This year, Iceland had the distinct honor of becoming the smallest country ever to qualify for the World Cup. To celebrate the milestone, Icelandair will launch a free Team Iceland Stopover program so passengers can experience the wonder of Iceland, as well as meet the players. Passengers will be afforded a selection of 90-minute excursions, which have been chosen by the members of the national football team. Their hope is to give visitors a sense of the sport as well as Icelandic culture.
Iceland qualified for the 2018 World Cup after they secured the first spot in their qualifying group on the final round, meaning that after 12 failed attempts, Iceland finally made it to the international championship. They had previously qualified for UEFA Euro in 2016. They will be led by captain Aron Gunnarsson and top scorer Eiður Guðjohnsen.
According to Gunnarsson, "When stepping onto the pitch, we know that as Iceland players we have a very special team spirit that stems from our Icelandic history. There are many uniquely Icelandic experiences and traditions that make us the team we are today and we welcome fans of football and beyond to come and find out more by taking a Team Iceland Stopover on their next transatlantic journey."
Travelers can opt to view a national men’s or women’s team match and meet the players, visit the geothermal lagoon Laugarvatn Fontana, a favorite of midfielder Birkir Bjarnason, or participate in a personal training session with members of the Breidablik’s academy.
"In the run up to a big tournament, it's both the time on the pitch and how you spend it off it that counts. With this experience passengers can enjoy one of my favourite places to relax and unwind in Iceland," says Birkir.
The stopover program also includes sightseeing tours, allowing travelers the chance to gaze upon the country's breathtaking scenery. Training sessions, like the one designed by midfielder Dagný Brynjarsdóttireven, will instruct participants on the peculiarities of the sport. The free stopover program is open to passengers on transatlantic flights through June 2018. Afterwards, travelers can participate in the airline's free seven-night stopover program.
According to Björgólfur Jóhannsson, President and CEO at Icelandair, "As proud sponsors of the national team, we are thrilled to celebrate their success this summer with our Team Iceland Stopover service. We are continually looking at ways to enhance our customer experience and hope that passengers will enjoy time well-travelled this summer through this value-added offering. Not only can our passengers find out more about the backstory of this legendary team, but we've worked with the players to personally design these experiences, allowing our passengers to follow in their footsteps."
Icelandair, a transatlantic airline, provides service from 24 European cities to 22 North American airports, such as Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C, among others, as well as to Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in Canada.