Icelandic low-cost carrier Play expanded its US service on Friday with its inaugural flight from Stansted to New York Stewart International Airport.
The flight took off at 11.47am with 160 passengers on board and extends the airline’s presence to a third US airport, following the launch of transatlantic services to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Boston Logan International Airport earlier this year.
The new service goes via Reykjavik, allowing passengers to extend their trip in Iceland or fly straight to the Stewart Airport with a 95-minute stopover. Tickets start from £159 one-way.
Stewart airport is 60 miles north of Manhattan, farther away than New York’s other international hubs at JFK and Newark.
But the airline claimed it takes passengers “an hour less” to get to Manhattan “thanks to time saved getting through airport customs, compared to the much lengthier processes” at the larger airports.
In addition, Play claimed faster transport routes by taxi, bus and train mean travelling from Stewart is “faster and more convenient”.
Chief executive Birgir Jónsson said the introduction of transatlantic flights paired with the “huge appetite” for travel has prompted a 338% increase in ticket sales compared with January.
He said: “Almost one year after our very first flight took off from London Stansted to Reykjavik, we’re over the moon to have launched our third US destination from the UK.
“Play’s ticket sales sky-rocketed 338% in May 2022 when compared to January 2022, following the launch of our first flights to Baltimore/Washington and Boston, and the huge appetite for travel we’re experiencing across Europe.
“We know Brits are looking for a bargain when it comes to summer breaks this year and the low fares and flexibility that passengers experience at Stewart International Airport are exactly what passengers seek when they book their travel with Play.”