Review of Icelandair flight Reykjavík Washington in Business

Airline Icelandair
Flight FI645
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 757-300
Flight time 06:15
Take-off 24 Oct 18, 16:50
Arrival at 24 Oct 18, 19:05
FI   #83 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 38 reviews
bldavid
By SILVER 1528
Published on 31st October 2018
Icelandair used to offer three travel classes: economy, premium economy and business. Premium economy was discontinued in March 2018, and business class got much cheaper at the same time on some routes and dates. When a special offer was advertised offering business class tickets from Iceland to Washington for about 700 USD return we decided to go for it.

Icelandair's business class, called Saga class offers an interestingly positioned product. The configuration is 2+2 onboard the airline's many B757 and few B737 aircrafts with recliner seats is similar to US Domestic First Class.

If you fly between Iceland and Europe this product is much better than the usual intra-European business class with 3+3 economy seats with the middle seat blocked. But if you fly between Europe and US or Canada the hard product is definitely less good that what Air France, American, British Airways, Delta or just about any other airline offers in business class: it's between between premium economy and business, although closer to the latter.

The soft product is however clearly business class: there's a good lounge at Keflavík Airport; there's good inflight entertainment (both in economy and business); and on-board catering is also of high quality (the few differences are that Prosecco is offered instead of champagne as a pre-flight drink and the meal is served on tray).

Keflavík Airport is located 50 kms from downtown Reykjavík. Driving time is 45 minutes. We arrived two hours before our flight.

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We went to the check-in counter where we had a very short security interview. We expected a huge crowd but there were not too many people.

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Business class check-in is at the end.

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We went upstairs after we checked in. There's first an automated boarding pass control with fast track for business class which leads directly to security. Priority security is also used by passengers with special needs such as wheelchair users.

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We were through check-in, boarding pass control and security in only 15 minutes after leaving the car park.
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The main area after the duty free store. It wasn't for us today as we were heading directly to the lounge.

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The lounge is upstairs. It can be used by:
- Icelandair business class passengers,
- Icelandair Silver and Gold frequent flyer card holders,
- Some Icelandic credit card holders,
- Lufthansa First and Business class passengers,
- Lufthansa Senator and HON Circle passengers when flying Lufthansa,
- Alaska Airlines MVP Gold Card Holders,
- Air Baltic business class passengers,
- American Airlines, British Airways and Finnair business class passengers, and also Silver and Gold card holders when flying a OneWorld airline,
- United Airlines First and Business class passengers.

photo 09

Icelandair advertisement next to the stairs.

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Icelandair's business class is called Saga class, and so the lounge is also called Saga.

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I like these old photos.

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The lounge is large and offers plenty of seating in different areas. It was not crowded when we were there.

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There's an apron view.

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There's a very good choice of cold food.



Warm chicken, mini burgers and soup are also on offer

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Soft drinks, beer, wine, liquors and coffee are all available



Toilets and showers are inside the lounge.

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The "view" from the toilets.

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I agree:

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We left the lounge to pass immigration. Automated gates are available for EU (plus Icelandic and Swiss) passport holders aged over 18. Those travelling with kids have a special manned gate. Passport control took only a minute but there was a long line for non-EU citizens.

Check-in, security and passport control were all quick, and the lounge was absolutely great but boarding was the weakest part of the airport experience. There was a long line in a narrow corridor (priority boarding was available but we didn't want to jump the queue), only one employee checked the boarding passes, and boarding was by a very crowded bus. At least there were some great views.

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Our aircraft Icelandair B757-308, TF-FIX, built in 2002.



The plane's name is Hengill and yes, it has wi-fi on board (free for business class passengers).

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All Icelandair planes have two cabins: economy and business called Saga. On the B757's you turn left for the business class which has a 2+2 configuration. The seats are US first class types and so are not lie-flat or flat bed but they're definitely very comfortable. Note that sets 1A and 1C have slightly smaller legroom and a smaller fold-out screen. These are the standard business class seats:



Noise cancelling headphones:

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The amenity kit:

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Water is distributed for all passengers as you enter the plane (including in economy). A glass of Prosecco was offered in business class - sorry, no photo.

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Scheduled departure time was at 16.50. Actual push-back was only at 17.20 and take-off at 17.40. The view after take-off:

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Yes, we're flying to where the Sun sets.

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The food menu:



You can pre-order your meal but the choice is not so much bigger.

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The drinks menu. There's also an unusually large choice of gins (more than you can see on the photo).



Caramelized popcorn - so good…

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I had some champagne to start with.

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Skál!

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The entire meal was served on a tray at the same time but all three courses - the marinated salmon, the bouillabaisse and the chocolate mousse - were very, very good, fully up to a good business class standard.



We were flying over Greenland by the time I finished my meal.

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It was time to check-out the inflight entertainment. There's a choice of 47 movies



Also 223 TV shows, 475 musics and some videos about Icelandair.



Leaving Greenland and heading towards Canada:



The crew passed through the cabin several times to offer water and to check if anything else was needed. I wanted to eat before landing. While there was no second service I could choice whatever I wanted free of charge from the buy-on-board economy menu. No problem for me as the tapas box was very good.

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We landed at 19.30, ten minutes behind schedule. We had priority deplaning but all passengers had to take a very unusual lift bus. We were however through immigration in five minutes and our luggage was to first to arrive.

Thank you for reading my flight report and please feel free to comment.
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Verdict

Icelandair

9.5/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment10.0
Meal/catering10.0

Saga Lounge

8.5/10
Comfort10.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment8.0
Services8.0

Reykjavík - KEF

8.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Washington - IAD

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

This was a very good flight: fast check-in, security and passport control and a nice lounge at Keflavík Airport (only boarding was not so good), a comfortable cabin, good food, attentive cabin crew, no lines at immigration at Washington airport - and all these at an extremely good price.

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4 Comments

  • Comment 473600 by
    757Fan 453 Comments

    Looks like you had a nice flight with Icelandair. Saga Class looks quite good for a short flight of this length, and the food looks very nice. The salmon appetizer looks delicious!

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Comment 474147 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 4403 Comments

    Hi Bldavid, thanks for another very nice report, and to my home airport makes it even better :-)
    Icelandair Business class is perfectly fine for these short 6 hour flights, but I think they were right to discontinue the Economy Comfort product because there wasn't much of a difference with Saga class, especially on flights where the curtain was moved up higher than row 6 and W pax got J seats. I liked the concept of Euro-Biz style premium economy as a middle cabin, but with many carriers' W seats now close to what FI is offering in J, the branding was getting lost and confusing. Although I don't think FI need full-flat seats on the East Coast flight, with the longer routes to the U.S. West Coast, some flights are getting close to 10 hours block time so they may want to consider a few rows, or branding Saga as a W class like DL did recently for their flight to/from Iceland.

    Wow, I didn't know so many airlines had access to the Saga Class lounge. Seems like very carrier except DL. KEF really needs another lounge.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 474153 by
      bldavid SILVER AUTHOR 69 Comments

      Hi KévinDC, thank you for your comment, it's always nice to hear from you. I agree, Icelandair has a very specially positioned product. The fact that premium economy has been discontinued is very good for me as Saga (business) class fare have considerably decreased.

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