Iceland’s new low cost carrier is preparing to launch flights to the United States…
PLAY launching Baltimore & Boston flights
PLAY has announced plans to launch flights between Iceland and the United States as of the spring of 2022. The airline will initially flight to Baltimore and Boston using A321neo aircraft, which are in an all-economy configuration.
As of April 20, 2022, PLAY will operate daily flights between Keflavik (KEF) and Baltimore (BWI) with the following schedule:
OG101 Keflavik to Baltimore departing 3:05PM arriving 5:50PM
OG102 Baltimore to Keflavik departing 7:00PM arriving 5:00AM (+1 day)
The 2,762-mile flight is blocked at 6hr45min westbound and 6hr eastbound.
As of May 11, 2022, PLAY will operate daily flights between Keflavik (KEF) and Boston (BOS) with the following schedule:
OG111 Keflavik to Boston departing 3:30PM arriving 5:35PM
OG112 Boston to Keflavik departing 7:00PM arriving 4:30AM (+1 day)
The 2,413-mile flight is blocked at 6hr5min westbound and 5hr30min eastbound.
While passengers can use these flights to travel between the United States and Iceland, a lot of PLAY’s business model is based around connecting travelers to other points in Europe. Passengers can also use these flights to connect to PLAY’s other European destinations, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, London, and Paris. Schedules are optimized to minimize travel time.
Introductory fares are really low. For example, you can fly from Boston to London for just $56 one-way. Just remember that PLAY is an ultra low cost carrier, so you’ll pay extra for just about everything.
I’m curious to see how PLAY’s growth goes
There’s no denying that ultra low cost carriers are great for consumers on transatlantic flights. Not only do they directly offer low fares, but they generally cause legacy carriers to have to lower fares as well (at least big picture).
The catch is that long haul ultra low cost carriers don’t exactly have a great track record with being profitable. In the case of Iceland, just look at WOW Air, which ceased operations in 2019. PLAY is essentially replicating what WOW Air did, except the airline is growing at a more sustainable pace, and I’d assume it also has a better cost structure (given that the pandemic was a great time to acquire planes).
PLAY launched service over the summer, though interestingly only operated between Iceland and other points in Europe, which isn’t really the core business model of an airline like this. With the airline now extending service to the United States, PLAY can start using Iceland as a stopover hub.
It’ll be worth watching which destinations PLAY adds next, how frequencies are adjusted, etc.
Icelandic ultra low cost carrier PLAY will finally be launching flights to the United States as of the spring of 2022. The airline will initially fly daily to both Baltimore and Boston, giving travelers access not only to Iceland, but also to several other points in Europe.
Introductory fares are fantastic, though just keep in mind that the airline charges extra for everything, from carry-ons to seat assignments.
What do you make of PLAY’s expansion to the United States? Do you think the airline will succeed?