Choosing Your Flights to Iceland
When planning your Iceland trip, it can be tempting to use an airline such as EasyJet in order to get a lower tour price. However, this may not be the best option for your group.
Here are eight important factors to consider when choosing your airline:
Schedules and prices are normally issued by the Icelandic airlines Icelandair, WOW and BA about a year in advance, whilst easyJet releases this information somewhat later. Airline pricing is based on supply and demand, the more seats which are sold on a particular flight the higher the fare becomes for the remaining seats. As most schools travel to Iceland during similar times of the year (especially October half-term, February half-term and the Easter period) the competition for seats can be very high. For those schools willing to commit early enough, we can usually obtain realistic fare prices with Icelandair, WOW and BA as soon as they become available. easyJet works in a different way, they publish their schedules somewhat later meaning fares for groups can often be higher than those offered initially by the two other airlines. The problem is that if you wait to see what easyJet has to offer, you will almost certainly miss out on the lowest fares offered by the Icelandic airlines.
Using the lowest easyJet fare to estimate the cost of a school trip generally does not provide an accurate cost. If we have provided you with an easyJet quote, it is based on the lowest fare that we feel might be available for a group. However, we can only accurately find out the true cost when the flights are made available and we try and book them. At that moment we will know the fare, but until we actually book and pay for the tickets, the cost could change at any moment. Depending on the period you wish to travel, the fare could easily increase by up to £200, if not more. Some tour operators will only use easyJet fares, to make their pricing more appealing. These operators tend to avoid specifying the airline or departure airport in your initial quotation, so please exercise caution when comparing quotations from different tour operators.
As mentioned earlier, flight seats during peak school visit periods are always in high demand. With Icelandair and WOW we can reserve your seats at a guaranteed price for a number of weeks (once their schedule has been released – usually just under a year ahead), this allows you time to launch the trip and promote a confirmed price to your students. You do not have this luxury with easyJet and flight prices can change significantly, sometimes within minutes. We have many examples of schools seeing their tour price increase by as much as £200 per person due to a change in the flight costs imposed by easyJet.
BA work slightly differently and although we cannot reserve seats with a guaranteed price, in our experience the prices do not fluctuate as much as with easyJet.
Due to Discover the World’s position in Iceland (we are the world’s largest incoming tour operator there), our close relationship with Icelandair, WOW and BA means that we can work with them to ensure the impact of unexpected issues remains minimal. A good example of this was during the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption. Our close connection with Icelandair (WOW was not established then) allowed us to return nine school groups home either on time or with relatively limited delays. Our groups could safely take advantage of the short openings in the ash clouds. We were able to communicate quickly and directly with the airline management team and then directly with the group leaders and our colleagues in Iceland. This level of support and communication is simply not offered by easyJet.
Choosing to wait until low cost flights are released can have an impact on your accommodation. We are unable to hold accommodation on request for long periods and whilst it is extremely unlikely that there will be no accommodation available for your group, it is more likely that the most popular accommodations will not be available by the time budget airlines release their flights.
If booking with easyJet, we require payment for the full flight cost and a full passenger name list (including all passport information) in order to make a booking. Additional charges such as name changes will be passed back to your group and are often higher when compared with Icelandair, WOW or BA.
It is important to consider the flight timings when choosing your flights. Please bear in mind that flights at more sociable hours are often more expensive….but of course they do allow more time in Iceland and lack of sleep can of course be a real dampener to the morale of your group! It is not possible to determine on which days of the week or from which airports flights will run until they are released. Ahead of that time we will quote based on expected patterns, but these cannot be guaranteed.
We cannot ensure that your group will be seated together on board an easyJet flight and even if this is possible, it is likely a supplementary charge will be applicable. There is however no problem in arranging this free of charge for Icelandair, WOW or BA flights.
Having read through the previous sections, you may feel that Discover the World Education have something against easyJet. This is far from the case and it is important to state that we have successfully worked with school groups for whom easyJet did provide the best option. However there are real and fundamental difficulties which this airline’s business model provides for group organisers, we feel it’s only right that we bring them to your attention. Should you wish to proceed with using easyJet, we recommend that you add a contingency of at least £100-200 per person to provide protection in the event that your flight price does increase. Speak with your Travel Specialist for more information.