It seemed like only yesterday that Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW Air announced plans to serve DFW International Airport. Well, maybe not yesterday, but it’s only been a couple of weeks. Fresh on the heels of that announcement, Metroplex flyers received even more great news from Iceland last week. The Dallas Morning News reported the exciting announcement that new Icelandair DFW service launches in May. That gives DFW-area travelers two new low-fare options for travel to Europe next summer.
What’s the Difference Between Icelandair and WOW Air?
Though both airlines are based in Iceland and use Reykjavik as a base, the similarities pretty much end there. WOW Air is a low-cost carrier (LCC) which advertises super cheap base fares. Fares for WOW’s new DFW-KEF service run as low as $169 each way. BUT – that fare gets you little except for a seat. Everything else incurs additional fees. In addition, those low fares come courtesy of stuffing as many passengers as possible in an A330. You’ll endure a pretty brutal 29″ seat pitch in a regular seat.
Icelandair, meanwhile, looks and feels more like a full-service carrier. Even the lowest Economy Class fares include one checked bag, a full-size carryon, and advance seat assignments. In addition, Icelandair offers a couple of useful frequent flyer program partnerships. Both jetBlue TrueBlue and Alaska Mileage Plan allow mileage earning on Icelandair flights. Icelandair and Alaska also allow redemptions on each others’ metal.
Icelandair’s New DFW Schedule and Pricing
Like WOW Air, Icelandair begins its DFW service on a seasonal basis, with flights launching from DFW on May 31, 2018. Flights operate on a 4x weekly basis as follows:
- FI872 DFW to Reykjavik departing 17:00 arriving 06:00 (+1) (1,2,4,6)
- FI873 Reykjavik to DFW departing 17:15 arriving 20:45 (1,3,5,7)
Icelandair times its outbound schedule similar to WOW Air. The inbound to DFW, however, looks far more civilized, with an 8:45 pm arrival rather than a midnight one. You can still enjoy almost a full day in Iceland, but still get home in time to retire at a decent hour.
Flights operate on a three-class Boeing 757-200. Icelandair hasn’t said which version of the 752 will serve DFW. The smaller version features 123 Economy Class, 28 “Economy Comfort”, and 20 “Saga Class” seats. Meanwhile, the larger configuration features 120 Economy Class, 41 Economy Comfort, and 22 Saga Class. Economy Class features 32″ of seat pitch in a 3-3 configuration.
Economy Comfort seats provide an experience somewhat similar to European business class. The cabin includes a slightly wider seat with 33″ of pitch and the middle seat blocked. In addition, Economy Comfort includes a complimentary meal, lounge access and priority boarding.
Saga Class is sometimes billed as business class, but looks more like a version of Norwegian Premium Class. Recliner seats feature 40″ of pitch in a 2-2 layout. Saga Class also includes meal service including alcohol and lounge access, among other amenities.
Pricing, at least on the surface, starts out quite a bit higher than WOW Air. The cheapest round trip I found priced out at $658 in Economy Class. These increase to $1,839 for Economy Comfort and $2,755 for Saga Class, respectively. Also like WOW Air, Icelandair allows connections beyond KEF, with a free Iceland stopover allowed on any fare. Using London Gatwick as an example, the cheapest round trip I found was $899 in Economy Class. Paris comes in a little cheaper, at $869. When comparing prices to WOW Air, though, consider how many extras you plan to pay for. The difference might not be as high as it appears at first blush.
Icelandair DFW Flights To Create Pricing Pressures?
Though not as cheap as WOW Air, Icelandair still provides a welcome, lower price point for travel to Europe. Even in the $800 range, Icelandair’s flights provide fare relief in a market where sub-$1,000 TATL fares are hard to come by. Kyle at Live and Let’s Fly covered in detail how WOW Air helped lower TATL fares across the board in Pittsburgh. Though DFW is a very different market, could the same happen here? Maybe, though there’s no evidence of it yet.
A random British Airways selection for a late May round trip yielded a coach fare of $1,710. How long that holds up remains to be seen. BA in particular has been known to vigorously compete against Norwegian. Indeed, down the road in Austin, where Norwegian recently announced new service, fares have come down. BA now sells round trips for $929. (As an aside – oneworld might want to reconsider this price differential, as I know a whole lot of people, myself included, who would suffer the fustercluck of Interstate 35 to save $800.) My guess is AA and BA launch a significant competitive response eventually. Until then, at least you get cheap nonstops to Iceland. I can think of far worse places to go…
Competition is always good, and two nonstop options to Reykjavik is just plain awesome. Despite the higher price, I’d likely choose Icelandair over WOW, given the more complete product. I prefer an “easy button” product over the nickel-and-dime approach. The ability to earn valuable Alaska Mileage Plan points also helps. Also keep in mind, if you plan to stopover in Iceland, Icelandair allows free stopovers on ANY fare. WOW permits them only on more expensive ones. Plus, major kudos to Icelandair for actually using a picture of Dallas to announce the new service. 🙂 Now I just have to figure out how to clear a few days on the calendar for a trip to Iceland…
Photo of Icelandair 757: “Manchester Airport (EGCC)” by Riik@MCTR, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Photo of Icelandair meal: “The kosher dinner on Icelandair” by Mark Matlenzo, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Photo of Icelandair economy legroom: “A lot of leg space” by hildgrim, via Flickr Creative Commons.
All Creative Commons images used under license Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).