Low-cost airline Play will connect Dulles to Iceland, Europe in April – USA TODAY

Discount Icelandic airline Play announced Tuesday it will add a fourth U.S. destination to its route map when it begins service to Washington-Dulles International Airport on April 23.
“We’re just really looking forward to starting it and taking the next step in the U.S. market, which has been very good to us so far,” Play CEO Birgir Jonsson told USA TODAY. 
In the U.S., the airline currently serves Baltimore/Washington International Airport north of Washington, D.C., Logan International Airport in Boston and Stewart International Airport outside of New York City.
Jonsson said the service to BWI has been particularly successful and he sees the addition of Dulles as a way to capitalize on that existing demand.
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In 2019, BWI saw about 27 million passengers overall, while Dulles handled about 24 million, according to the airports’ operators. 
“It’s a big area. I’m sure at some point there might be some passengers that would prefer to go from one airport over the other,” he said. “I would rather cannibalize myself than let someone else do it.”
Play has scheduled one daily round trip between Iceland and Dulles once service begins.
“Dulles International is committed to offering a wide variety of airline products for our local community to access global travel,” Paul Bobson, vice president for airline business development for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said in a statement. “As a low-cost airline operating flights to Iceland and the rest of Europe, PLAY will add significant capacity in the low-cost international market segment.”
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The airline focuses on connecting U.S. cities with popular destinations in Europe and relies on high aircraft utilization to keep costs down while serving lots of cities with a relatively small fleet.
How it works, Jonsson said, is that flights depart the U.S. in the evening, arrive in the very early morning in Iceland, and then the planes are used for round-trip itineraries to Europe before departing for the U.S. again later in the day. Each U.S. airport that Play serves gets one daily round-trip. 
Play serves more destinations in Europe than in the U.S., but only the most popular cities on the other side of the pond, like Paris, have daily service from the airline. The rest are served on only certain days of the week. 
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Tickets from Dulles are now on sale, and here’s how some round-trip fares stack up against flights from BWI:
Keep in mind: All of Play’s itineraries connect through Iceland, and the base fares do not include any extras like seat selection, carry-on or checked bags, or onboard refreshments. Play’s prices for those extras vary by season and are more expensive on connecting itineraries. Carry-on bags range from $36 to $57 each at booking, or up to $63 at the airport, while checked bags range from $43 to $86 at booking or up to $91 at the airport. Seat selection can cost anywhere from $5 to $110 per person per flight, depending on availability and the stage of the booking process. 
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Jonsson said Play will bring four more aircraft into its fleet in the coming months and expects to introduce even more North American destinations as a result.
“When you increase the capacity as much as you’re about to do in the next months, we will need more destinations,” he said, estimating that three more cities will be added to the map in the near future.
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Because of the airline’s schedule model, those new destinations are likely to still be concentrated in the east.
“What we are mostly focused on is not actually the range of the aircraft as such, it’s more to be able to utilize them within the 24-hour loop. We need to be able to get them back into Iceland by 4 or 5 in the morning,” Jonsson said. “We could do Detroit, we could do the Canadian destinations, Montreal and Toronto. Chicago is too far for us because of the time.”


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