PLAY Is Your *Incredibly* Budget-Friendly Ticket To Europe & Iceland This Summer

When I got invited to try out PLAY — Iceland’s newest budget airline — back in February, I was thrilled. Iceland was always on the ol’ travel bucketlist but felt out of range due to the hefty price of a plane ticket. Flying across the North Atlantic Ocean to the island of fire and ice isn’t necessarily within a budget traveler’s means. UNTIL NOW…

[dramatic music begins]

PLAY has leveled the playing field.

Founded in Reykjavík in 2019, PLAY operates a fleet of Airbus A321NEO and A320NEO aircraft, offering streamlined, no-frills service between Iceland, North America, and Europe. What does this mean exactly? It means that you get what you pay for, without all the frills that may come with other airlines’ routes to Iceland — keeping your costs in check.

Seat assignments, baggage, snacks, and drinks (even water) are extra add-ons. We’ve all seen Spirit and Frontier — we know the deal. Wifi isn’t even an option, so you’d better have your OOO responder on. The first seven rows with extra legroom don’t have footrests either, so your long-haul flight over the ocean can… be a little uncomfortable.

PLAY airlines

PLAY’s slogan, “pay less, play more” is pretty straightforward. As a low-cost airline, you won’t see any first-class cabin on the aircraft. No beds or lounges. Instead, PLAY offers four bundled fare types to work within travelers’ budgets.

  • PLAY Basic – Offering the bare essentials. Pay only for your airfare and taxes. You’re only allowed one personal item.
  • PLAY Basic Plus – For those that need a little bit more baggage but still want to travel light. Costs include airfare, taxes, one personal item, one carry-on bag, priority boarding, and seat assignment in the back half of the aircraft.
  • PLAY Value – For travelers wanting to add more value to their trip. Included are your airfare, taxes, one personal item, one carry-on bag, one checked bag (up to 44lbs), priority boarding, and seat assignment in the back half of the aircraft.
  • PLAY Flex – The ultimate flexible, low-cost ticket. This bundle has everything you need to make your trip comfortable and worry-free. Included are airfare, taxes, one personal item, one carry-on bag, one checked bag (up to 50lbs), priority boarding, seat assignment anywhere on the aircraft, and flight change flexibility.

PLAY currently only operates out of five major cities in North America: Toronto, New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Boston. If you don’t live near these hubs, then you could always consider using a positioning flight with a different airline to get you there. That’s exactly what I did. I reside in Asheville, NC (which never has direct flights anyway) so I flew from Asheville > Atlanta > Baltimore.

As an Icelandic-owned company, PLAY is certainly still getting its footing in the United States. PLAY’s Baltimore employees didn’t honor anyone’s original seat assignments or priority boarding status. It was… a little chaotic. Still, once on the plane heading to Iceland, the flight attendants looked like they just got off a European runway. Style counts for something in the world of airlines!

PLAY airlines

Flying out of Iceland back home to the United States was a completely different experience. All PLAY staff were primed up and not only knowledgeable, but passionate about working for PLAY. Anyone who had originally paid for priority boarding was boarded first and the gate agents and flight attendants looked and acted like they were on top of any questions. It was a breath of fresh air, yet it stood out that PLAY is solid in its home hubs of Iceland and Europe, but has staff training gaps to fill in the United States.

So is PLAY worth it?

It depends. On you, your budget, and how much space you need. If you’re manifesting yourself to Iceland or Europe this summer and you’re ballin’ on a budget, then most definitely. If you can sleep on a long flight even when wedged beside strangers — you got this. With the four tiers of PLAY airfare, you can definitely fly across the ocean to make your summer dreams come true for as much as half the price of competitive airlines’ routes. Just make sure to pack your own snacks, water, and know that you’re paying less so you splurge on other parts of the trip.

To celebrate National Tourist Appreciation Day all week, PLAY will make one lucky U.S. traveler a “Tourist for the Year” with free flights to the airline’s 40+ European destinations. PLAY flies daily from Boston, New York, and DC-area airports, with a stop in its bucket-list-worthy home, Iceland. Travelers can enter the giveaway until May 12th here.

While only one person can win the Tourist for The Year Giveaway, PLAY invites all travelers to “pay less, PLAY more” with 25% off flights to 10 destinations: Iceland, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Gothenburg, Hamburg, London, Paris, and Stockholm. The deal expires on May 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET.