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Published: September 16th 2019
In the travel world, bankruptcies are quite common, particularly the budget airlines. I had two such unfortunate incidents on my trip to and from Europe last May. It taught me a lesson. The big carriers, though somewhat boring and cumbersome, do tend to be more consistent.
My first horror story involved WOW Air on my flight to Amsterdam. WOW suspended west coast flights, then filed for bankruptcy. Fortunately, I asked for and received a refund before they filed. So, no harm done, I found a flight on Aer Lingus, comparably priced, but had to eat the puddle jumper airfare to LAX. But the stress was not good!
Then, on my return from Istanbul, another discount carrier, Iceland Air, also in various forms of bankruptcy or "reorganization", cancelled my connecting flight to Reykjavik from London. Why was I taking this route home from Istanbul? I used my Alaska Airline miles for a "free" flight. Turns out Iceland Air also has serious financial problems.
My options now became a bit precarious. I had to find my way to Iceland on the day of my light. No seats would be available to rebook for more
than 60 days!!! Now follow this: I flew from Istanbul to Helsinki, Finland on Turkish Air, then Iceland Air from Helsinki to Iceland. I had to eat my original flight from Istanbul to London (where the Iceland Air flight was scheduled to originate), since that flight was not cancelled!!! Then I had to pay for the flights from Istanbul to Helsinki, and on to Iceland!
So, the lesson here is two fold: 1. Stick to the big and somewhat more reliable airlines. And 2. When using miles for flights or upgrades, make sure you do not get stuck in a remote place like Iceland!!
So, if you want my advice, stay away from WOW, Iceland Air, and Norwegian. And as far as the big boys, I try to avoid UAL, AA, and Delta, preferring the big foreign carriers like Lufthansa, KLM, Singapore, and British Airlines (until their recent strike).
But I did get home. A friend who was traveling a similar return route from Bordeaux required an extra day and substantial $$ to get home.
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