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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Arthur Frommer: Iceland Express offers deals to Europe

By Arthur Frommer

We tend to forget that a feisty, cost-cutting carrier called Iceland Express (not to be confused with the larger and long-established Icelandair) is now crossing the Atlantic (via Reykjavik, Iceland) throughout the year, and offering the world's best prices for those flights. If you go to www.icelandexpress.com, you'll find that the relatively new airline is currently charging a total of $469, including all taxes and fees, for that round-trip flight from New York, on twice-weekly dates between Jan. 7 and March 28. Considering the inclusion of hefty, British-determined fees and taxes, its price is the lowest for that route in travel today.

But that's only for starters. Whenever I mention Iceland Express in a column, I am immediately told by readers that if one signs up for periodic e-mail notices of special, private sales, it's possible to make the round-trip New York-to-London journey for as little as $399, including all taxes and fees.

So I have now signed up to receive such notices. You do so by going to "About Us" on the carrier's website, then clicking on "Newsletter." It is that electronic newsletter that throughout the year alerts you to those cheaper rates. Signing up for the newsletter is a 30-second job, and if you are an inveterate traveler who wants to make the trans-Atlantic crossing on a frequent basis, you'll want to take advantage of this valuable offer.

In summer, of course, Iceland Express becomes of even greater importance to cost-conscious travelers going to such major European cities as London, Paris, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Barcelona, Warsaw, Stockholm, Basel, Bologna and several others, reached via flights starting in June from New York, Boston and Chicago and again crossing the Atlantic via Reykjavik. Round-trip flights to most European capitals at that time are often priced at about $650 round-trip, which is several hundred dollars less than standard carriers are charging.

Iceland Express will again fly this coming summer to Europe via Reykjavik on a daily basis from New York City (starting early June) and three times a week from Boston and Chicago (starting June 10 and June 13). An important recent announcement is that it also will begin flying from Reykjavik to Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin, Ireland (on a twice-a-week or weekly basis), starting June 10 and continuing until the end of August. This means that Americans eager to attend the monthlong Edinburgh Festival (which starts in early August) have a cheap way to get there from New York, Boston and Chicago (via Reykjavik), and also that Dublin is now available to Americans for as much as $300 less than on a standard carrier. Prices from New York to Dublin will start at one-way prices (including all taxes and fees) of about $320, with Edinburgh costing the same and Belfast costing about $22 more.

Iceland Express operates smallish Boeing 757s carrying a usual 225 or so passengers, and therefore its capacity is fairly limited. If you're not to be disappointed, you should make your reservations now — and if you do, you'll enjoy major trans-Atlantic savings.

Arthur Frommer is the pioneering founder of the Frommer's Travel Guide book series. He co-hosts the radio program The Travel Show with his travel correspondent daughter Pauline Frommer. Find more destinations online and read Arthur Frommer's blog at frommers.com.

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