There is some very good news for passengers flying out of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) in Maryland. Starting in 2022, Icelandair will fly a Boeing 737 MAX 8 to the airport from its hub at Keflavík International Airport (KEF) in Reykjavík, Iceland. This new service comes as BWI sees travelers return and flexes its muscles as a major airport in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. metro area.
Icelandair is coming to BWI
Starting on May 13th, 2022, Icelandair will launch flights between BWI and KEF. Utilizing a Boeing 737 MAX 8, flights will run four times per week.
Flights are scheduled to depart BWI at 20:30 and arrive in KEF the next morning at 06:25. This flight is blocked at five hours and 55 minutes. Flights to Maryland depart KEF at 17:10 and arrive at BWI at 19:30. This flight is blocked at six hours and 20 minutes. All times are local.
Icelandair will fly to BWI’s Concourse E. This is where the airport handles international arrivals. Icelandair will be the only carrier flying nonstop between Baltimore and Iceland. The route will start just in time for the busy summer travel season.
Governor Larry Hogan stated the following on the new link:
“As Maryland continues to recover from the global pandemic, we welcome new opportunities for international tourism and trade. This additional service connecting Maryland to Iceland – and beyond – is a positive sign for the economy here and abroad.”
Meanwhile, Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair, stated the following:
“Iceland is now open to all vaccinated U.S. passengers, and Europe is beginning to open their borders, as well. We are pleased to return to Baltimore/Washington International Airport with nonstop flights to Iceland and beyond. Our return shows the promising future of air travel and our commitment to better serve the Baltimore-Washington area. We look forward to offering travelers more options when traveling to Europe and welcoming BWI aboard again.”
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About the aircraft
Icelandair flies both the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9. The MAX 8 will run flights to Baltimore and is outfitted with room for 160 passengers onboard.
At the front of the plane, there are 16 recliner-style business class seats. This cabin is branded as “Saga Premium” and is outfitted in a 2-2 configuration. Behind this are 144 economy class seats in a 3-3 configuration.
Icelandair advertises a seat pitch of 40″ in business class, with 20.5″ wide seats. In economy, Icelandair’s MAX 8s have 31-32″ of pitch, and seats are 17.2″ wide. This is pretty standard for narrowbody aircraft.
The good news for passengers is that Icelandair offers on-demand seatback entertainment at every seat. Passengers will also find power in the form of outlets and USB ports onboard to charge their devices before landing.
This is not the first time Icelandair has served Baltimore to Reykjavik. The airline previously served the airport in 2018 and ended operations in early 2019 during the less busy winter travel season. Given the MAX grounding that hit in March 2019, ahead of the busy summer season, it is not terribly surprising that Icelandair could not bring the route back. With the MAX back in the air and travel coming back, it is clear that Icelandair sees potential at BWI.
Icelandair will be able to target Baltimore-area passengers who want to visit Iceland and those who are also looking for a connection onward to Europe. The flight is timed for passengers to be able to catch those connections.
Baltimore has had nonstop flights to Europe in the past. British Airways previously operated nonstop from BWI to London-Heathrow (LHR). That flight is currently scheduled to resume in August, though it may be pushed back if the UK does not open.
To Frankfurt (FRA), passengers could previously catch a Condor flight. The airline has not yet indicated when it will return to BWI.
In the Washington D.C.-area, international passengers looking for nonstop options generally turn to Washington-Dulles (IAD). A major hub for United Airlines and many carriers’ preferred airport for serving the Washington D.C. area, BWI sometimes gets overshadowed by Dulles when it comes to international service.
However, BWI is far more convenient for travelers originating in Baltimore than Dulles. The airport also has a history of sustaining long-haul flights, as evidenced by both British Airways and Condor offering services to Europe.
Icelandair does service Dulles and continues to keep Dulles on its schedule, even with BWI service. The airline can likely sustain two services to the Washington D.C. metro area, especially given that it is not adding a lot of capacity with four weekly flights.
Nevertheless, this is good news for travelers returning to the sky. Passenger counts are hitting new highs at BWI as people plan their vacations again and are ready to see the world. Icelandair is hoping to tap into that demand with summer 2022 flying.
At present, Iceland is open for customers who are fully vaccinated or else have proof of a previous COVID-19 infection. Until July 1st, passengers will also have to undergo a test on arrival to KEF. By 2022, more of those travel restrictions are expected to ease.
Are you going to fly Icelandair nonstop between BWI and KEF? Let us know in the comments!