Another stripped down economy class offering is now flying across the Atlantic Ocean. Icelandair Economy Light fares launched today, removing the checked baggage allocation for the ticket. Other amenities, including IFE and non-alcoholic beverages are still included in the fare. Economy Light passengers will also still have a 10kg (22 pound) carry-on bag included in their fare.
“We are making some progressive changes in our service and among those is Economy Light. This option is designed for travellers taking a short weekend getaway or a quick business trip abroad. The new fare is also perfect when traveling with family members that don´t require additional luggage such as children or couples who can pack together. These passengers will enjoy the same quality of service from Icelandair including in-flight entertainment, non-alcoholic beverages, gate-to-gate wi-fi access and comfortable, spacious seats,” says Guðmundur Óskarsson SVP of Sales & Marketing.
The savings for Economy Light appears to hover around $63 for a one way fare between the US and Continental Europe. Buying the checked bag separately prices at $95 according to the baggage fees page so the savings impact is real. Also, as with most such launches 3rd party booking engines are not all showing it correctly right now; buyer beware.
It is easy to say that the move is a response to WOW or Aer Lingus or Norwegian or the several other airlines that are chipping away at Icelandair’s transatlantic market. But it also just might be a means for the airline to raise fares. Icelandair’s Economy Light stops short of what would typically be called Basic Economy in that it does not affect advance seat selection, carry-on bags or points earning for the trip.
Many of the other carriers do limit those options on their cheapest economy fares. Icelandair Economy Light fares also carry higher change fees than the regular economy fares.
“We are widening our product options and meeting the various needs of our passengers. This will make traveling more flexible and affordable and better serve the many different types of travellers who fly with us,” says Oskarsson.
I do question Oskarsson’s statement about pooling of baggage allowance in the press release, “perfect when traveling with family members that don´t require additional luggage such as children or couples who can pack together.” That implies that travelers can book multiple passengers on a single reservation with the different allowances. Alas, there is no way to split the fare types in a single booking as is suggested. That is not surprising as most airline systems require all passengers on a single reservation to be booked on identical fares. I guess Icelandair wants travelers to book kids on separate reservations with no baggage allowance (and, by the way, kids seem to need plenty of spce for stuff when they travel from what I’ve seen) and the parents with bags?? That also makes no sense.
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