An Icelandic Airline PLAY Soars in the U.S.

Total Press Hits
Billion Impressions


When new low-cost Icelandic airline PLAY came to North America, they engaged BIG FISH for the launch. With a history of launching innovative companies and working with Icelandic tourism, BIG FISH was well positioned to take on the challenge of launching the airline in the U.S. amid a turbulent travel market and create national awareness for PLAY. After making a splash for the initial launch, BIG FISH also continued a steady drumbeat of coverage around PLAY’s new routes and inaugural flights from the U.S. in 2022, balanced with proactive creative storytelling and key FAM trips. 

After PLAY’s first year in the U.S., BIG FISH implemented a momentum strategy to boost the low-cost airline’s reputation and awareness of PLAY’s affordable flights. 


Launch Strategy

For the United States debut in 2021, BIG FISH positioned PLAY as an airline bold enough to launch during a pandemic and the choice for consumers as they return to international travel. Our embargoed media strategy lined up interviews and top-tier coverage in mainstream business, travel, and local press outlets. BIG FISH targeted local Boston and Washington D.C. press to elevate PLAY as a new, affordable option for locals in the area to travel to European destinations. 

Since 2021, BIG FISH continued the momentum for PLAY, starting with using the airline’s inaugural flights from Baltimore, Boston, and New York between April and June 2022 to create excitement and coverage. We secured interviews with mainstream, travel, and local press as well as FAM trips with top tier travel media to build a reputation for the company.


Momentum Strategy

After establishing PLAY in the U.S. market between 2021 and 2022, BIG FISH shifted to a momentum strategy. Over time, we secured a steady drumbeat of relevant travel, lifestyle, and local media coverage with creative outreach that taps into travel trends, PLAY’s milestones, timely moments and holidays, and key destinations. BIG FISH’s momentum strategy includes FAM trips, which give press PLAY’s in-flight experience to build up the airline’s reputation as a credible, convenient, and affordable airline. To ensure the success of FAM trips, BIG FISH vetted key contacts, created itineraries, and closely worked with each reporter to ensure strong, positive coverage. 

In addition to FAM trips and creative outreach, BIG FISH maintains momentum by creating news moments for PLAY, suggesting fun and timely ideas for flight deals and creative stories that position PLAY as a convenient and affordable option for travel to some of Europe’s most popular destinations. BIG FISH also pitches and secures opportunities for PLAY’s CEO to share commentary around travel and airline trends as well as the airline’s success with business and travel press. 

Through media outreach initiatives and FAM trips, BIG FISH has successfully secured business, travel, lifestyle, and local coverage of PLAY’s affordable flights from the U.S. to Europe, generating awareness of the airline to U.S. travelers. 



Within six months, BIG FISH took PLAY from an airline known only in Europe to a leading low-cost airline in the United States. The launch in December 2021 was covered in 20 outlets and, within the first year of our engagement, BIG FISH secured over 1.1 billion impressions along the way with coverage in Good Morning America, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times, CNBC, Thrillist, Travel + Leisure, and more.

In total, BIG FISH has secured 20+ in-depth FAM trip review articles in AFAR, Buzzfeed, Condé Nast Traveler, Fodor’s Travel, In the Know by Yahoo, InsideHook, Parents Magazine, and more with pending press trips to be published by CBS News, Well + Good, and more. BIG FISH has also secured significant coverage of PLAY’s flight deals with coverage in CNN, Elite Daily, Men’s Journal, The Points Guy, TravelAwaits, USA Today, and more. 

BIG FISH has also elevated PLAY’s CEO with interviews about travel industry trends and PLAY’s business model, which has resulted in coverage in CNBC, Forbes, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, and more. 

Since the airline’s U.S. launch in December 2021, PLAY has been featured in more than 590 different stories for a reach of over 6.1 billion.

From December 2021 to September 2023, BIG FISH secured more than 6.1 billion impressions for PLAY, with coverage in AFAR, Axios, Cheddar, CNBC, CNN Travel, Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes, Good Morning America, New York Times, TravelPulse, The Boston Globe, Thrillist, and more.

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