17 Sep Iceland carriers offer ultra low cost flights to Europe, legacy airlines worried
National flag carrier Icelandair and low-cost carrier WOW air announced plans this past week to further improve their connections to the United States.
According to information obtained by Flights and Points, Icelandair will commence flying to Dallas and Cleveland starting in May 2018, offering new low cost flights to Europe to these cities in the process.
Icelandair to provide 4x weekly flights to Keflavik airport
While exact schedules for Cleveland have yet to be announced, both this route and the one to Dallas will be flown four times per week.
Flights from Dallas to Keflavik airport (which services Reykjavík, capital of Iceland) are slated to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Mondays at 5 pm, while the return flight from Iceland will return to DFW on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 5:15 pm.
With these additions to their expanding transatlantic network, Icelandair now boasts 20 flights to North American airports which offer low cost flights to Europe.
Bargain airline WOW air closes deal on fifth new air route in past two months
WOW air has also decided to extend their reach into the heart of Texas by starting service to Dallas three times per week starting on May 23, 2018.
As of now, they plan to fly to Iceland on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with return flights to Dallas on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
The timing of these flights is designed to coincide with flights departing London Gatwick and Stansted, offering travelers low cost flights to Europe at a rate markedly lower than what has been available through legacy carriers.
This is just the latest in the series of moves by WOW air to significantly grow its footprint in America. In the past few months, the low-cost carrier has signed deals to run transatlantic flights to airports in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Detroit.
Low cost flights to Europe giving legacy airlines fits
WOW air has become well-known in aviation circles for attempting to apply the Ryanair/Easyjet model to transatlantic travel. That is to say, you can fly for cheap – if you are prepared to accept a bare-bones experience.
Icelandair takes a more traditional all-inclusive approach common to flag carriers, but even they are offering round-trip fares to/from Iceland for less than $400 USD from cities like Washington DC and Chicago. Onward connections to cities in Europe can be had for marginally more.
The recent aggressive expansion of these two players is setting up a hyper-competitive environment in the skies above the Northern Atlantic.
For years, this airspace had long been the domain of established players like American Airlines, Delta, and British Airways.
With the widespread acceptance of low-cost carriers like WOW air (which has launched seat sales offering $69 fares from airports in the US West), though, the above-mentioned incumbents have been forced to change tactics to cope with this encroachment on their market share.
So far, they have responded by matching WOW air’s and Icelandair’s fares, and there has been talk of rolling out basic economy prices to international routes, an option already offered by some US legacy carriers on domestic routes.