2015: Flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir to Europe

Flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir
IcelandAir jet at Keflavik Airport

For my recent trip to Europe (aka my European adventure), I decided to fly IcelandAir even though one of my stops wasn’t going to be Iceland. It’s definitely not the first time I’ve flown IcelandAir and it’s safe to say it won’t be the last. I’ve previously flown Economy Comfort on more than one occasion and I’ve also flown in Saga Class, IcelandAir‘s Business Class. This time I decided on flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir from Boston to Amsterdam via Keflavik Airport in Iceland on the way out and from London to Boston via Keflavik on the way back.

Flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir
Long lines at Boston Logan Airport

First things first: Fighting the long lines at my home airport of Boston Logan International Airport. Despite flying IcelandAir often, I somehow always seem to forget that with Economy Comfort I can get in the same line as Saga Class customers. There’s no signage and when I asked the desk agent about it,  I was told that it keeps disappearing because it’s either getting stolen or lost.  So strange!

TSG Thoughts: While it’s nice to bypass the long line, I wish the airline would encourage (strongly) the airport to make sure the signage is kept in place.

Flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir
Air France Graf Lounge

With my bag checked and all of my travel necessities in tow, I quickly passed through security and into Terminal E.  From there was able to make my way to the AirFrance Graf Lounge in the departures area of Terminal E, the international terminal for Boston Logan. While not my most favorite lounge ever, it was a place to sit and relax before boarding for my flight. Here, however, is the problem. When it came time for boarding, I instinctively grabbed my bags and headed all the way down to the other end of the terminal. I walked toward gate E8B as every time I’ve flown IcelandAir we’ve left from this gate. I arrived at the gate only to find it empty. I swung around to find a monitor and discovered that the flight wasn’t leaving from this gate, but from one on the other end of the terminal by the AirFrance Graf Lounge, which meant I would have to once again maneuver past the massive crowds. I arrived at gate E1A after they had already started boarding so I walked up and was able to get right on the plane.

TSG Thoughts: While it’s nice to have the convenience of a lounge prior to a long flight, I do miss the not so recent past when IcelandAir flights allowed you to use the Virgin Club House, which is a vastly better lounge.

As I was flying on a 757-200, I knew that the seats closest to Saga Class would be larger seats. Or so I thought. Oh IcelandAir you make me sad!  You’ve taken those great oversized Saga Class seats away and now they’re regular old Economy Comfort seats. Guess I shouldn’t complain as that is what I paid for after all. I originally had seat 6A on the left hand side of the plane, but a couple had been seated in the aisle seats and I switched with them so they could sit together. I ended up in 6F, which had plenty of legroom and with no one in seat 6D, I had the entire row to myself. What I didn’t like was that the seat back entertainment system for these seats have been replaced with the smaller screens that pull up from in between the seats. It’s not the size that bothers me, but the weird angle the screen always ends up at when trying to watch something on it.

TSG Thoughts: While I chose not to fly Saga Class because I generally don’t eat the meat centric meals or drink the alcohol, I might move back to Saga Class because of the better seats and legroom.

One of the positive attributes about IcelandAir is their service, from desk and gate agents to the flight crew, everyone is always more than friendly and accommodating. The flight attendants always have a moment to chat with passengers, which is more than what you receive from other airlines most times.

TSG Thoughts: While the product may change over time, as long as IcelandAir presents quality service, they will have a customer for life.

IcelandAir‘s Economy Comfort amenity kit has been reduced down to something I would have to say is rather embarrassing. It’s basically construction or craft paper with a zipper that contains ear plugs, an eye mask, a wet nap, one singular lonely Mentos mint, and that’s it. I left mine in the seat as I don’t need to carry extra junk in my bag when traveling.

TSG Thoughts: While I appreciate the thought, I honestly would rather they skip the amenity kit altogether if this is what they are going to give me. Strangely enough, this is exactly what they did on my flight from Keflavik to Boston as no amenity kits were present in the cabin.

Flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir
Kleina and a cappuccino

After arriving into Iceland at 5:34 am, I somehow dragged myself through passport control and directly to the Saga Lounge at Keflavik Airport. After all, I knew how to get there and knew I could relax in comfortable surroundings with a hot cappuccino and a kleina (think Icelandic donut!) before boarding in less than two hours for my flight to Amsterdam.

TSG Thoughts: The Saga Lounge at Keflavik Airport is one of the most creative, clean, and well staffed airport lounges anywhere. My hope is that this lounge will stay the same and offer the same great service and amenities it currently does. Fingers crossed!

On my flight to Amsterdam I was seated in seat 5C, a window seat on the left side of the aisle in a 757-200, which on other planes as I experienced in my earlier flight, is now designated a Saga Class seat. The little placard in between the seats let me know that I had been “upgraded to a seat that under normal circumstances would be assigned to Saga Class.” Of course, I loved the larger entertainment system with the USB port in the screen as well as more seat space.  Who wouldn’t?

TSG Thoughts: While I understand these were never intended to be Economy Comfort seats, I’ve always felt lucky to get one of them. To take them away now and replace them with Economy Comfort seats seems strange. Don’t know why they didn’t just make these seats Saga Class seats in the end.

Who doesn’t want to watch their flight in progress?

Flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir
Healthy snack box

For my breakfast, I chose a healthy snack box with the most amazing protein flapjack bar, Trek Morning Berry, and “Fly Fit” a vitality booster to help reduce tiredness that you simply tear open and pour into your mouth.

TSG Thoughts: I love the healthier options that are available from IcelandAir and their in-flight menu.  They even have a Gló vegan salad from one of my favorite Icelandic restaurants, Gló!

I couldn’t resist taking pictures as we were flying over the Dutch countryside and into Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

Of course, the wing from my IcelandAir jet also had to make an appearance!

At the end of my trip as I was getting ready to board my IcelandAir flight out of Heathrow airport, I had to take a few quick pictures. I even had the Queen’s Guard bidding me a fond farewell.

TSG Thoughts: While my flight was a normal three hour flight from London to Keflavik, it was so cold! Granted, I was running a fever and felt like hell and was able to get a blanket, but could’ve used about 20 more.

It must have been an extremely busy day at Keflavik Airport as it was the first time I’ve arrived and deplaned right onto the tarmac. But I did get to see other planes, like this one from WOW Airlines.

Flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir
IcelandAir’s Saga Lounge in Keflavik

After passing through passport control for the sole purpose of spending some time in the Saga Lounge, I was able to grab a quick drink and a snack.

TSG Thoughts: I made my way through passport control for the express purpose of getting to the service desk to try and get a seat far away from the exit door since my last flight was so cold. Unfortunately, there were no open seats. When I tweeted IcelandAir, I was impressed with their immediate response and caring attitude. Although no adjustments were made to my seat assignment, I did appreciate that they were interested enough to respond online.

Flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir
IcelandAir

As I boarded my plane to Boston, I saw a nearby plane preparing for passengers and then later saw passengers boarding the same plane.

My flight back to Boston was nothing like I’ve experienced before with IcelandAir. The plane was somewhat dirty, there were no amenity kits, and the flight attendants seemed stressed or rushed or tired, not sure what it was. The experience felt more like a flight with a budget domestic airline than what I’ve become accustomed to with IcelandAir and it certainly didn’t help that I was sick.

Flying Economy Comfort on IcelandAir
Landing in Boston

After 5 1/2 hours of flight time from Keflavik to Boston, I finally arrived back in Boston.  I spent the majority of my flight watching my iPad and blowing my nose, but at least the flight wasn’t a cold one.

TSG Thoughts: I’m flying IcelandAir in November again to Iceland and seriously hoping that my experience will be significantly better. I’ve been a huge fan of this airline for some time and in less than one year I’ve seen a major change and I can’t say it’s for the better. Fingers crossed that my experience is a better one 7 weeks from now.

Check out my other Iceland travel tips and other airline reviews now that you’ve read this post and tell me what you think in the comments below.

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