Windbag Miles is a blog about points, miles, credit cards, travel, and general windbaggery.

Some Faroe Islands route news that will probably be out of date by the time I need to book any of these flights

Sometimes I don’t know whether I should write posts like this or just put out a series of tweets instead. If you go back through my past posts about the Faroe Islands, you’ll come across a lot of information that’s no longer true, since — as a tourist destination on the rise — things seem to be changing relatively quickly. I feel like writing without a 280-character constraint on each item, though, so here are some quick hits about traveling to the Faroes, all collected in one handy post for your reading pleasure.

First, for some background into the Faroes and their very cool national airline Atlantic Airways, check out the feature article in the new issue of Airways Magazine. It goes into the extreme challenges of running an airline out of a hub with some of the worst aviation weather on Earth, including the fact that Airbus actually partners with Atlantic to test out new navigation technology. In fact, I read a while back that when they were building the airport on St. Helena, pilots from Atlantic were brought in for training in high-wind landings on short runways.

One thing I found especially interesting in the article is that SAS is at a major technological disadvantage in terms of severe weather navigation, meaning it’s not just my imagination that they seem to cancel CPH-FAE flights more often than Atlantic does. This is something to keep in mind if you’re booking an award trip with one leg on SAS… especially if you’re originating in the Faroes. I don’t know how risky it actually is — there was a day during our trip last year when we were totally socked in by some pretty insane weather, and the SAS flight to Copenhagen still took off on time. Still, looking through FlightRadar24 history, you definitely see more canceled or diverted flights from SAS.

Speaking of Atlantic, they’ve been making a lot of waves lately with new route announcements. As has been reported in a few places, they petitioned the US government for permission to fly from Vagar to New York, which would be a very interesting route. When I first heard about it, I was really excited to be on the inaugural flight just for shits and giggles, but the more I thought about it, it didn’t seem all that fun. Atlantic isn’t exactly comfortable… it’s not any worse than any other European short-haul airline, but now we’re talking about a 6.5 flight from New York in a narrow-body plane with slimline seating, 30” pitch, no wifi or in-flight entertainment, and no premium economy or business option. It’s entirely possible that they might kit out a plane specifically for this route with some extra frills, although they only have three planes to begin with right now, so that doesn’t seem too likely.

Not my first choice for a 6.5 hour flight, to be honest…

Not my first choice for a 6.5 hour flight, to be honest…

On the plus side, Atlantic does seem to be fairly deliberate in their operations, so I’m not too worried about them deciding to become WOW Air overnight and then overextending themselves to the point of going bankrupt. And maybe 6.5 hours in discomfort will be worth it compared to what I’m sure will be a much shorter and cheaper option than flying all the way to Europe and then backtracking to the Faroes.

As for getting to the Faroes from Europe, I got an interesting email from Atlantic a few days ago announcing service from CDG (Paris) to FAE. That’s pretty big news for me, since it adds a major European gateway city to my trip planning options. In other words, there are way more flights connecting the US to Paris than there are between the US and Copenhagen. Being able to fly straight from Paris to the Faroes will most likely free up an entire day on future trips by eliminating the need to connect through Copenhagen (or Edinburgh or Bergen), which also often means having to stay overnight. Atlantic seems to test new short-term routes fairly often, including seasonal routes to warmer Mediterranean places, but according to the announcement, it sounds like they intend Paris to be a permanent destination.

atlantic3.jpg

I’m all for Atlantic offering additional routes from mainland Europe, since this will make it easier to put simple itineraries together from the US. I’m not too concerned about overtourism in the Faroes just yet, since Atlantic doesn’t actually have that much capacity even with a fleet expansion. What would worry me more is someone like Easyjet or Ryanair realizing there’s money to be made flying to the Faroes and flooding the market with people traveling on $9 fares or whatever. And thinking about it from my own perspective, we tend to travel there in the off-season, and on our most recent trip, I probably saw less then ten tourists over the entire week that we were there (once we left the airport, I mean).

One other thing to note: if you’re planning a trip for next year, Atlantic is running a sale out of Denmark for 499DKK one-way, which is around $15 cheaper than their normal bargain fare (so, approximately $75 one-way instead of $90).

Finally, I’ll leave you with a photo of this cool 30th anniversary luggage tag that Atlantic sent me as a birthday gift (since I’m a member of their loyalty program). I don’t think I will ever be able to do anything with the Atlantic miles I’m earning, but this is why I always sign up for stuff. Well, that, and I love having my personal info available for sale on the dark web after the inevitable data breaches.

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