DALLAS – You’ve heard of it flying around Europe. Now you can see it in the US. On Wednesday, Icelandic low-cost carrier PLAY Airlines (OG) launched service from Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) to Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in Reykjavik, Iceland. Passengers then could connect to one of PLAY’s 22 European destinations.
The airline uses an Airbus A321neo on the route. PLAY currently has a total of five aircraft in its fleet, including three Airbus A321neos and Airbus A320s. PLAY plans to have a total of 15 aircraft by 2025.
“The transatlantic flights will be the main focus of PLAY´s operations, and it was a huge project to establish a connection on a new continent. But now we see the fruits of our labor, a well-made, reliable, and ambitious flight plan,” said Birgir Jónsson, CEO of PLAY.
The CEO added, “We are thrilled to welcome American passengers for the first time. Since we opened bookings, PLAY’s affordable fares and high reliability stood out, appealing to travelers eager to embark on long-awaited vacations, spontaneous getaways, and work-cations.”
In May and June 2022, PLAY plans to expand its route network by flying to Boston and New York.
A Risky Move
“Years ago, launching an airline during a pandemic would have been a crazy idea, but the pandemic has been a rare opportunity for PLAY’s successful launch, with low aircraft prices and availability at key airports that have been critical to supporting PLAY’s business model and affordable prices,” Jónsson told Travel Awaits.
“Not only is there pent-up demand for travel, but passengers have also drastically changed their travel habits to begin booking trips spontaneously, with short notice compared to long booking times before the pandemic.”
Travel Weekly, however, notes that no low-cost transatlantic airline has ever succeeded. “Norwegian Air and Wow Air both failed, as did their predecessors, dating all the way back to Laker Airways Skytrain in the late 1970s and early 1980s.”
But PLAY is undaunted, saying it is entering a new chapter and calling its first flight from North America a milestone. “It’s a major accomplishment for the airline to expand with transatlantic flights less than a year after its first flight from Iceland,” Jónsson said.
“This is the culmination of a year of hard work and PLAY isn’t slowing down, these flights from the United States will increase our load factor and number of passengers massively.”
Featured image: PLAY Airlines