Well, I won’t be going to Iceland after all. Say what, Iceland? Yep, that’s right, I was all set to jet off to Reykjavík. It was to be all part of my new persona as an international man of mystery. Cue it boys: Travel agent man, travel agent man, you’ve given me a booking, but then taken away the plane. The old adage comes to mind, if it is too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.
Wow Airlines, a no frills Icelandic airlines started service to Saint Louis this summer. I booked a round-trip from Saint Louis to Reykjavík for $284. Yes, that’s right $284. Later, I decided that I would really need to bring a change of clothes or two, anyway more stuff then could be expected to fit into my one free personal item, so I added a carry-on bag for $36, no frills, remember.
Originally, I booked for this month, but then decided to move the reservation to next month. The change fee was $98, but still $408 seemed pretty cheap. I messed up and ended up with a booking from Reykjavík to Saint Louis in August and a return flight, Saint Louis to Reykjavík in September. Besides the obvious spatial problems, I had only wanted a trip duration of just a few nights. Then their website locked me out and referred me to customer service.
At this point I had gotten cold feet on the idea of going to Iceland. When I called customer service, I asked for a refund. I was still well within the 24 hours that the DOT mandates consumer protections and major carriers offer full refunds. Initially, I was told that I would get my requested refund and I received an email confirming this promise. Subsequently, I was told that a refund wasn’t possible. I persisted. They then offered to refund just the taxes, less than $100. I persisted some more. Then they stopped responding to me.
Several days passed. During which, I did what I should have done before. I went on-line and looked to see if other people also had complaints with Wow. I found what appeared to be a veritable cottage complaint industry. Some of the stories made me feel that being out $400 wasn’t the worse that could have happened.
I spoke with my credit card company and told them this long sad story. They said that I could ask for a charge back, but I would have to wait until their charges converted from pending to actual charges. Days ticked by and one-by-one the three charges converted. I was all set to initiate the charge back process, when from out of the blue I received an email from them reaffirming their original promise of a full refund. Over the next week, again one-by-one credits for the original charges appeared on my card.
My Mother would have been proud of me. She was always a fighter and would have relished this battle. Wow Airlines eventually did right by me, but I do not plan on doing business with them again.