Normally the announcement of new basic economy fares is downright depressing, but this new offering from Icelandair is actually good news! Icelandair has been around since 1937 and has been more of a leisure carrier than a bare-bones ultra-low-cost carrier like competitor WOW Air. Icelandair's “Standard Economy” fares include amenities such as free seat assignment and a checked bag up to 50 lbs. These free amenities have made it one of our favorite transatlantic airlines.
In an effort to compete directly with WOW air, Icelandair has introduced a new “Economy Light” fare. The only difference from the old economy fare is you can't check a bag for free. You can still carry-on (up to 22 lbs) + personal item for free, which is how I'd recommend you travel anyhow. Always avoid checking a bag. Pack light friends!
Unlike most basic economy fares, which are priced the same as their old economy fares, Icelandair's new “Economy Light” fare is $20-$40 cheaper. Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers received an email about the incredible sub-$300 transatlantic fares yesterday. WOW air will have to step it up to compete as their fares don't include carry-on or seat assignment, and they also don't have seatback entertainment like Icelandair. The only fees you will see on Icelandair are for checking a bag and purchasing alcoholic beverages and meals.
Travelers will be pleased to hear the new fare can still include a free stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days. This is one of my favorite perks offered by any airline. If you have the choice between flying Icelandair and WOW air I'd always recommend Icelandair. Unlike WOW, Icelandair offers gate to gate WiFi, seatback entertainment, as well as free seat assignment and carry-on.