This new Icelandic budget airline has US-UK flights for £99

The transatlantic flights involve a short stopover in Reykjavik

Lucy Thackray
Monday 20 December 2021 16:23 GMT
A PLAY Airbus on the tarmac
A PLAY Airbus on the tarmac (Play)

A new Icelandic budget airline has launched with flights between the US and UK for under £100 one way.

Reykjavik-based Play started up in July with a small schedule of European flights, adding the US to its network in December.

Flights from Boston and Baltimore, Washington to London Stansted - Play’s UK base - are set to start from spring 2022, with one-way fares currently appearing for as little as £99.

The Baltimore route launches on 20 April, followed by Boston on 11 May. Flights from Dublin will also follow in April.

All flights involve a short layover in Reykjavik, mostly with a 1.5 or two-hour wait at the airport before continuing to London.

Flights from London to the US work out slightly pricier, with the cheapest fare at £164 one way.

Flights to Reykjavik itself from Stansted start from £43 one way.

The airline also promises “a reliable, efficient and playful booking engine” with maximum transparency, though fees are added for everything from seat selection to carry-on luggage, inflight meals and checked bags.

It’s a no-frills affair, with no inflight entertainment or wifi onboard.

Cabin crew wear bold red and white logo T-shirts with sharp red suits rather than the traditional cabin crew look.

“We’re proud to expand PLAY´s service to the United States with services to and from Boston and Baltimore/Washington DC, offering both American and European travellers a new way to reach iconic destinations,” says Play’s CEO Birgir Jónsson.

“With our reliable and affordable flights, travellers can better enjoy their destination rather than overspending on the flight to get there.”

Several members of the airline’s executive team hail from WOW Air, the now defunct Icelandic budget carrier which ceased operations in March 2019.

It follows a difficult two years for low-cost airlines as travel has remained uncertain and low-volume in the face of the global pandemic.

EasyJet recently reported losses of more than £1bn in the year to September 2021, while Ryanair flew 55 per cent of its pre-pandemic passenger numbers over the course of the summer.

Meanwhile, British Airways is launching a Gatwick-only lower cost subsidiary from March 2022, promising “the same high level of service” as the rest of the BA brand and serving short-haul European routes at cheaper prices.

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