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How to Book Cheap Flights to Iceland: Guide To Direct Flights & Best Times To Fly

So, you’re on the hunt for some cheap flights to Iceland? Iceland is a destination that’s on many people’s bucket lists, and for good reason, but the cost of plane tickets can make it a struggle to plan your visit. The Nordic country’s dramatic landscape is peppered with volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs, and lava fields, making it a nature lover’s playground.

If the Land of Fire and Ice has captured your wanderlust spirit, you’ve probably gone online to check the prices for Iceland flights and then shelved the idea. Your flight to Iceland doesn’t have to break the bank, and if you’ve got the time and flexibility, you can save big.

Reynisfjara black sand beach, Iceland
Milo / Flickr

I’ve taken two trips to Iceland and now I’m sharing my budget hacks with you so that you too can experience the magic of Iceland and save on flights.

The first tip? Sign up for (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights). You can even save 20% off your Going membership when you use code VIA20 at checkout!

How to Book Cheap Flights to Iceland

1. Factors to Consider Before Flying to Iceland

H.Raab / Flickr

The first question you need to ask yourself is: what do you want to see? The time of year you visit can drastically affect your experience (though let’s be clear, Iceland is beautiful year-round).

If you’re hoping to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, then you’ll want to visit between September and March, the peak Northern Lights season. Now a second question you’ll want to ask yourself is: how much do you enjoy the snow?

I’ve gone to Iceland both in October and February, and both times I encountered crazy snowstorms that have impacted my travel plans, tours, and even my walking plans (it’s slippery). Winter near the Arctic is not for everyone, but for those that crave the cold, it will be a life-changing experience.

If you’d rather not strap on a pair of Yak-Traks to leave your hotel, then the summer months are right up your alley. The Midnight Sun provides nearly 24 hours of sunlight, giving you ample time to explore endless hiking trails without those sneaky snow squalls. The summer months also give you access to certain parts of Iceland, like the Highlands, that are just not accessible during the winter.

See Related: Iceland Road Trip Itinerary: Maximize Your Ring Road Tour

2. What Airlines Fly to Iceland?

Fly Play Airplane
Steve Knight / Flickr

There are several airlines with flights to Iceland. The major airlines that fly to Iceland from the United States are Icelandair, JetBlue, Fly Play, and Delta — with airBaltic, KLM, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic holding down the European side.

Leaving your brand loyalty at the checkout cart will save you money in the long run. A lot of these recognizable guys are spendy – and there are cheaper airlines out there.

Fly Play is one of the newest airlines going to Iceland, and one I’ve had some experience with. This low-cost airline was founded in 2019 and is headquartered out of Reykjavik.

This is the most budget-friendly option for those traveling from the United States, without a doubt. Fly Play is basically an international version of Spirit Airlines, so however you feel about Spirit Airlines, you’ll feel the same way about Fly Play.

Everything with this airline is a la carte, which means you’ll be paying extra for your carry-on, seat selection, and so on, much like Ryanair. This can add up pretty quickly, but for budget travelers, Fly Play is a great option.

I’ve flown both Icelandair and Fly Play and while the former had a much more luxurious feel, Fly Play got the job done just as well. Weirdly enough, I did notice Fly Play had a bit more legroom than I was expecting from a budget airline, which is always a nice perk, especially when flight times tend to run around six hours.

No matter what airline you choose, your Iceland flight will land at Keflavik International Airport. It’s about 30 miles (48km) west of Reykjavik, and there are many shuttles, buses, and car rental companies to get you to the capital city.

3. Which Airports to Depart From in the United States & Europe

Icelandair Plane
Thomas Arnoux / Flickr

The United States has substantially fewer airlines that offer nonstop flights to Iceland, but since Iceland is slowly becoming one of the most popular destinations, more airports and airlines are joining in on the fun. Icelandair, Delta, United, and Play Airlines all offer routes from the United States to Iceland, and your primary two airlines to keep an eye on are Icelandair and Fly Play.

Many of your major east coast international airports like Boston, Orlando, Washington D.C., and New York all have direct flights, but it’s not uncommon to see direct flights from Chicago, Denver, or even Portland too.

Keep in mind that it may be cheaper to find a direct flight on the east coast and get a domestic flight to that airport separately. Every dollar counts! So, for example, if you live in Kansas, it may be cheaper to snag that cheap flight to Iceland from John F Kennedy International Airport and then purchase a separate flight from Kansas to JFK.

This is also where you can use any loyalty points or miles you have with a domestic airline. If you’ve got the rewards, use them! Every little bit counts and every cent saved is just adding to the fun activities waiting for you in the Land of Fire and Ice.

Here’s a list of what airports and airlines fly to Keflavik International Airport and which carriers can help you find nonstop flights to Iceland in the United States and Canada:

Direct RouteAirline
Baltimore: BWI to KEFIcelandair, PLAY
Boston: BOS to KEFDelta, Icelandair, PLAY
Chicago: ORD to KEFIcelandair, United
Denver: DEN to KEFIcelandair
Minneapolis: MSP to KEFDelta, Icelandair
Montreal: YUL to KEFAir Canada, Icelandair
New York City: JFK to KEFDelta, Icelandair
Central New York: SWF to KEFPLAY
Newark, NJ: EWR to KEFIcelandair, United
Orlando: MCO to KEFIcelandair, PLAY
Portland, OR: PDX to KEFIcelandair
Raleigh: RDU to KEFIcelandair
Toronto: YYZ to KEFAir Canada, Icelandair
Vancouver: YVR to KEFIcelandair
Washington, DC: IAD to KEFIcelandair

On the European side, Icelandair, in particular, offers several airlines flying all over Europe including London Heathrow, Dublin, Rome…basically every major airport in Europe from Madrid to Helsinki!

Here’s a quick rundown of the majority of the major European airports and airlines offering direct flights to Iceland:

Flight RouteAirline
Aberdeen: ABZ-KEFIcelandair
Alicante: ALC-KEFNorwegian, Primera Air
Amsterdam: AMS-KEFIcelandair, Transavia
Barcelona: BCN-KEFNorwegian, Vueling
Basel: BSL-KEFeasyJet
Berlin: TXL-KEFAir Berlin
Bergen: BGO-KEFIcelandair, Norwegian
Birmingham: BHX-KEFIcelandair, Jet2
Belfast City: BHD-KEFeasyJet
Billund: BLL-KEFIcelandair
Bristol: BRS-KEFeasyJet, TUI Airways
Brussels: BRU-KEFIcelandair
Budapest: BUD-KEFWizz Air
Copenhagen: CPH-KEFIcelandair, SAS
Dublin: DUB-KEFIcelandair
Dusseldorf: DUS-KEFAir Berlin
Edinburgh: EDI-KEFeasyJet
Frankfurt: FRA-KEFIcelandair, Lufthansa
Gdansk: GDN-KEFWizz Air
Geneva: GVA-KEFeasyJet
Glasgow: GLA-KEFIcelandair
Hamburg: HAM-KEFIcelandair
Helsinki: HEL-KEFIcelandair, Finnair
Katowice: KTW-KEFWizz Air
London: LHR-KEF/LGW-KEF/LTN-KEFBritish Airways, easyJet, Icelandair, TUI Airways
Madrid: MAD-KEFIcelandair, Iberia Express
Manchester: MAN-KEFIcelandair, easyJet, TUI Airways
Munich: MUC-KEFIcelandair
Nuuk: GOH-KEFAir Iceland Connect, Air Greenland
Oslo: OSL-KEFIcelandair, SAS, Norwegian
Paris: CDG-KEFIcelandair, Transavia
Prague: PRG-KEFCzech Airlines, Wizz Air, Smartwings
Stockholm: ARN-KEFIcelandair
Vienna: VIE-KEFWizz Air
Warsaw: WAW-KEFWizz Air
Zurich: ZRH-KEFIcelandair

Currently, there are no direct flights from Asia or Australia, but you can always fly to one of the destinations above and then catch a flight from one of these airports. Regardless of your destination, 99% of flights will land at Keflavik Airport, the largest airport in Iceland.

There’s only one terminal here, so it’s very easy to navigate. Keflavik Airport is where most international flights arrive and depart from, and keep in mind the airport is about 30 miles (50km) away from Reykjavik, which ends up around a 45-minute drive.

See Related: Best Airports for Layovers Around the World

4. How To Find The Cheapest Flight To Iceland

Happy luggage with sunglasses and face mask
Marco Verch Professional / Flickr

Everyone wants the best price, but who has them? Well, there are a few different tips you can use to help you lock in your cheap flights to Iceland.

One of the biggest tips I can give you is to have flexible dates. On average, flights in the middle of the week are cheaper than on the weekends. You’d be surprised at how much you can save by shifting around your dates and having flexible flight times.

Also, the earlier you can book flights to Iceland, the more likely you will find cheap airfares. This is also super helpful because if you’re booking your flight in advance, it’s much easier to have a little wiggle room on your departure date.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to start your search at least two months in advance, with the sweet spot around 4-6 months out. Of course, if you’re really flexible, sometimes you can find a last-minute ticket for pretty cheap, which is how I found my way to Iceland in February with less than 30 days between when I bought the tickets and when I landed at Keflavik International Airport.

Using a few different websites can really help out when it comes to finding the cheapest flight. Not every website will have the same rates, so spending the time to check out a few different websites can save you some money. Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Going are a few of the major websites that can help you find the cheapest fares.

Going, in particular, offers a membership tier that may be beneficial to you if you’re making travel a priority in the next few years. Once you create an account, you select the airports you’d prefer to fly out of and Going will send you newsletter-style deals on the best destinations. This is awesome for wanderlust warriors who don’t necessarily care where they’re going, they just want to go somewhere.

You may even find luck with Expedia, a longstanding pillar in the travel world that has helped millions snag great deals on flights.

Ticket prices fluctuate like the stock market, and these websites often will increase the price if they notice a particular travel destination is high on its search rankings. You may be unknowingly increasing the price by constantly checking flights! To avoid this, you’ll want to use the incognito mode of your browser, so that the website can’t check out your search history and cookies. And clear your browser history, cache, and cookies before you begin your search – trust me, it all helps.

While a direct flight is often the most popular route, it can also be the most expensive. Sometimes, the best deals will give you a long layover at an airport, and you can use that to your advantage! Spend some time exploring these cities, and make the best use of your time.

This is especially popular in Europe, where you may catch a flight with an extended layover in Berlin, Oslo, or even London. Now you’ve got a mini trip to explore the city and potentially make plans to come back for an extended stay. The more flexible you are, the more flexible airfares you’ll find.

5. Best & Cheapest Times to Fly to Iceland

Iceland landscape
Giuseppe Milo / Flickr

Ticket prices are based on peak tourist times, so to get the cheapest flight, you’ll want to go to Iceland during the “off times.” Now, let’s be perfectly clear: Iceland is stunning year-round, but you’ll have very different experiences visiting Iceland in the winter and visiting Iceland in the summer.

Summer is the most popular time to go to Iceland, with July and August being the two busiest months. Both of the times I’ve been to Iceland (October and February) were outside tourist season, which made it easier to find cheap flights.

So if you have your heart set on summer in Iceland, consider maybe visiting in June, or even September, just on the edge of peak tourist season. You’ll most likely be getting the same experience, without the crowds and a few extra bucks in your pocket.

June is also one of the driest months in Iceland, so you could very well experience nothing but beautiful sunshine during your holiday. Of course, if you can brave the frigid temperatures, December through February are when you’ll find the cheapest flights to Iceland, but it comes at a much different price!

Iceland is known for its dramatic weather changes, and visiting any Arctic country during the dead of winter is bound to cause some weather-related cancellations, and driving in Iceland during the winter is an Olympic sport, reserved for only the most stalwart, experienced winter drivers. February is arguably the cheapest month and when you’ll find the best prices, just be prepared to have a flexible schedule as those winter storms are no joke.

The payoff of visiting Iceland in February is getting the opportunity to see Iceland’s dreamy landscape blanketed in snow, and of course, the potential aurora sightings. Both are fair trade in my opinion!

See Related: Best Websites for Cheap Flights and Hotels

6. Extra Costs to Consider

Packing Layout open suitcase
Marco Verch Professional / Flickr

Once you’ve selected your airline and purchased your ticket, here’s where things can really add up if you’re not careful. I’m always team carry-on and never check any luggage, but the time of year you travel can make that decision for you. Traveling to Iceland in the winter means you’ll be bringing a lot of winter gear, and that’s just very bulky and takes up so much more space than your summer wardrobe.

Packing everything into a carry-on will save you money, and we’ve even created a packing guide to help you travel the world smarter. We promise you don’t need all of those pairs of shoes.

If there’s one cost I would highly recommend splurging on, it’s picking a seat on the plane. Flights from the United States to Iceland tend to arrive very early in the morning (think 4 or 5 am), which may sound like a jetlag nightmare, but the silver lining is that you may have the chance to see the Northern Lights from the plane! I sat on the left side of the plane going to Iceland and the right side departing Iceland and was blessed with Green Lady sightings on both flights!

Even if you’re team aisle, switch it up for this flight and pick a window. If your flight is in the summer or during the day, you’ll pass over Greenland, and that’s a beautiful sight from the sky!

7. Consider Bundling Up

Traveling man And woman exploring Iceland
stakhov / Adobe Stock

No, we’re not talking about clothes (although if you’re visiting Iceland in the winter, then yes, absolutely bundle up). Once you’ve found your flight and begun the hunt for hotels, rental cars, and tours, you may find it’s still more expensive than you had hoped.

Well, good news, prospective bundler! Many airlines, like Icelandair, offer vacation packages that may be worth your while. Some of these packages include rental cars, some include hotels, and some include scheduled tours ranging from Northern Lights hunts to culinary food tours…there’s truly a tour package for everyone.

These packages are often offered at discounted rates, so if you know you want to see some of Iceland’s most popular attractions, like the Golden Circle, then it may be worth your while to bundle up and save big! You can always add extra tours through popular sites like GetYourGuide to build the vacation of your dreams.

And just because these packages are offered at discounted rates, don’t think that you’ll be missing out on the experience! Airlines work with their trusted partners and wouldn’t put their name alongside a company that doesn’t meet their expectations.

Now, it’s always a good idea to check the reviews for a tour company or a rental agency, but for the most part, these major airlines have already given the thumbs up. It’s all about putting in the work ahead of time and staying flexible. Who knows, you may even find the perfect vacation package for you!

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