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It's still one month until Christmas and already we've found a lump of coal in our stocking. Yesterday, the low-cost airline Iceland Express went out of business after its operator, Astraeus, went bankrupt. This sucks! It's bad news no only because it's horrible when a company travelers count on ceases to operate, but also because Iceland Express' cheery orange planes were the only option for affordable one-way flights from New York to Iceland, and even on to Europe.
Going roundtrip on Iceland Express from New York to Reykjavik could go as low as $399, and secretly we've been dreaming of hopping a transatlantic cruise, then returning from London via Iceland Express with a stopover in Iceland. Perhaps it all seemed too perfect, we knew it wouldn't last. The airline even had Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson as a pilot.
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Yes, this airplane totally exists and yes, we feel kinda late to the news since it's actually been tooling around the world since notorious heavy metal band Iron Maiden customized an Astraeus Airlines Boeing 757 in 2008 to fly around on their world tours. It wasn't until this week that we really learned what we were missing, when Lonely Planet's US Editor Robert Reid hopped onboard "Ed Force One" for a tete-a-tete with Iron Maiden frontman (and the plane's Captain) Bruce Dickinson. You can read the first bit of Reid's adventures here.
What the what?! It just seems too awesome to handle. Heavy metal man Dickinson goes from flying high on stage to champion fencer to flying high literally, as a part-time pilot with Astraeus. Iron Maiden is still touring, believe it or not, but Bruce makes time to jet. Andhere's the real newsthe plane is now on a somewhat regular schedule flying to the US from Iceland, with international low-cost carrier Iceland Express.
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If it can be said that the second half of 2010 belongs to the controversy over full-body scanners, then the first half of the year definitely goes to the flight-cancelling powers of the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano and its resulting ginormous ash cloud. Because this natural event so disrupted air travel for most of March and all of April, the traveling public now has it branded into their minds, so naturally there should be an easy website to quickly check whether or not an Icelandic volcano is erupting right now.
When we first saw that low-cost international airline Iceland Express was going to begin service between Orlando and Reykjavik in October, we got pretty curious about what sort of in-flight entertainment they offer for such a lengthy flight, if any.
Imagine our surprise when, while idly flipping through the online version of their duty-free catalog (check that out here), we happened across an ad for exactly what we were looking forIFE of some sort. Like Alaska Airlines and their little "digEplayer" rental united, Iceland Express has a handheld option available onboard.
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Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all the new route announcements that come our way, so we’ve complied a little bit of a rundown below. As long as you can afford the fares, this should definitely help add to your passport stamp collection.
Cancun is on Delta’s radar more than ever this winter as they’re adding a couple of new route options. The airline is starting up Saturday nonstop service from San Antonio beginning on February 19. They’re also starting up similar nonstop service from Tampa to Cancun just in time for winter with Saturday flights and the same February 19 planned launch date. Just make sure to visit before the spring break crowds take over.
· Allegiant Air:
It doesn’t have the nightlife of Fargo, but Minot, North Dakota is getting some new routes thanks to Allegiant Air. The cheapo carrier is adding twice-weekly flights between the city and Las Vegas this fall. Things should start up on October 22, and the one-way fares will start at just $70. There’s already options from Grand Forks and Fargo, so North Dakota seems to be covered when it comes to getting to Sin City for less.
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Believe it or not, it's already been since the beginning of June that low-cost airline Iceland Express began flying between Newark-Liberty International and Iceland's Reykjavik-Keflavik Airport. The route has done well for them and they're extending the seasonal service through the end of October, as well as throwing in a totally new routeOrlando to Reykjavikspecially for the month of October, but we're guessing it'll return for summer 2011. The Orlando flights begin October 2 and end October 26, chiefly for Icelanders to get a last bit of sun.
If you're looking to squeeze in a last taste of Europe in summer, the airline is also throwing a huge sale on flights from New York to their European mainland destinations. For $399, taxes included, you can get from NYC to Copenhagen (we found $399 for a Sept 6 departure, Sept 13 return), London-Gatwick ($399 for Sept 2 departure, Sept 6 return), and Luxembourg (Sept 1 departure, Sept 9 return). Surf around for more dates, but remember not to try later than October since the airline will leave NYC for the winter.
If you thought that 2009 was the year to grab a cheap package to Iceland in order to take advantage of the country's floundering economy and inexpensive prices because of the pesky bank failure, then just wait until 2010 really gets a move on. Flights to the cold island nation are about to get cheaper, more plentiful and even hipper thanks to LCC airline Iceland Express flooding the country with tourists when they add all sorts of new routes in June.
Currently, Iceland Express flies from Reykjavik to two of London's airports and five other European cities; all routes which truly helped shovel tourists and their money into the country during 2009. Come 2010 though, the LCC will expand like gangbusters! In addition to throwing in another Iceland city (Akureyri) on flights to London and even Copenhagen, the airline is starting direct Reykjavik flights to Newark, Winnipeg, Barcelona, Basel, Frankfurt, Krakow, Luxembourg, Milan, Oslo, Paris and more.
What this means for Iceland's economy, after the jump
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There's a new low cost airline coming into our court, and it's one of our most anticipated travel events for 2010. Can you guess? It's just too good, so we'll tell you: Iceland Express will begin flying direct from Newark International Airport to Reykjavik in the beginning of June, and there's no doubt about it.
This is great news for New Yorkers anxious to have a quick (but far) trip to places other than the Caribbean, the west coast or London. Heck, a flight to Reykjavik is only five hours; we can easily spend that long on the internet at a Starbucks.
So, since this is a low cost airline, they're advertising one-way flights beginning at $275, and indeed we found a plethora of June dates still at this lowest rate, but it looked like return flights are a little pricier at $290. Keep in mind that airlines love to have specials...so we'll be keeping our eyes on Iceland Express for you during the next few months.
· Iceland Express [Official Site]
· The Hottest New Airline Routes for 2010, Plus 36 from EasyJet [Jaunted]
· Iceland Express coverage [Jaunted]
Tsa The Season / Holiday Travel / Celebrating In The Skies / In-Flight Meals / Iceland Travel / Iceland Express / Christmas Travel / Airline News / → All Tags
Welcome to our new feature on the ways that the airlines are making you more comfy and less cranky this holiday travel season"Celebrating In The Skies." Some airlines just want you to sit down and shut up, but thesethanks to extra treats and smileswill show you how much they appreciate your flying with them.
Can low cost carrier Iceland Express just hurry up and fly to Newark already? They've already got several Europe routes and Newark won't start until summer 2010, so we're jealous that it'll be only Euros enjoying the magical holiday surprises in store onboard Iceland Express flights this week.
If you are lucky enough to be flying to Iceland for their four daily hours of sunlight at this time of the year, where's what you'll find onboard your flight:
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While we're busy speculating on what destinations are next up for Virgin America, here's the need-to-know new routes coming your way:
· easyJet is expanding for summer 2010 on an astonishing 36 new routes. After all, they've got pale Britons to get to the sunny spots! The complete, drool-worthy list is here, but a few highlights are: Basel – Thessaloniki, Rome Fiumicino – Dubrovnik, Ibiza – Venice, Paris Orly – Mykonos and Doncaster – Prague.
· Iceland Express is an LCC we've had our eyes on now for some time, and starting in summer 2010, they'll be flying our waya few miles away to be more specific, since Newark to Reykjavik is totally happening. Rest assured that we'll be all over this like syrup on some pecan pancakes.
But wait! There's four more...
You might remember that Robbie Williams is particularly unpopular in Iceland, but they certainly love their own pop stars. Sure, they don't have too many, but the eccentricity of singer Björk alone makes up for that.
If you love Icelandic singers too, you might want to check out a big event on June 28, when Björk and Sigur Rós will play a free outdoor concert for anyone who happens to be in Iceland at the time.
Iceland Express will have extra-cheap flights over the week of the concert, so getting there from other parts of Europe will be easy--and relatively cheap, with return tickets from 195 ($300), all in. If nothing else, spending a summer vacation at an Icelandic pop concert is different from what you did last year.
[Photo: Straight Lines]
We've been in love with the crazy gang at low cost carrier Iceland Express ever since they taught us how to get a date with an Icelander. But with their newest gimmick, we positively want to marry Iceland Express. Because Iceland socks.
No, that's not a typo. Hit the Iceland Socks website (produced by Iceland Express) and you'll be confronted with several pairs of socks to choose from, and the ability to make your own mini-movie set in Iceland, featuring your chosen pair of socks. Just pick a few landscapes, add subtitles and you can send your movie to your friends. Trust us, it'll be hilarious!
We're always impressed with what Iceland Express comes up with to try to lure people to the country. Sock movies... really cool, but we still haven't booked our trip to Iceland.
[Photo: Iceland Socks]