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News: How a tiny budget airline turned Iceland into a favorite vacation spot

Hosted | October 31, 2016
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Remember the volcanic eruption in Mount Eyjafjallajökull back in 2010? The one that disrupted thousands of flights across (mostly) Europe? Well, it turns out Iceland’s government and local entrepreneur Skúli Mogensen turned this into a great opportunity, attracting so far 1.6m visitors this year alone! 

 

WOW Air CEO Skúli Mogensen

Iceland was never big on tourism, in fact in 1946 which was the first time the country ever captured data on arrivals, there were only around five thousand visitors. Fast forward to 2016, it’s becoming America’s favourite destination with flight prices for a single ticket from LA getting down to $99! Crazy, right?

Turns out, WOW Air was established as really a budget airline cutting costs even from almost everywhere: no free snacks, no free drinks, no free WiFi. The company also gets most of its revenue from add-ons and its online hub where flyers can book hotels, rent cars, and sign up for all kinds of Iceland-specific activities. This helps finance their main business (flying people from point A to point B) and helps them avoid hiking up ticket costs.

Small fleets, few destinations, low costs — ask Mogensen why he’s bothered to stay so tiny, and he’ll offer a simple reply: It works.

Despite its short life span, WOW air has managed to become one of the most talked-about airlines in the business. From its plum-toned planes to its ultralow fares that make you wonder where the fees are hiding , the company has figured out how to earn adoration in one of the world’s most hated industries and put Iceland’s beauty within reach.

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