What to Know Before Flying Icelandair, According to Passenger Reviews
Founded in 1937, Icelandair connects destinations in North America and Europe via its hub, Keflavik International Airport — Iceland's largest airport. With affordable flights to and from major U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York City, and more, Icelandair is a popular airline for travelers hoping to explore Iceland, either on a vacation to the island nation or during a quick stopover en route to their final destination. The Icelandair Stopover makes it easy to include Iceland on transatlantic trips, allowing travelers to make a one- to seven-day stop in Iceland at no additional airfare — that's plenty of time to check out the destination's famous geysers, waterfalls, and volcanos and take a dip in the Blue Lagoon continuing your journey. The airline also offers package vacations (including trips for northern lights seekers) for visitors hoping to discover the land of fire and ice.
Here's everything you need to know before you fly, including baggage policies, fare classes, and more, according to Icelandair reviews.
Related: More airlines and airports
There are five classes of service on international Icelandair flights: Economy Light, Economy Standard, Economy Flex, Saga Premium, and Saga Premium Flex. As the name implies, Flex fares allow more flexibility with the ability to cancel or change your flight or get a refund for partly used tickets. All fares include complimentary in-flight entertainment, blankets and pillows, and nonalcoholic beverages.
Economy Light is the least expensive option, and it's also the most restrictive. It doesn't include checked baggage or seat selection, but passengers can bring a carry-on bag and a personal item. Economy Standard is a basic main cabin option that includes a checked bag, a carry-on and personal item, seat selection, and nonalcoholic beverages. Economy Flex offers those perks plus gate-to-gate Wi-Fi and flight changes and refunds.
Tripadvisor reviewer Christoph R. spoke highly of his economy flight, saying "Really good experience, even for Economy. Friendly staff, nice new planes, good service."
Saga Premium is Icelandair's premium cabin, akin to business class. This fare includes two checked bags, a carry-on and personal item, priority boarding, priority check-in, fast track through security, seat selection featuring more spacious seats, complimentary meals, gate-to-gate Wi-Fi, and lounge access. Finally, Saga Premium Flex includes all that plus an additional carry-on, easier ticket changes, and full refunds. Other perks for the Saga Premium class include headsets, alcoholic beverages, hot towels, and power sockets.
Comparing the levels of service, Tripadvisor reviewer Tim Y. said, "Economy class cost on Icelandair is reasonable as long as you pack your own food with you, and Saga Premium is not inexpensive, but is definitely worth it if you think of it as cheap Business."
Flight Change and Cancellation Policy
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Icelandair altered its flight change policies. You can change your flight without paying a fee for all international flights and for domestic flights booked for a certain time frame. You can receive a full refund if you cancel a reservation (made more than seven days in advance of your departure) within 24 hours after booking. For the most flexibility and peace of mind, Flex fares might be your best option, as they allow for changes (although a fare difference may apply), cancellations, and refunds of partly used tickets.
Baggage Policies and Fees
All international fare classes include one carry-on bag (up to 22 pounds) and one personal item, and Saga Premium Flex passengers can bring two carry-on bags on board. For international flights, Economy Light does not include a checked bag, Economy Standard and Economy Flex include one checked bag that weighs up to 50 pounds, and Saga Premium and Saga Premium Flex include two checked bags that weigh up to 70 pounds. For overweight bags 50 to 70 pounds, there is a charge of $50 to $80, and extra bags cost $59 to $95, depending on your destination. You can pre-purchase baggage online before your trip for a discount.
Several online reviewers recommend reading up on the airline's baggage policies before getting to the airport so you can avoid paying extra fees. Tripadvisor reviewer AliciaM said, "Note to all travelers — read the emails before the flights, measure your luggage, and weigh it. This didn't seem to be as big of an issue in other countries, but many people were getting bags pulled and charged to check them in the U.S. This is incredibly expensive, so pay attention to the requirements."
Seats and Legroom
Icelandair uses two configurations across its fleet, but economy seats generally have 32 inches of legroom and Saga Premium seats have 40 inches. On the 737 and 757 planes, the economy cabin is laid out with 3-3 seating configurations, while Saga Premium has 2-2 configurations. On the 767, seating configurations are 2-3-2 in economy and 2-1-2 in Saga Premium. Online reviews of Icelandair's seats are varied — some say the legroom is sufficient and comparable to major U.S. airlines, while others say the seats are uncomfortable for long-haul flights.
Amenities and Entertainment
Complimentary in-flight entertainment, including movies and TV shows as well as a selection of Icelandic music, is available on international flights. Meals and alcoholic beverages are included for Saga Premium and Saga Premium Flex fares, and they're available for purchase with debit or credit cards or Icelandair Saga Points for passengers in economy (a selection of nonalcoholic beverages is included). Children ages two to 11 get a free kids meal with juice on international flights. Wi-Fi is included with Economy Flex, Saga Premium, and Saga Flex fares, and other customers can purchase it.
The stopover program is a favorite among travelers flying Icelandair. Tripadvisor reviewer Chris_elliott57 said, "The stopover was excellent... a must as Iceland is a fantastic country."
Icelandair Credit Cards
The First National Bank of Omaha offers two Icelandair credit cards available to U.S. residents — the Icelandair Mastercard and the Icelandair Premium Mastercard. Both offer points on purchases, bonus points after first purchases, and no foreign transaction fees. Unless you're a frequent traveler to Iceland, it would probably be wise to opt for a different travel card.