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Parkville woman one of thousands stranded by WOW Air closure

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Posted at 10:31 PM, Mar 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 08:39:26-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — A Parkville woman was one of more than a thousand passengers stranded overseas after Icelandic budget carrier WOW Air abruptly announced it was ceasing operations on Thursday due to financial issues.

RELATED: Wow Air shuts down, cancels flights

Jean McMahon was in her Iceland hotel room preparing for a Friday flight back to the States, when she heard the news that the airline she had booked with closed its doors.

"It was very stressful this morning finding out we had no flight home tomorrow and everyone was very upset."

The airline didn't give anyone much notice, only posting on their website that "All WOW Air flights have been canceled."

Passengers, many of whom had no place to go and limited alternative travel options, were told to check available flights with other airlines.

Even though it's a day later, McMahon said she and her group got lucky; "We were able to get the last seven seats on [another flight] on Saturday into Dulles instead of BWI."

A big worry for most was how they would afford another flight. WOW left customers in the air on whether or not they would be receiving a refund. In their alert, the airline said passengers who purchased tickets from a European travel agent as part of a package were protected. Others with travel insurance might also be entitled to a refund.

Though she has travel insurance, McMahon said she too was left in the dark, "We know nothing about reimbursement yet, and do not know yet if this would be covered."

Several other airlines including Easy Jet, Icelandair, Wizz Air, XL Airways and Norwegian Air were offering reduced fares for passengers affected.

In the end, McMahon seemed to have gotten a reduced rate and didn't have to pay as much for a return flight as she expected, "We thought we were going to have to pay $700.00 for the flight home but somehow got it down to $270.00 each."

Now that she has a way home, McMahon has only one problem left, "We have to take the shuttle bus to BWI to get our car for $52.00 each."

Founded in 2011, WOW Air was known for cheap fares to fly between Iceland and many destinations in the United States and Europe.

McMahon said she's going to miss them, "It's a shame because I really liked flying on WOW in and out from BWI."