My Experience with Icelandair - Running with Miles
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My Experience with Icelandair

Written by Dustin

My first experience flying Icelandair had it’s ups and downs, but their Stopover Program is too generous to ignore.

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I hope all of you had a great New Year’s and maybe you have already started your travels for the year!

Over Thanksgiving, Kristin and I decided to take off for a trip to see Iceland and Oslo. There were a few airlines that I considered flying, but we decided on Icelandair. This was our first experience with Icelandair, but I don’t believe it will be our last.

My Experience with Icelandair

Why Icelandair?

I don’t see many people talk about Icelandair, but I really think people need to look at their options when flying. While I don’t put much thought into Saga Points, I do love their Stopover program.

Their stopover program is quite generous and makes it really easy to see 2 destinations for the price of 1 ticket. I really enjoy getting the most for my money, or points.

Booking the Flights:

When it came to booking flights, I had a few options. I could have redeemed my cash back, used my flexible points (at 1.25 cents per point), or my Merill Lynch points.

Earlier in the year, I had opened the Merrill Lynch credit card when the bonus was 50,000 points after spending $3,000. I had just over 53,000 points in my account to make my booking. The sweet spot for Merrill Lynch points is redeeming 25,000 points for a flight, up to $500 in value. The goal was to get as close to $500 per ticket as possible.

I ended up using 51,972 Merrill Lynch points for 2 tickets, saving me $1,019.72.

By using Icelandair’s Stopover program, I was able to book New York (JFK) to Oslo, Norway (OSL), Oslo, Norway to Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF), then Reykjavik, Iceland to New York. This was cheaper than flying other airlines for just 1 destination. I also received a checked bag and seat assignment for my booking.

After booking my ticket, I went to wheretocredit.com to see where I should credit my Icelandair miles. I don’t have interest in Saga Points, but I was able credit my miles to Jetblue.

Boarding:

When boarding our flights from New York, Icelandair had an awesome boarding system. All the business class travelers boarded first, which they do on other airlines, but the real efficiency happened after.

Icelandair boarded their coach section from the back to the front. This made boarding a lot quicker and cleaner, because you weren’t pushing by others to get to your seat. I felt this was a really great way to board and wish more airlines would take this route.

When we were boarding our flights from Oslo to Reykjavik and Reykjavik to New York, the boarding didn’t take place this way. They boarded the traditional way boarding front to back. This just seems inefficient in comparison.

Seats:

I typically fly coach, and there usually isn’t much difference, between seats, but there are differences between seats. Sometimes one of those small differences can really make an impact on the flight.

While many coach seats are quite similar, I was pleasantly surprised with Icelandair’s seats. They were definitely one of the top seats for a coach flights.

Seatguru has the seats dimensions listed at 32 inch of pitch, and 17 inches of width. The pitch is better than you will find on other airlines and the seats were definitely a comfortable ride.

Some great legroom!

Probably my favorite part of the seat was the recline! Iย  don’t believe I have been in a coach seat with more recline. Even Kristin made a comment about the recline.

The blanket on Icelandair was a nice comfortable blanket. It was thicker than other airlines, who seem to give you less material than a sheet to cover yourself.

In Flight Entertainment:

In flight entertainment can really vary with each airline. Some IFE are quite outdated, some planes don’t have IFE, and some have nice IFE systems.

The In Flight Entertainment on all of Icelandair planes were new and very nice. The screen was very responsive to touch and very easy to maneuver through.

You can see there is an USB port, so you could charge your electronic devices, such as a cell phone, or tablet. This is always great because you can hit the ground running with a fully charged device.

Icelandair had a great selection of movies, tv shows, and even some great documentaries on Iceland. I watched quite a few of these documentaries and they were quite interesting.

Service:

I’ll consider my opinion on this one mixed. It had positives and negatives, but overall, it was okay.

On our flight from New York to Olso, we were basically invisible on our flight. We were skipped when it the flight attendants came around with the beverage cart. We weren’t asked if we wanted to order anything and the flight attendants passed by multiple times.

The other flights we had on our trip, the service was quite good. The flight attendants were very pleasant and nice. The beverage carts came around a couple of times and there wasn’t an issue receiving a drink.

Outside of the beverage cart, there weren’t many interactions with anyone on the staff.

Overall, I would say the service was okay, but not great.

Meals:

There are no meals included on your flights with Icelandair. As long as you go into your flights understanding this, you can adjust your expectations ๐Ÿ™‚

The prices for meals on Icelandair are quite high, so unless you have no other options I would avoid paying for food. On our flight home, we both became quite hungry and purchased food.

This was the cheapest option on the menu and I know this mouth watering option brings many of you probably back to your college days.

While this may be bought for pennies at your local grocery store, this was 5 Euro for each cup. Next time, I would pack more snacks, so I don’t pay a crazy amount for food. It wasn’t the end of the world, but I’d rather not spend 5 Euro’s for a Cup of Noodles ๐Ÿ™‚

Flight Experience:

The flights as a whole were very good. They were smooth and there was only one issue, which I would say was a failed communication on Icelandair’s part.

We did experience a hour delay leaving Reykjavik which due to a change of aircraft. I found out when I reached out via Twitter to Icelandair.

There wasn’t any information being passed along from the airlines, and I find it frustrating when there is a lack of communication. Especially when the weather was perfect and they had scanned all of our tickets and kept us in a spot where space was quite tight.

I expected a delay at some point since we were traveling back on Thanksgiving day, but I would have hoped there would have been better communication. This is an area Icelandair could improve on.

Overall:

I felt flying Icelandair was a great value and was overall a really good experience. The seats were quite fantastic for coach and the leg room was awesome. The lack of communication during my delay could be improved, but being able to see 2 countries for less than the price of 1 ticket on a bigger airline was worth it.

Iceland was absolutely gorgeous country and if I can somehow go back without adding cost, you better believe I will!

Have you flown Icelandair? Would you consider flying them?

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About the author

Dustin

After completing 6 years of pharmacy school, I finally had the time to travel. I started investigating ways to travel for less and when I redeemed my first award flight for my honeymoon, I knew I was hooked! Fast forward a couple of years and places I had never dreamed of visiting like Budapest, Honolulu, Bermuda and many other places where all within my reach, and for little to no money out of my pocket. Now, I have collected well over a million points and miles, and try to help people travel for less on their wallet.

7 Comments

  • i have a JFK-KEF roundtrip with them come March and am looking forward to it. At $248 roundtrip inc tax, I can’t complain even if service is bad.

    • Hey Henry,

      Enjoy the trip, Iceland is absolutely gorgeous. For $248, that’s a heck of a deal!

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!

      • Thanks. I actually went once in Feb 2017 already via WOW Air but didn’t manage to see the aurora (both night tours cancelled due to overcast skies), so hopefully this time better luck. (i thought my $280 WOW ticket was a steal already but $248 on FI is simply nuts)

        Icelandair has a better departure time. WOW Air left EWR around ~530p-ish and landed at 4am, so you’re super drowsy upon arrival and nothing opened yet for you to even rest other than the hotel lobby.

        And yeah, KEF (and Iceland in general) is definitely experiencing over-tourism. It went from a niche premium destination to a sizable Transatlantic scissor hub for 2 airlines in literally a few years.

    • Hey Achalk,

      I didn’t have any issue with the person in front of me. They reclined as far as the could and I had no issue what so ever.

      I fell asleep for part of my flight, but I was sucked in to the videos of Iceland. I didn’t break out my laptop, although I probably should have gotten some work done ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!

  • We got a deal on Saga Class tickets on an open jaw Denver-Paris/Copenhagen-Denver last year. Sadly we didn’t have time to stay in Reykjavik on this trip, but definitely would like to if the opportunity presents itself again. Saga was ok, roughly equivalent to US domestic First, nothing great – but comfortable enough and had great service. The lucky part for us was being on the Hekla Aurora for the first leg (the plane pictured in your stock photo at the top of the article) and being entertained by their little Aurora light show for a bit during the flight ๐Ÿ™‚

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