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Iceland Is The New Cool Place To Go Thanks To Ultra Low Cost Airlines

Which Will You Pick For Your Next Getaway?

Iceland blew up on the travel radar last year, becoming the new “it” place to travel, whether you’re looking for a great spot to climb some icebergs, or if you’d just like to laze around in the Blue Lagoon. Whatever your fancy, you can now afford it, thanks to a bevy of low cost airlines who jumped on the Iceland bandwagon, and began offering ultra-reduced fares to this hot spot.

So, who should you consider if you’re planning an Iceland getaway this year (or next)? There are two main airlines most seasoned travelers will name:

WOW Air

Photo: WOW Air

This airline has more recently come onto the scene, founded in 2011. They first flew only within Europe, but then expanded their reach to travelers departing the United States. Now, they have more than 30 destinations over North America, Europe and Asia, and they’ve approximated they’ll carry 3 million passengers this year. As far as their fleet, its all Airbus, with three A320s, 11 A321s and three A330s. If you’re flying to or from North American destinations, you’ll be on the A321 (except for the routes to California, which monopolizes all three of the A330s). They boast that they have the youngest fleet in Iceland with the lowest emissions.

Their fares are low, low, low, like $100 from the United States to Iceland, if you can catch a special deal (something that’s almost unheard of on a domestic flight, let alone an international one). However, remember that, with low prices come little perks. While the cheap tickets are enough to please some passengers, others have been filling the forums with tales of dirty and damaged aircraft and poor service.

WOW Air offers three different types of fares: basic, plus and biz.

Icelandair

Icelandair is more of a staple, and they’re not as budget as WOW Air, but they still offer very lucrative deals. Their history stretches back to 1937, and the name Icelandair has absorbed several other Icelandic airlines during its long existence. Today, they currently have 40 destinations across North America and Europe.

 Almost the entire Icelandair fleet is made up of Boeing 757 jets, along with just a few 767s. Many of them have been recently renovated, for a better consumer experience. They’re also one of the many airlines signed up to receive a Boeing 737 MAX when the aircraft is available. If you’ve checked out their social media recently, you’ll also see that they just came out with some spiffy new livery, that they’ve named Hekla Aurora, and which is really just a giant image of the northern lights.
They offer three different types of fares: economy, economy comfort and Saga.

Let’s Compare!

 So, to compare airlines, let’s take a look at some real numbers. Let’s say you’re planning to fly (one-way) from SFO, SEA or ORD, to Reykjavik, or from any of those destinations to London (as so many people are using Iceland’s cheap fares to hop their way over to Europe). Let’s also assume you’re flying a few weeks from now, on Sept. 1. What are the results?

WOW Air

 SFO->KEF $559
SEA->KEF (No flights out of Seattle)
ORD->KEF (No flights on Sept. 1, but you can fly the next day for $399)
SFO->LGW $359
SEA->LGW (No flights out of Seattle)
ORD->LGW (No flights on Sept. 1, but you can fly the next day for $469)

Icelandair

SFO->KEF $711
SEA->KEF $1,031
ORD->KEF $765
SFO->LGW $1,010
SEA->LGW $1,083
ORD->LGW $1,182

So, obviously WOW Air is going to be cheaper, but are you willing to risk your travel experience turning into a bad review, to save a few hundred bucks? Some travelers are, some aren’t. Regardless, it’s easy to see why many travelers have started using Iceland not only as a destination, but also as a jumping point for further European travel, using Iceland-associated airlines to get good deals on flights to other popular destinations like London and Paris.

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