PLAY’s First US Bound Flights Take Off This Month

There isn’t long to go until PLAY takes off to the US, marking the next stage in its development. Four US routes will start this year.


PLAY A321neo
Photo: Colin Cooke Photo via Flickr.

PLAY will has four US routes starting this year.

PLAY will begin Keflavik to Baltimore later this month, its first North America route and a critical development for its future. The carrier has three more US routes coming, with Boston, New York Stewart, and Orlando International operational by the end of September.

PLAY to Baltimore

Keflavik to Baltimore will take off on April 20th, with the 2,762-mile (4,445 km) route served 1x daily. Like other US routes, Baltimore will use 192-seat A321neo in an all-economy layout with a surprising 34″ seat pitch. These have 20% fewer seats than ULCC Wizz Air, reflecting the extra comfort – all of PLAY’s routes are three hours plus – while increasing the type’s range.

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PLAY chose Baltimore because, like Boston, it was the longest served of defunct WOW Air’s extensive US network. This suggests more robust performance than some of WOW’s other US destinations.

The Baltimore schedule is as follows, with all times local. The outbound flight has a block time of 6h 45m, while it’s 6h inbound. It is scheduled to maximize connectivity to/from wider Europe, vital to making a 1x daily service to Iceland work.

  • Keflavik to Baltimore: OG101, 15:05-17:50
  • Baltimore to Keflavik: OG102, 19:00-05:00+1 the following day

PLAY’s base fares exclude optional extras, such as additional carry-on luggage (12kg, which comes with priority boarding), a checked bag, food and drink, and seat allocation. There is also no entertainment. These things need to be factored into the total price comparison with other carriers and the total flight duration.


PLAY to the US

Boston, Baltimore, and Stewart are collected in both directions to all of these European airports. When writing, not all are from Orlando.

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Keflavik to Boston will begin on May 11th (1x daily), Stewart on June 9th (1x daily), and Orlando International (3x weekly) on September 30th. They’re scheduled as follows, with all US departures leaving Iceland between 15:00 and 15:30 and arriving between 04:30 and 05:00.

PLAY to Stewart will mark a return to transatlantic travel for the airport after a three-year absence. The Iceland airline is betting on very low (and probably free) charges, financial incentives, no slots, and no congestion, enabling low costs to offer low fares to grow demand.

The contrast with Newark and JFK is clear, but it isn’t this simple. Stewart is located about 70 miles (113km) from the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan, although a dedicated bus service will run and is expected to take 75-90 minutes. Tickets are available from $1 each way (plus a booking fee).


PLAY Berlin

All four US routes will connect with Berlin. It departs to the German capital at 06:00 and arrives back at 14:15. Photo: via Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

The aircraft operating to Orlando will remain in the Sunshine State for nearly 22 hours. That seems crazy, but it’s done to ensure widespread connections across wider Europe.

It means Orlando will not fall in PLAY’s desired 24-hour pattern, whereby an aircraft operates a return to both North America and across Europe, but Baltimore, Boston, and Stewart will. That’s the compromise for longer destinations, and Icelandair still does it.

PLAY’s analysts must have determined that the long ground time – typically avoided by brand-new aircraft that need utilizing more often – is worth it, perhaps especially as a winter destination.

What is the longest budget airline flight you’ve been on? Let us know in the comments.


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