Icelandair has an important place on the Transatlantic market. It offers flights from 16 airports in the US and Canada (Anchorage, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Edmonton, Minneapolis, Montreal, New York JFK, New York EWR, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland PDX, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington IAD) to 26 airports in Europe (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast, Bergen, Berlin TXL, Billund, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Helsinki, London LGW, London LHR, Madrid, Manchester, Milan MXP, Munich, Oslo, Paris CDG, Paris ORY, Stockholm and Zurich) through its hub at Keflavík Airport, located 50 kms from Reykjavík, Iceland.
Icelandair carries 295,000 passengers between the US and the UK (or vica versa) and 290,000 between the US and Germany a year (source: anna.aero).
Yes, these flights are connecting, not direct, although the route is only 4% longer on average, and the typical connecting time is around two hours. Yes, most flights are operated by older B757 aircrafts and some others on B767 which do not necessary offer the same comfort as some of the newer and shinier Dreamliners and other planes. But prices in business class can be a lot lower than on the direct routes. A typical return business class ticket from Boston to London would be around $2400 with Icelandair but $3100 with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic.
Icelandair's economy cabin is actually very nice (see here). Let's see now what kind of hard and soft products you get from the US to Iceland in the business cabin - called Saga Class - for these lower prices.
I arrived to Boston from Bermuda at 15.17. My flight to Iceland was scheduled to leave at 20.00 and I already knew there would be a delay so I had plenty of time. Boston Logan Airport has four terminals: A, B, C, and E. The terminals are not interconnected and you have to take a free shuttle bus (think long articulated buses) to get from one terminal to the other. Icelandair uses Terminal E.
Check-in opened 4 hours before scheduled departure time. There were two dedicated check-in desks for business class passengers. I was checked in quickly.
Priority security was available.
While Icelandair has a very nice lounge at its home base at Keflavík Airport (see here), it does not have its own lounges abroad. It uses the British Airways Lounge at Boston Airport.
I was immediately very impressed by the lounge. It was spacious and not crowded. There were several nice seating areas.
There's a small area for reserved first class passengers.
There are nice apron views.
The choice of food is exceptionally good. You can even order some freshly made food directly from the cooks.
Passengers can board the British Airways planes directly from the lounge (does not apply to Icelandair).
Icelandair's flight to Keflavík was scheduled to leave at 20.00. The inbound flight arrived only at 21.00 due to bad weather in Iceland.
Boarding started only at 21.50. Our plane today was TF-ISR, a B757-200 built in 1999.
Icelandair has a 2+2 configuration in business class in five rows. Seats are similar to what you can expect in US Domestic First Class. They're not lie-flat or flat-bed seats as you can find in business class on all widebody aircrafts on the Transatlantic routes, so they're considerably less comfortable. These seats are however more comfortable than premium economy on Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and other airlines. They're also more comfortable than most intra-European business class seats.
An amenity kit, a pillow, a blanket and some water were waiting at the seat.
Prosecco was offered a short time later.
And so were headphones of reasonably good quality.
Each seat has a screen. Screens are of good size in business class except in the bulkhead rows where they're fold-out screens that are the same size as in economy class.
Push-back was at 22.20 and take-off at 22.35 from runway 22R for a scheduled departure time of 20.00. A short flight time of about four hours and 30 minutes was announced.
A short time after take-off:
The menu card was distributed about half an hour after take-off. The introduction:
The drinks menu:
There's no choice for the starter.
You have the choice between a cold and a hot meal for the main course.
There's only one type of dessert.
The entire meal was served at the same time which I didn't mind given that I was on a short red-eye flight. Dinner tasted very good.
I fell asleep immediately after I finished my meal. I woke up south-east of Greenland.
There's a choice of 54 movies in the in-flight entertainment. Some of them are Icelandic movies, and there are also quite a few documentaries about Iceland.
We landed at 08.05 for a scheduled arrival time of 06.05.
Thank you for reading my flight report.
British Airways Club World Lounge
Boston - BOS
Reykjavík - KEF
The British Airways Lounge at Boston Logan Airport, used by Icelandair, is exceptionally good: it's nice, spacious, has apron views and has a much better choice of food than most lounges in the US or in Europe. I spent almost more time at the lounge than on-board and I found it excellent.
Icelandair's does not offer the same standards in business class (called Saga Class) as the airlines that have direct flights across the Atlantic Ocean on wide-body aircrafts such as Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, KLM, Lufthansa, Swiss and many others. There are no flat beds here and there are no five-course dinners with multiple choices for each course. Service is however much better compared to a typical US Domestic First Class or transatlantic premium economy product. And what's very important for many travelers: it's usually very good value for a reasonable standard of service.
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