart in 30 minutes, I am told there are now two spaces available but it's too late to book me on it. 

By this point, I am tired, starving, and fed up of receiving no answers and having to wait at least 40 minutes to contact WOW Air on my mobile phone (an expensive option). My flight to Dublin was delayed by another hour. Fantastic. 

Arriving in DUBLIN?

Eventually, I touch down in Dublin airport. I have not been offered any food or drink for nearly 16 hours and the flight attendants won't even give me water without charging for it. There is no WOW Air booth at Dublin airport and I have nobody to contact. Eventually, I am sent a text saying I have to get a flight to London City airport with a different airline but it missed out all the crucial details such as what time and the flight booking details. 

I am now back where the story started. Lying on the floor in Dublin airport, slumped against a wall, crying my eyes out because I just want this all to be over with and to know where on earth I am going. Hours later, I land at London City Airport. This is not the airport I booked a flight to, and my parents can no longer pick me up because it's a) in the centre of London b) I had no idea when I would arrive and c) they now have things to do because I am a day and a half later than I told them. 

I pay £50 for a train ticket back to Ipswich, I lug my rucksack onto the train, swapping at Liverpool Street, and wait for 2 hours to pass until I am finally back. 

6 Months and No Compensation

Instantly, I go to request a refund on my expenses (hoping they may be covered) and put in a claim for compensation according to EU law. After weeks of back and forth e-mailing, they agree to pay my claim. 

Nearly SIX MONTHS later, I still have not seen any of the money. I have sent three complaints to the Icelandic airport authority and they have told me since WOW Air have said they would pay, their job is done. They will not chase up the money. I have contacted WOW Air several times too and they have told me there is a backlog of payments waiting to be made and I should get it 'soon'. One other passenger on the flight, who requested payment weeks after me, received payment in October. It is December and I am still waiting. 

I am starting to wonder if they're just waiting for a Brexit deal to be reached in order to wiggle out of paying! But I have learned my lesson the hard way - I will never fly with WOW Air again and I suggest you do not either. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey, at least you got to travel. They sold me SFO-KEF flights on November 20, then pulled the route a few days later. They have yet to notify me. Now I'm out United miles for a flight to SFO. Bastards!