Icelandair’s Next US Destination: Cleveland

Cleveland is an airport that sort of got the short end of the stick when Continental and United merged, as it used to be a Continental hub, and up until 2009 even had nonstop service to London Heathrow.

Unfortunately since then the airport hasn’t had any transatlantic service, though it looks like that will finally change.

Icelandair has announced that they’ll launch 4x weekly flights between Cleveland and Iceland as of May 2018. The flight isn’t yet bookable, though I imagine it will be within the coming days. Here’s what Icelandair’s CEO had to say about the new route:

“Cleveland is the perfect destination for our route network. We are happy to be the first carrier to provide service to Europe in 8 years. This addition also strengthens our route network and bridges Europe and Cleveland together by providing direct service to Iceland in addition to quick and convenient connections to 30 destinations in Europe,” says Icelandair CEO Birkir Holm Gudnason.

Iceland as such has been experiencing an incredible amount of growth the past few years, both by Icelandair, and also by Icelandic ultra low cost carrier WOW Air, which made their transatlantic debut a couple of years ago. In many ways the competition between the two airlines is further motivating them to launch service to new markets, so they can beat one another to them.

The flight from Cleveland to Keflavik will cover a distance of 2,792 miles, so it’s about as long as many transcon flights within the US.

Icelandair isn’t just useful for those looking to travel to Iceland, but rather their business model is heavily based around flying people to other points in Europe, with a short connection in Iceland. Alternatively, when booking a roundtrip ticket you’re allowed a free stopover in Iceland, which is a great opportunity to explore one of the coolest countries in the world.

You can expect quite a bit more transatlantic growth from Icelandair soon. Between 2018 and 2021 Icelandair will be taking delivery of 16 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which will nicely complement their existing fleet. This will allow them to expand to more secondary markets in the US. Since the aircraft type hasn’t been formally announced yet, it’s entirely possible that the Cleveland route will be operated by a 737 MAX.

Congrats to Cleveland for getting their first transatlantic flight in years (though is a flight to Iceland even technically transatlantic, since it’s sort of just in the middle of the ocean?)!


  1. “The flight from Cleveland to Keflavik will cover a distance of 2,792 miles, so it’s about as long as many transcon flights within the US.”

    As a matter of fact, 2792 miles is longer than every transcon flight within the US,

  2. “A transcontinental flight commonly refers to a non-stop passenger flight between an airport in the West Coast of the United States and an airport in the East Coast of the United States.”

  3. So pumped that CLE is getting European service back. I’m hoping it will help to “revive” the airport a bit in the way that PIT made a comeback after losing its hub many years ago.

  4. Anchorage is on the West Coast 🙂
    Miami is on the East Coast 🙂
    Boy this is a fun comment section…

  5. haha, @Jason, I think @Justin has got you. Nobody says they are going to take a “trans-contiguous” flight.

  6. Icelandair is skilled at finding under-served markets and giving their passengers great new flight options. My in-laws usually use Icelandair for their YHZ-AMS trips and don’t mind the stop in KEF. It still makes for a much shorter trip than most other available connections, and they find KEF very easy to navigate. Icelandair is also usually the cheapest option.

    If they can succeed in a tiny market like YHZ, I’m sure they’ll have no problem in CLE. According to wikipedia, greater Cleveland has a population over 2 million. The Halifax area is less than half a million.

  7. 1] You guys and this debating trans-con flight lengths, I just can’t…
    2] I would pay more money, make a longer connection and quite frankly backtrack on my route to avoid an International flight on a “guppy”…Boeing can call it anything they want, “Max”, “Next Generation” [nextgen], put fancy cowlings on the engines, cute tips on the wings, IT IS STILL A GUPPY…They took the cheap way out and caved to SouthWest and whoever else and didn’t completely rework the 737 airframe…It is a 1960’s cabin that is cramped, low and uncomfortable…WHO WOULD EVER want to be on one longer then 1.5hrs is beyond me…While I love a Boeing wide body [#team747], when it comes to a narrow body its #airbusallday for me…

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