PLAY Airlines is an Icelandic ultra-low-cost carrier providing services between Europe and America. Using Reykjavik as their headquarters and flying between Europe and the US, they obtained the ‘Sixth Freedom of Air.‘
The Route Structure of PLAY
PLAY made its inaugural flight from Keflavik to London Stansted Airport in 2022 and later expanded to other European destinations, including Berlin, Copenhagen, and Paris.
The airline operates in nearly 40 destinations, including Europe and the US. In the US, PLAY Airlines operated its first flight in Washington, DC, and during the following month, they received clearance to operate at Logan Airport in Boston. The airline flies to 5 destinations in North America, including the United States.
Birgir Jónsson, CEO of PLAY Airlines, says,
“The transatlantic flights will be the main focus of PLAY´s operations and it was a huge project to establish a connection in a new continent. But now we see the fruits of our labor, a well-made, reliable, and ambitious flight plan.”
The airline offers long and short hauls between Europe and the US from their base in Keflavik airport in Iceland. For European people, PLAY is an ideal airline with low fare rates for domestic and international routes.
The airlines fly freshly-painted Airbus aircraft, including Airbus A320neo and Airbus A321neo, holding 10 aircraft. The aircraft has an average age of 3.2 years, according to Airfleets.net. The airline leased 6 of its A321neo and leased 3 A320neo. They designed the A321neo with 214 seats and the A320neo accommodating 174 seats. They operated the first flight to London Stansted International Airport (EGSS) with A321neo registration TF-AEW.
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PLAY’s fleet and the seating configuration according to Planespotters.net
PLAY reported receiving positive passenger traffic with an 80% load factor. Considering the increase in passenger flow, the airline plans to expand its fleet by adding 15 aircraft by 2025.
PLAY’s Inflight Services
As an ultra-low-cost airline, the services on board are basic. The Airbus A320neo is designed to accommodate 174 with minimal legroom, no Wi-Fi provision, and rigid seat backs. While the facilities may be ‘no frills’, passengers can choose from a wide variety of food and beverages while onboard, with products and meals at affordable prices.
There will be no lounge access since they don’t provide it. Passengers who purchase carry-on bags will receive priority boarding, and others will have normal boarding. There will be an additional fee for passengers who attempt to bring a carry-on bag without online bookings.
The airline is also working towards sustainability, offering reusable utensils and containers to reduce the use of plastic.
Growth Of The Icelandic Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier
In July 2023, the airline carried 191,577 passengers, a new record in airline history. PLAY transported 86,661 passengers in March 2023, higher than the 63,949 carried in February 2023. As a transatlantic airline, 41% of passengers were connecting via Iceland, and 32.1% were travelling to Iceland.
PLAY saw a significant increase in its North American route, and it performed well with a load factor of 90%. There will be a strong demand for North American routes in the coming months. Paris, Copenhagen, London, and European leisure destinations had a high load factor of 90%. The leadership team is planning to expand the network in the coming years.
Have you flown with PLAY Airlines? What are your opinions about their operation? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.