Ultimate All-Inclusive Deal Finder
Abbotsford Calgary Charlottetown Comox Deer Lake Edmonton Fort McMurray Grande Prairie Halifax Hamilton Kamloops Kelowna London Moncton Ottawa Prince George Quebec City Regina Saint John Saskatoon St. John's Thunder Bay Toronto Vancouver Victoria Winnipeg
'How To Get The Best Deal' Guides
Ultimate Package Deal Finder

Saturday, March 24th 2018

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YUL." - Chris Myden

Tagged Pages Archive | Articles

Why Icelandair's prices suddenly look cheaper, when they are actually more expensive

Airline prices look cheaper, but are more expensive

Back near the beginning of October, Icelandair made a major change in their fee structure, which, overnight, made it seem like their prices suddenly became quite a bit cheaper, when in fact they are now more expensive.

Here is an example:

Let's say you're looking for a flight from Montreal to Dublin, Ireland...

You have a look on Google Flights, and notice there are roundtrip flights for $496...

"Pretty great price," you think to yourself.

And indeed, historically, a flight from Montreal to Europe for under $500 CAD roundtrip has been a pretty great price.

But something is very different now

Up until this point, Icelandair has always included a piece of checked luggage with their lowest priced fares.

As of early October, they no longer do. (Bookings made before October still automatically include checked luggage).

What this means is that the $496 flights that are currently showing up on Google Flights, Kayak, Skyscanner, Expedia, Icelandair's website, and every other website or app in the world, are no longer the *realistic* price.

The $496 prices you are seeing everywhere now are the *unrealistic* price.

To get back to the realistic price, you now need to add back in the cost of a piece of checked luggage.

To do this, you need to search for your flight on the Icelandair website, and instead of choosing 'Economy Light' (no checked luggage) you now need to select 'Economy Standard' (with checked luggage).

We can see that the realistic price for this flight is actually now $609 roundtrip...

Comparing this price against the typical prices from a month or two again, we can see that Icelandair's realistic prices have actually increased by about 30%.

This is not an isolated, cherry-picked example. Pretty much all of Icelandair's prices are actually around 30% higher than they were before the fee structure change at the beginning of October.

Why Icelandair is doing this

I don't mean to pick on Icelandair (who has been a major reason for better prices from Canada to Europe in the last few years).

They are definitely not the first airline to make this change, and they are certainly not going to be the last. This is a trend that has been on the rise as of late.

Delta, United Airlines, and American Airlines have recently started doing the exact same thing with their domestic flights - only they are making their prices unrealistic by taking away access to the overhead bin (aka carry-on luggage) or the ability to select your own seat.

Icelandair is likely doing this in response to their closest competitor, WOW Air, the other Iceland-based carrier offering connecting flights to similar European destinations.

WOW Air has always structured their fares this way, from the time they launched. (WOW Air flys out of Montreal and Toronto, as well as various U.S. cities).

Why the airlines are doing this

If you ask the airlines why they are doing this, they'll usually give you a line about 'more choice for the consumer'.

Let's be honest though, the choice to fly overseas without a piece of checked luggage isn't realistic for the majority of people.

But if you *can* get away with flying overseas using only carry-on, you might be the one consumer segment to actually benefit from this new trend. People flying with checked luggage will effectively be subsidizing your cheaper 'seat only' airfares - while they pay more than they used to.

I think there's probably 2 main reasons why the airlines are really doing this:

1. They hope that consumers won't really notice the change, and can make more money this way. In fact, to a lot of people, if they do notice a change, it may seem like the prices are even cheaper than they used to be.

2. They want their airfares to appear to be the cheapest on travel websites, search engines, apps, etc, knowing that most people tend to just start their search by looking at the cheapest airfares, and their fares will appear at the top of the search results.

It couldn't have been easy for Icelandair to sit back and watch WOW Air's prices always be the ones that showed up on travel sites as the 'cheapest flights' - even when Icelandair often had the better deals when it came to the realistic price.

Does it matter?

It wouldn't matter as much, if *all* airlines would adopt the unrealistic price model at the same time.

That way, it would be easy (or at least, easier) for travelers to compare apples to apples.

Right now, we are in an awkward transition phase, where some airlines have their unrealistic prices being the ones that show up first on travel sites, airfare search engines, etc - while other airlines are still displaying the realistic prices, but wondering if they too should adopt the unrealistic price model to have their airfares appear to be the cheapest.

As a traveler flying from Montreal, the four airlines to watch out for with regards to this issue are Delta (when flying to the U.S.), Interjet (when flying to Mexico), WOW Air (when flying to Iceland or Europe) and now Icelandair (also when flying to Iceland or Europe).

For my part, it's pretty easy for me to compensate for these changes that the airlines are making, and I will continue to only post a deal when the realistic price is unusually low - after comparing apples to apples - and not misleading anyone using unrealistic prices as bait.

Join us in the YUL Deals Facebook Group for live deal discussion & travel advice

For live discussion of this deal, or to get some amazing travel advice (about anywhere) from your 12,700 fellow passengers in Montreal, join us in the
YUL Deals Facebook Group.
^^^ click the 'Join Group' button when you arrive.

Hit Like if you like this deal! Click Share or Send to show your friends on Facebook.

Third Party Airfare Booking Sites: The Power Rankings - who to trust, who to avoid

Third party airfare booking sites, the power rankings

Read more

Travel Booking Myths That Just Won't Die

Travel booking myths that just wont die

Read more

How To Use AirBNB - The first site you should visit after booking your flight


Read more

Free roundtrip flight anywhere in North America | Amex Rewards card offer

The American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Gold Card

Read more

Where all inclusive prices come from, and why Canadians waste a lot of time searching

Around this time of year when the temperature drops I often see people asking a similar question, 'What website(s) should I visit to get a good deal on an all inclusive package?'.

Read more

Don't fall for the '$128 for 2 roundtrip flights' OneStopTravel scam

Over the past little while, I've had a lot of people ask me about a deal they've seen pop up on a variety of those 'daily deal' type sites (you know the ones, the Groupon-esque clones that were all the rage last year, and initially had some legitimately great deals but have now all turned into a wasteland of spa treatments and massages you can never get an appointment for).

Read more

Is it possible to get a good deal on a flight within Canada ?

Read more

'Should I buy my flight now or wait?' - The question I get asked the most

No matter how many times I tell people that airfare prices can't be predicted, this question always comes up in some form or another, so I've decided to write an article that I can start referencing people to.

Read more


View blog post Airfare Booking Sites The Power Rankings

Join The YUL Deals Facebook Group
    What happens when over 26,000 people from

    * crowdsource the best travel deals from YUL?

    * offer up their unbiased travel advice?

    Join the group and find out!

(click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive)

View blog post Airfare Booking Sites The Power Rankings

Find Chris On Google+