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Iceland Air Experiences


cfgrandma
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We are booked on the July 20th Welcome Back Iceland cruise with Viking.  I am looking for business class flights and saw "Saga Class" on a Iceland Air flight from Seattle to Reykjavik leaving July 19th that would be substantially lower cost than other airlines' business class flights.

 

Does any one have experiences with Iceland Air?

 

We are in Sacramento, CA so will need to fly to Seattle first.

 

Thank you for your thoughts

 

Carolyn F

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2 minutes ago, cfgrandma said:

We are booked on the July 20th Welcome Back Iceland cruise with Viking.  I am looking for business class flights and saw "Saga Class" on a Iceland Air flight from Seattle to Reykjavik leaving July 19th that would be substantially lower cost than other airlines' business class flights.

 

Does any one have experiences with Iceland Air?

 

We are in Sacramento, CA so will need to fly to Seattle first.

 

Thank you for your thoughts

 

Carolyn F

 

I've flown IcelandAir many times from Seattle to Reykjavik, both in Saga Class and in cattle class (economy), and will be flying the airline again this June on our DIY trip. Saga is very comfortable though not with lie-flat seats, at least out of Seattle. (The airline flies 757-200s exclusively from the U.S. West Coast) It's the equivalent of Premium Economy on most international airlines to continental Europe, or domestic First Class within the U.S. Good food, wine, comfortable seats, small cabin, and attentive service.

 

By contrast, economy on IcelandAir is simply terrible.  The seats are squashed together, the food service is for purchase only and limited to Icelandic "delicacies" (at least they don't serve whale or puffin), and the service is indifferent.

 

My wife has promised to kill me if I suggest flying again in IcelandAir economy. I've learned my lesson. 

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1 minute ago, DaveSJ711 said:

 

I've flown IcelandAir many times from Seattle to Reykjavik, both in Saga Class and in cattle class (economy), and will be flying the airline again this June on our DIY trip. Saga is very comfortable though not with lie-flat seats, at least out of Seattle. (The airline flies 757-200s exclusively from the U.S. West Coast) It's the equivalent of Premium Economy on most international airlines to continental Europe, or domestic First Class within the U.S. Good food, wine, comfortable seats, small cabin, and attentive service.

 

By contrast, economy on IcelandAir is simply terrible.  The seats are squashed together, the food service is for purchase only and limited to Icelandic "delicacies" (at least they don't serve whale or puffin), and the service is indifferent.

 

My wife has promised to kill me if I suggest flying again in IcelandAir economy. I've learned my lesson. 

Thank you, this is the information I was looking for.

 

Carolyn

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Haven't flown with Iceland Air, but did research the Saga Class. I read a couple of travel blogs and generally they were not impressed.

 

Best summary is it is more Premium Economy than Business Class. The seats are slightly wider than economy and do not go flat, although they recline slightly more than economy. Meals are included, but quality was at best average.

 

Positives were the Lounge in Iceland, which was impressive.

 

 

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YouTube can be your friend to see if Saga meets your needs. For what it’s worth, at this point only Delta and United have any lie flat seats for sale. I don’t know for your dates but for ours for the July 10th Sky sailing, they wanted $6000+ Round trip for the 5 hour flight. We decided we could live with premium economy (Delta calls is Premium Select) and pocket about $4,500 each!  

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6 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Haven't flown with Iceland Air, but did research the Saga Class. I read a couple of travel blogs and generally they were not impressed.

 

Best summary is it is more Premium Economy than Business Class. The seats are slightly wider than economy and do not go flat, although they recline slightly more than economy. Meals are included, but quality was at best average.

 

Positives were the Lounge in Iceland, which was impressive.

 

 

It’s not like Premium Economy, more like First Class domestic in the U.S. The seats are worlds apart from economy and recline quite a ways but not full length—very comfortable, though. Meals pre-COVID were good quality and better than what we used to get on international flights in coach back in the day.

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We flew from Seattle to Reykjavik in Iceland Air's Saga Class about 6 years ago. We thought the seats were uncomfortable, and especially uncomfortable when the seats in front of us were fully reclined. Almost impossible to get out of and back into your seat when the seat in front of you is fully reclined. We don't usually think much of bulkhead seats, but booking bulkhead is the only way we would ever fly Saga again.  

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Posted (edited)

We are lucky in that Icelandair (ICE) flies their 767-300 on the IAD-KEF route. Seat layout is very different than their 757-200/300 fleet. Economy is 2-3-2 so we have booked a set of paired seats for our flight in July. The flight Iceland for us is no longer than if we were flying to the West Coast.

 

Since originaly booking our flights, I have changed our itinerary. For that I found ICE to be very easy to work with.

 

Jack

 

Edited by Heartgrove
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Only worry is because of the small number of long haul aircraft, a mechanical problem on Iceland can cause very lengthy delays. UA and Delta are flying 757-200's UA is configured up front as Business Polaris ( lie flat), Delta is lie flat out of NY and Premium Economy out of MSP.  Bus and  PE fares are way out of line. Most of these flights have about 10% occupancy in main cabin so there will probably be plenty of room to stretch out.

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1 hour ago, azdrydock said:

Only worry is because of the small number of long haul aircraft, a mechanical problem on Iceland can cause very lengthy delays. UA and Delta are flying 757-200's UA is configured up front as Business Polaris ( lie flat), Delta is lie flat out of NY and Premium Economy out of MSP.  Bus and  PE fares are way out of line. Most of these flights have about 10% occupancy in main cabin so there will probably be plenty of room to stretch out.

 

Not trying to defend Icelandair as even if you are at an airline hub with a mechanical problem that requires a substitute aircraft on any airline you will be delayed or even cancelled.

 

One time I was flying Delta from its hub in Atlanta and scheduled on a L1011. The first aircraft had a mechanical so we waited for another flight to arrive to substitute the aircraft. It finally arrived but with its own mechanical issue so we needed to wait for a third aircraft. That one did operate! About a four hour delay. Then there was the time we flew British Air BWI-LHR 1-1/2 years ago. The BA 777-200 had software issues which delayed our departure three hours. The computers had to be totally  reloaded. While flying over the Atlantic all I could think of was that hopefully the "bits and bytes" had been stored properly! 

 

ICE currently have 34 aircraft with three on order.

 

Jack

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Posted (edited)

 

5 hours ago, Heartgrove said:

 

Not trying to defend Icelandair as even if you are at an airline hub with a mechanical problem that requires a substitute aircraft on any airline you will be delayed or even cancelled.

 

One time I was flying Delta from its hub in Atlanta and scheduled on a L1011. The first aircraft had a mechanical so we waited for another flight to arrive to substitute the aircraft. It finally arrived but with its own mechanical issue so we needed to wait for a third aircraft. That one did operate! About a four hour delay. Then there was the time we flew British Air BWI-LHR 1-1/2 years ago. The BA 777-200 had software issues which delayed our departure three hours. The computers had to be totally  reloaded. While flying over the Atlantic all I could think of was that hopefully the "bits and bytes" had been stored properly! 

 

ICE currently have 34 aircraft with three on order.

 

Jack

The fact that the major airlines had replacement aircraft available limited your delay to 3 or 4 hours. The smaller budget airlines without available aircraft either arrange for a charter or will have you wait out the repair. Our last delay was on AA DFW to Rio via MIA. First and replacement aircraft at DFW had problems. AA cancelled the flight and rebooked everyone on other flights some on other airlines, We were sent to Rio via Sao Palo and arrived ahead of our original  schedule. We were scheduled to leave for Europe on AirBerlin the day after they ceased operations. Since we booked through AA,  they and BA recreated our itinerary with no additional charges Small carriers usually don't have this capability.

 

My guess is IcelandAir only has a handful of aircraft capable of flying to the US and use charters to cover scheduled maintenance.  There new aircraft are 737 Max so they are probably  intended for the Europe market.

 

 Now with all of that being said and the savings are substantial I would again fly IcelandAir to KEF for a vacation, but second thoughts if I was meeting up with a cruise ship.

 

Don't think your  L1011 had any computer problems...😊

 

Edited by azdrydock
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We flew Icelandair r/t in Aug 2019 and were very pleased--direct flight out of Seattle to Reykjavik.   We were fortunate to have an empty seat in our row.  At that time, there were 2 outgoing flights daily.  Now?? Looks like there are only 2 flights per week.    We would use Icelandair again.

 

No matter the airlines...the worst part of a vacation is getting there!  

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4 minutes ago, DinnyClaire said:

We flew Icelandair r/t in Aug 2019 and were very pleased--direct flight out of Seattle to Reykjavik.   We were fortunate to have an empty seat in our row.  At that time, there were 2 outgoing flights daily.  Now?? Looks like there are only 2 flights per week.    We would use Icelandair again.

 

No matter the airlines...the worst part of a vacation is getting there!  

I agree with all your points but would say, for us, getting there issues are tempered by excitement for the holiday.  The real bummer is the issues on the trip home.....🍸

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8 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

I agree with all your points but would say, for us, getting there issues are tempered by excitement for the holiday.  The real bummer is the issues on the trip home.....🍸

👍 :classic_biggrin:

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I flew Icelandair Portland-KEF a few years ago. I didn't mind economy since it was a very short flight, compared to the usual West Coast to Europe routes. We arrived at 11:30 pm body time so we didn't sleep at all. The lounge is very nice in Keflavik - my husband was able to get us in through his Alaska elite status, as I remember. 

I also took Icelandic 43 or so years ago as a teenager taking my first trip to Europe but I assume that trip isn't as relevant. 🙂

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2 hours ago, irvington said:

I also took Icelandic 43 or so years ago as a teenager taking my first trip to Europe but I assume that trip isn't as relevant. 🙂

 

Were they still using the old prop-jet planes that made them such a bargain?

 

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1 hour ago, Jim Avery said:

Flew similar planes on BOAC.  Comfortable and great service.  A couple of stops at Gander and Shannon before arrival in the UK.  More adventure for a kid.  

 

Haha!!. Now your showing your age. Most will probably never have heard of BOAC, BEA, BMI, Caledonian, etc.

 

Still remember my first flight from Sydney to LHR that required 4 stops for fuel😒

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45 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Haha!!. Now your showing your age. Most will probably never have heard of BOAC, BEA, BMI, Caledonian, etc.

 

Still remember my first flight from Sydney to LHR that required 4 stops for fuel😒

Or have flown in the Comet, or Caravelle. Not to mention a Delta DC3.😱 

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We were booked by Viking on our return trip from the infamous NL cruise that had to be evacuated.  The reservations were done at the last minute due to the many changes caused by the situation.  I know Viking was doing the best they could, given the situation.  We were booked in economy, with the flight being full.  We found the seats to be very tight, and all food had to be purchased from a limited menu.  We were quite surprised with the food status since this was a Transatlantic flight (Iceland - New York).  Other than that everything was fine, especially since our minds were on getting back home after our ordeal.   JohnEB

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I do not want to digress from Iceland Air, (we've not used them but our kids did who are a lot younger and have less pains than we have...and they said it was a horrible experience) but Johneb2...we were following things as closely as we could and our hearts were really going out to all of you. I can't even imagine. 

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4 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

Or have flown in the Comet, or Caravelle. Not to mention a Delta DC3.😱 

 

Comet was my first ever flight - Dan Air from Glasgow to Isle of Man, back when I was about 10.

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Thank you all for your responses.  We decided to go ahead and book Icelandair Saga Class flights from Seattle to Reykjavik leaving Monday, July 19th arriving Tuesday, July 20th.  Normally we always schedule our arrival a day or 2 ahead of time.  Knowing that the Juniper is not leaving until 6:00pm on the 21st we will just be praying that there will be no delays that will cause us to miss our first day on board.

 

Carolyn

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Since no one on these Iceland cruises will be going back and forth to the Continent or other points in Scandinavia, you won’t be experiencing what happened to us after our first Viking ocean cruise in July 2019–but a cautionary tale on Icelandair for the future (unless you want stress, or possibly just adventure :-).
 

We had a fabulous first cruise on the Baltic/St. Petersburg run on Viking Sky with Capt. Olav in July 2019, and then spent five days tooling around Norway on our own. We were scheduled to fly out of Bergen, of course via Reykjavík, and then home to Seattle. Icelandair has a well-honed route from Seattle to Europe with quick turnaround time in Reykjavík of only about an hour—changing planes and offloading your bags to your connecting flight. Works fine when they’re on time, but not so much otherwise, as we discovered. (We had flown with them a few times before this).

 

Our flight out of Bergen was delayed by an hour (with no explanation of course) and no customer service to help us with our tight connection in Reykjavík. We got off the plane in Iceland and were surprised that they were still going to make us go through passport control instead of as transit passengers. We had to ask the passport agent where our gate would be since there was no info for Icelandair- we had about five minutes to get to the gate. But coming out of  the passport check, a uniformed guy was hustling a bunch of us against a wall and roping off a lane, separating my husband and I. My husband walked ahead across a long hall and they sent me to the left around the corner out of sight of him into a small room for a spot “security check”!

 

I was livid—to say the least!!! First off, hubby had no idea where I was, our flight was about to take off, and I couldn’t contact him on our phones because they were in flight mode!!!

 

The security people were clueless and impassive—but fortunately only delayed me for a few minutes. I was able to find DH and we raced to our gate just as they called us as they were closing the doors. His bag made it home to Seattle—mine did not ‘til several days later.

 

But this certainly colored our view of flying with Icelandair—particularly going and coming from Europe without clear contingencies!

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18 hours ago, Sunflower & The Scientist said:

I do not want to digress from Iceland Air, (we've not used them but our kids did who are a lot younger and have less pains than we have...and they said it was a horrible experience) but Johneb2...we were following things as closely as we could and our hearts were really going out to all of you. I can't even imagine. 

Thank you.  It wasn't my intent to digress from the original post.  This was our first time on Iceland Air, and under unique circumstances, so I wanted to give both Viking & Iceland Air credit in stepping up to accommodate us at the last minute.  We did not have any delays, and the flight went smoothly.  However, we felt it was very cramped, and as mentioned some food should have been available as gratis since it was a Transatlantic flight.  I honestly could not say if this was all because of the type plane they used, or if they had to make aircraft changes to accommodate a sizable number of us.  If you would ask if I would fly again with them, the answer is yes, but not in economy.    JohnEB

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