Iceland’s annual tourism figures have risen significantly in the last ten years. Tourism rose from less than half a million in 2010 to over two million in 2017. With this number of people visiting the country, they, of course, need to be accommodated. And this doesn’t just mean hotels; it also means getting people to and from the country for an affordable price.
Icelandair, the country’s main airline, has been around since 1937 and has always dominated the market. But in a capitalist economy, competition will always arise. And Icelandair’s latest competition for a share of the international flight market is PLAY Airlines.
Play - Iceland's New Low-Cost Carrier
In March 2019, Iceland’s low-cost airline WOW Air ceased operations after seven years. This meant that Icelandair ran without their biggest competitor in Iceland for a short period of time. But Icelanders are resourceful, and a new airline quickly emerged.
Two former executives of WOW Air banded together to form WAB (We Are Back) Air in July 2019. They had backing from an Irish investment fund and in November of the same year rebranded as PLAY. There were delays in acquiring aircraft and landing permits, probably not helped by COVID.
However, in May 2021 PLAY had an Airbus A321neo ready to operate and permits for several airports. On the 24th June 2021 PLAY launched its first flight, from Keflavík International Airport to London Stansted Airport.
Iceland's flights are running regularly again as tourism booms, and PLAY now has a piece of the action. The PLAY Airlines fleet now consists of three Airbus A321neos, and they run almost daily flights to several European destinations.
Play Airlines Routes
PLAY Airlines’ routes, as of September 2021, are as follows:
- The Hub: Keflavík International Airport in Iceland
- Copenhagen Airport in Denmark
- Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France
- Berlin Brandenburg Airport in Germany
- Alicante–Elche Miguel Hernández Airport in Spain
- Barcelona–El Prat Airport in Spain
- Tenerife South Airport in Spain
- London Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom
- Beginning December 21st 2021- Gran Canaria Airport in Spain
- Beginning January 22nd 2022- Salzburg Airport in Austria
PLAY executives have also applied to the US Department of Transportation for permission to fly to the US east coast. This will begin in summer 2022 and will probably follow the routes laid down by WOW Air.
One thing is certain: PLAY Airlines’ destinations list will continue to grow as the gap left by WOW is claimed. Before its closure, WOW Air brought over a quarter of Iceland’s tourists to its shores. I’m sure PLAY intends to recover that fraction and more as it offers the low-cost flights that many want.
Flight prices are obviously changing all the time, but I’ll give you some idea of cost. To fly from London to Keflavík and back in December 2021 can be as little as 81 euros per person.
This does not include checked luggage, seat selection or any other optional extras. To fly from Berlin to Keflavík and back in December 2021 can be under 200 euros per person. The same is true of a December 2021 return flight from Paris to Keflavík.
All tickets include a small personal item or bag that can fit under your seat. It must weigh less than 10 kg (22 pounds) and have maximum dimensions of 42x32x25 cm.
Play Airline Review
As it’s the new airline on the block, PLAY realizes it has to make a great first impression. It has certainly been doing this the right way, with prize-winning competitions, promotions and active engagement on social media.
Reviewers have commented on the friendly staff, generous legroom and smooth online check-in system. The company’s bright red airplanes are also creating some noise, standing out from the conventional white that many airlines choose. It looks like the staff at PLAY are determined and committed to providing a great experience.
The former WOW executives have years of knowledge from operating a massive airline, and no doubt that will prove useful. The company is now publicly traded and has received investment from many Icelanders. The future is certainly looking bright for PLAY Air. I’ll definitely be considering them the next time I want to fly somewhere. Check them out at their official website.
Flying to Iceland
Iceland has become a top choice within the tourism industry. And luckily, the availability of flights options was also arising in the same level. PLAY airlines intends to cover the needs of those travelers who search to get around at an affordable price. Their motto is: "Pay less, play more and travel to Iceland." Sounds good to us!
It’s always great to have options when we travel. You want to be able to pick your airline just like you pick your hotel or your excursions. Perhaps you wish to spend less on the flight to free up more money for glacier hiking. Or perhaps you want a highly comfortable, luxurious flight. The choice is yours, and PLAY Air are at your service as an option.