A Review Of Icelandair

February 24, 2010 by  
Air

Don’t neglect Icelandair the next time you are looking for flights from North America to many points in Scandinavia and Western Europe. Icelandair is one of my favorite airlines, in terms of comfort and service plus the fact that they don’t charge extra for stopovers.

icelandair plane

Flying Icelandair

Both planes I boarded in New York City bound for Copenhagen through Reykjavik a few weeks back had the most legroom I’ve ever experienced for an economy seat. The seats themselves were very comfortable and each was equipped with a touchscreen entertainment system that included an assortment of movies and games. The staff were very friendly and helpful, not to mention efficient in getting the plane in order before take off. The comfort of the plane was such that I wish they flew to more destinations – which is one of the drawbacks about Icelandair – they simply don’t fly from many destinations in the US and only 2 in Canada (Toronto and Halifax). Many of their destinations are also seasonal and not available year-round.

  • Another disadvantage is that Icelandair isn’t affiliated with any of the big airline alliances like One World, so you can only earn miles flying with them or staying at Hilton or Radisson hotels plus a few others.

Stopovers

blue lagoon loungeIcelandair doesn’t charge you additional airfare for stopovers and although Iceland is getting more expensive, it’s still a good time to get a deal there. You can add a few days there along your flight path to Europe or the US and enjoy Reykjavik as well as other parts of the island. Fly around Christmas time to find the lowest fares, another reason you should visit Iceland in the winter. You should also look into booking through the US or Canadian versions of their website, where the prices are generally lower than booking in Euros.

  • One thing that is a bit unusual is the security check all passengers have to go through upon arrival in Reykjavik. You’ll need to take your shoes off and go through a metal detector much like you did before going to your gate in your origin city.

Meals

While the food is a decent blend of above-average airplane sandwiches, you’ll have to pay for them and any other meals on your flight. From the US east coast or points in Scandinavia the flights are short enough to make this bearable but I wouldn’t be too happy about paying for a meal on a longer haul flight from Seattle or Milan.

Checked Baggage

iceland ceramicsOne thing to be aware of if you’ll be taking a stopover in Iceland on your way across the Atlantic is that if you’ve got excess baggage or suitcases that are too heavy, the fines will be applied to both legs of your route. While Icelandair doesn’t charge you for up to 2 checked bags, if either are overweight consider your fine doubled when you leave Reykjavik to your final destination. In that case, check Luggage Limits to get the latest restrictions and consider getting an extra bag if you buy too many carved viking hats or ceramic souvenirs.

Overall Impressions

Icelandair is an exceptionally comfortable airline, something I wish more carriers offered in economy class. Perhaps the best part about Icelandair is the ability to stop over in Iceland. Tomorrow I’ll show you how to make the most out of your stopover in Iceland without breaking your budget as you travel across the Atlantic.

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  1. Priyank says:

    They seem to have cheap offers from Toronto for the promo summer flights.

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  2. That is a sweeeet looking ride!

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  3. Donna Hull says:

    I’m happy to learn that Icelandair offers excellent leg room in coach. I wish more air carriers would follow their lead. Iceland is on my “to visit” list. After your review, I won’t shy away from flying on Icelandair.

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    • Anil P. says:

      I know some European countries have government requirements and standards forcing airlines to meet a few minimums in terms of legroom, I wonder if Iceland is the same…

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  4. Never knew about it! Sweet ride!

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  5. AviationExpert says:

    Okay personally i think Icelandair is the worlds best airline at the moment, but the security check after disembarking in Keflavik are not Icelandair’s fault. It is E.U. Regulation when travelling on connecting flights to mainland Europe from the U.S. and Canada.

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  6. Hilarye says:

    What an honest and efficient review! I hate having to pay for meals on flights- honestly give me less legroom but more food and I’m happy!

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  7. Brian says:

    Another timely post for me :) Knowing the food isn’t free is a good tip, especially for the long legs. What about drinks? They’ve always been free on my international flights.

    Think I may be taking them from Seattle in December on my way to Europe, with a stopover of course. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post. Legroom is nice, but the price is the main thing for me and those are good too, especially getting the stopover.

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  8. Mark H says:

    I flew them once return and I thought them excellent. Several people I wokred with were based on the US east coast and regularly took IcelandAir to Europe and they spoke very highly of them. Though it is a bugbear of mine that airlines charge for food on long haul flights – add the few dollars to the fare and stop mucking around with these irritating small add-on charges.

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    • Anil P. says:

      That’s the only thorn in my side. Why not add the cost of some food in the ticket – might even be cheaper that way overall for the airline since they’d probably buy in higher quantities.

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  9. Good to know they fly to Toronto and Halifax, both places I’ll be visiting or close to this summer. Good review, Anil. :)

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  10. anjuli says:

    So do they really fly from Seattle? I had never thought to even consider Icelandair- but you have really ‘sold’ it here!! The thought of more leg room and comfy chairs- well that is great!! Just coming off a flight on KLM from Accra to Ghana- where I felt like I was being shoved into the chair in front of me- and the chair I was in felt as though there was NO padding at all- Icelandair sounds very appealing at this point!!

    I need to check if they go from Seattle to Toronto- as I might be making a trip to Toronto at the end of next month.

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    • Anil P. says:

      I just checked and doesn’t look like it but wouldn’t hurt to give them a call, you never know. They really made me a fan, I’m a sucker for ample legroom, it really makes the ride so much easier and is less exhausting when you finally land.

      If you remember drop a comment if you end up flying with them, would be interested to hear your take.

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  11. Kim Kinrade says:

    in late 1990’s I was a frequent flyer on Icelandair and I attended three of their Mid-Atlantic Conferences. Back then they had a good reputation however their creed was that their planes always took off full. This means that if you were scheduled for Prestwick, and that place was not full, you could find yourself going to Heathrow and then shuttled to Scotland.

    I could make a sexist remark about the flight attendants but then . . .

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