LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ/CBS) — Budget airline WOW Air abruptly ceased all services overnight, stranding passengers flying in and out of BWI.
The Icelandic airline did ground six flights that were set to leave late Wednesday at Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Detroit, New York and Baltimore.
Denise Riordan told WJZ her flight was grounded Wednesday night at BWI as passengers were boarding the plane.
Riordan, an Irish woman who has lived in Columbia, Maryland for 20 years, was set to travel to Ireland for her nephew’s christening.
“We were due to take the flight at 7.05pm yesterday, we were all lined up to board – half of the people were already on board the flight,” Riordan told The Independent. “Then a man came up to the people who were checking our boarding passes – it turned out that it was a pilot – and he said: ‘You can’t let these people board, you need to tell them there are operational issues’.”
Now she’s booked to fly out of BWI Thursday with a ticket that is costing twice as much.
Other stranded passengers took to Twitter to share their experiences.
In a statement on its website the airline, which had earlier suspended all its flights, told passengers there would be no further flights and advised them to check flights with other airlines for ways to reach their destinations.
CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave said thousands of passengers would be stuck on Thursday looking for a back home, or a way to get where they were going. He said the best option for stranded passengers was to try and get help through their credit card companies, if they booked their tickets that way.
Its bankruptcy comes after six months of turbulent negotiations to sell the low-cost carrier, first to its main rival and flag-ship carrier Icelandair and later to Indigo Partners, an American company operating the airline Wizz.
Icelandair is offering stranded WOW passengers special fares to get to Iceland.