A new low-cost airline, PLAY, has announced new routes to the United States beginning this summer. PLAY is based out of Reykjavik, Iceland, and plans to offer service connecting the US to Europe. PLAY was founded in 2019 from the ashes of WOW air. The airline has been flying routes to mainland Europe for the last year and has major ambitions to enter the US market.
PLAY is aiming to open routes to four US hubs this summer. Including:
New York Stewart International Airport – Beginning June 9th
Boston Logan International Airport – Starting May 11th
Baltimore/Washington International Airport – Starting April 20th
Orlando International Airport – Beginning in September
All routes to mainland Europe will have a layover at Keflavik Airport in Iceland. It’s almost a perfect mid way point to break up the trip! The flights will continue onward to one of these central European destinations: London Stansted, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Brussels, Stuttgart, Trondheim, and Gothenburg.
The Airline also offers highly competitive rates directly to Iceland which has become one of the top travel destinations in the world. The last few years have seen this nation top travel lists because of its natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and thriving local culture. With all of their restrictions being dropped before peak travel season, this might be the perfect time to visit Iceland. And as a bonus, Iceland just ended ALL COVID restrictions.
Many are skeptical of PLAY’s success because of it’s integration with former WOW management. The CEO, Birgir Jonsson, addressed these concerns in a recent interview.
“Play and Wow are actually closely related, so to speak. Many of our key management team are ex-Wow employees, as are a lot of our flight crew. I myself was a deputy CEO at WOW for a period.
So we know that story quite well. And, in fact, WOW was a great company and was doing really well operating the business model that we are [now] operating. It was only when Wow started operating wide-bodied jets like Airbus 330s and flying to the [U.S.] West Coast and basically doing the long-haul [and] low-cost thing — which is a hill that many good soldiers have fallen on many times.”
How would PLAY compare to other airlines?
The CEO went on to compare his airline to Iceland’s flag carrier, IcelandAir, and the largest low cost carrier in the world, Ryanair.
“In Ryanair’s case, they fly relatively shorter legs. If I’m going to fly to New York, it takes five hours. You need to be able to recline your seat and to be able to have some leg space and such. So we’re not going hardcore like that. If there’s a distinction between a low-cost and an ultra-low-cost product, I would say that we are some type of low-cost.
If you compare us to Icelandair, I would say the product is nearly identical. Okay, we don’t have a business class as such. But in terms of the general experience onboard, on both airlines you have to pay for your meals, drinks and luggage and all that stuff. Legacy airlines are transforming themselves into a low-cost products anyway. If I made a list of 10 things that would justify that, the first five on that list are “price.”
If PLAY is successful in this venture, they will certainly be a force in the transatlantic market. The last few years has seen the decline of many low-cost airlines, both because of COVID and bad business practices. But with restrictions all over the world being dropped, there is certainly a hunger to travel internationally.
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