Iceland’s PLAY, which took to the sky 14 months ago in June 2021, has been quiet recently. It has bedded in routes, allowing for seat load factors and hopefully revenue to grow, while actively planning for next summer, which will now include a fourth USA destination: Washington Dulles. And, perhaps surprisingly, it’ll seemingly coexist with Baltimore, its first route to the country.
PLAY adds Washington Dulles
At 2,799 miles (4,504km), Keflavik to Dulles falls slightly short of the 3,000 miles (4,828km) often considered long-haul. Nonetheless, it’ll be PLAY’s longest route by distance thus far and about 1% farther than Baltimore. , Baltimore will remain the longest by block time.
Operating 1x daily, Dulles will begin on April 26th, missing the higher spring demand around Eastertime earlier in the month. It’s expected to be mainly by the A321neo, which are being reconfigured with 214 seats, but also the A320neo. with all times local:
- Keflavik to Washington Dulles: OG141, 15:10-17:40 (6h 30m block time)
- Washington Dulles to Keflavik: OG141, 18:50-04:55+1 (6h 5m)
Speaking at the announcement, PLAY commented that:
When flights begin in 2023, PLAY will be the only low-cost option for flights from Dulles to Europe… As the eighth-largest city in North America, Washington DC is an important foothold for PLAY as it continues to expand its US presence Flights from Dulles will complement PLAY’s flights from Baltimore. [There are over 6.4 million people in the combined metro area.]
Stay aware: Sign up for my weekly new routes newsletter.
Keflavik-Dulles is about 380 miles (612km) farther than Dulles to San Francisco. Image: GCMap.
From $273 return
The route will, of course, partly appeal to those wanting to visit Iceland from Dulles, which booking data shows amounted to approximately 62,000 passengers in 2019. However, it obviously reduced significantly in 2020 and 2021. PLAY will offer a lower-priced alternative to Icelandair, which will have a 2x daily service in peak summer 2023, using the B737 MAX 8 and MAX 9.
From what I can see, PLAY’s lowest return fare – excluding everything except a personal item and a seat – is USD$273, of which taxes amount to 38%. As always, limited tickets are available at that price. If you want a carry-on bag and priority boarding, the lowest return is $285; if a checked bag is also needed, it’s $372. In comparison, Icelandair’s lowest return is $581, based on only a carry-on, rising to $781 with a checked bag, seat selection, and limited miles.
And even more importantly, PLAY will target those traveling to/from wider Europe, with Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Liverpool, London Stansted, and Paris CDG among those available on a two-way basis. London is $406. That’s a couple hundred less than United’s cheapest nonstop to Heathrow (basic economy), only including a carry-on. If you want a checked bag, PLAY rises to a minimum of $692. As always, compare airlines based on what you require.
Will Dulles have such a great water salute as Baltimore? Photo: via Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Four US routes
When writing on August 23rd, PLAY will now fly to four US airports next summer: Baltimore, Dulles, Stewart, and Boston. There will be 4x daily flights, scheduled as follows:
- Baltimore: 1x 15:05-17:50; returning 19:00-05:00+1
- Dulles: 1x daily, 15:10-17:40; 18:50-04:55+1
- Stewart: 1x daily, 15:15-1735; 18:45-04:40+1
- Boston: 1x daily, 15:30-17:35; 19:00-04:30+1