Icelandair blanket

Icelandair Business Class – Saga Seat from Newark to Reykjavik (EWR-KEF)

Posted on Posted in Airlines, Airport, Europe, Flights, Iceland, Travel

For my first flight on Icelandair, for my birthday four day weekend in Reyjkavik, I decided to book Economy Comfort class, via my travel agent, which was slightly more expensive that Coach.  The added benefits were that the middle coach seat was blocked so only two people in a row, a whole one inch (1″) of extra pitch (woohoo!), lounge access (this was the selling point for me) and a meal with wine onboard.  So was Economy Comfort worth the added costs?  I don’t know as I didn’t fly in Economy Comfort from Newark (EWR) to Reykjavik (KEF).

Flight Map EWR-KEF
Iceland is closer than you think

When checking in online the day before, I checked the seating chart to see if the other seat (the aisle) was occupied for the flight (it wasn’t).  While I thought it a bit weird that the seat map showed only two seats and not the blocked middle seat, I stayed in my assigned 4A window seat.  After using the Economy Comfort separate check in counter, I proceeded to the Lufthansa lounge that Icelandair uses.

Lufthansa Lounge Newark

When I first entered the small lounge, it was really packed (every seat full) so the agent told me I might want to come back in 1/2 hour after the Germany flight departed.

Icelandair EWR lounge
Icelandair premium passengers use the Lufthansa lounge at Newark

Waiting in the common area of the Newark gate is a bit depressing, there are two pubs, a coffee stand and a general store, these are the times that I miss my hometown Philadelphia International Airport with a plethora of options.  I did, however, utilize the free charging centers and jumped on wifi (sadly at a cost, not free). After the Germany flights departed, I went back to the lounge and it was pretty empty with about ten people on the business class side.  There are about 20 lounge chairs, three high top tables and four low top tables to choose from.  The hot and cold foods were fresh and interesting, however, all with dairy so I could only look no touch.  I opted for wine instead and then opened my Corner Bakery sandwich I had brought with me (luckily, I was not thrown out of the lounge for my outside food as I was by USAirways in PHL Terminal F in the past).

Lufthansa Icelandair Lounge Newark
The drinks side of the Lufthansa lounge at Newark

Icelandair Boarding at Newark

Icelandair boarded a few minutes late and the gate was surrounded by such an interesting mix of passengers.  I had to smile at the young mom who told the other mom she was going “there” as she pointed to the gate saying “I don’t know how to pronounce it”.  It was Reykjavik and I wondered how many others just said “I’m going to Iceland”. Boarding for Economy Comfort class was allowed at the same time as Business (Saga) class passengers.  The fact that you get most (not all) of the benefits of a business class ticket for less was surprising to me.  As I boarded the plane, I was immediately handed a bottle of Icelandic water to carry to my seat.  I was told to turn left and found my seat, 4A, which was bigger than I thought it would be and without a middle seat blocked out.

Icelandair Bottled Water Saga Class
As you board Icelandair you are greeted and given a bottle of Icelandic water plus a bottle was at my Saga seat

Surprise Upgrade to a Saga Business Class Seat

I had a (very) warm blanket, soft pillow and another bottle of water waiting in my seat as well as larger than normal windows.  It was then I realized (the note confirmed it) I was upgraded to an Icelandair Business class Saga seat but since the curtain was ahead of me, I realized it was sorta Business class – the seat but without what?  The privacy due to the curtain?  I could live with that as I think the other passengers in the two rows – 4 and 5 who were also upgraded to the better seat (it is about same size as U.S. domestic First Class, nowhere near a true flat bed international business class product).

Icelandair Saga upgrade
A nice surprise on Icelandair
Icelandair Saga Business Class Seat at EWR
The Saga class seat on Icelandair – a lovely surprise upgrade
Icelandair Saga Seat
The divider between paid business class and my upgraded business class seat

The flight attendant from business class welcomed me onboard and offered complimentary ear buds for the IFE system which was built into the seatback in front of me.  Unfortunately, the flight attendants found people in the back to bring up front and enjoy the Saga seat so my empty seat became occupied by an Icelandic woman who would grow to hate me with all of my ups/downs during the flight as I climbed over the seats due to the reclining seats ahead of us.

Icelandair Saga Class Seat
The Business Class section on Iceland air – Saga Class is 2-2 from EWR

 

Icelandair On Board Food From Newark

As it was a late flight departure, near 8 pm, there was food service not long after takeoff.  Economy Comfort passengers (which I technically was) enjoy free meals from the “meals for purchase” brochure as well as drinks.  The options were varied and consisted of sandwiches, salads and snacks served in a takeaway box.  I had a special “low calorie” meal (pre-ordered).  The special meal was a surprisingly a tender chicken breast with vegetables. Despite eating my sandwich in the lounge, I easily finished this portion.  Passing on the wine, I stayed with bottled water the entire flight.

Icelandair Special Meal Low Calorie
The low calorie special meal was quite tasty

Icelandair Service and IFE

After dinner, I caught up on my X-Men and found the IFE (in flight entertainment system) crisp, clear and easy to use via touchscreen.  I loved the many Icelandic facts “100% literacy”, “…ice cream obsessed” and surprisingly the number of golf courses (66 – one for every 4,824 residents).  Want to shop duty free, just navigate the screens.  Want to book airport transit or day tours, again, just touch the screen and order from the airline (this is GENIUS!).

Icelandair IFE ads
These fun facts rotated when the IFE was not in use
Icelandair IFE ad
What a great fact and accomplishment by the residents of Iceland
Icelandair Duty Free Shopping IFE
Duty free shopping is way too easy via the IFE. A good selection of “made in Iceland goods” was available too
Icelandair Tours for purchase on flight
What a great idea! Book your airport transfer or a day tour during the flight

During the flight, the business class flight attendants were attentive but not overly so – I could peek through the curtains to see a slight advantage in service to the folks up front.  I did take advantage (without issue) of the business class lavatory rather than walk to the back of the plane – I had no qualms going through the curtain – actually I got a bit stuck in the curtain as it was in the middle of our row – half in business, half in row 4 and with my sweater and the velcro closure, well my clumsy made it just easier to go forward to extricate myself from being enveloped in the curtain (that’s my story folks).

At one point, after the movie and the various Icelandair documentaries (very interesting to learn the history of the airline, it’s holdings and Iceland) with the lights out, I rested my head on the window and stared out.  I saw white lights in the distance that might have been the Northern Lights.  As the captain didn’t announce anything, I wasn’t sure (talking to passengers from the JFK flight which leaves at the same time as the EWR flight, they said that they saw them during the flight so maybe I did see them!).

Icelandair stopover
The “free stopover” up to 7 days is a great reason to fly Icelandair

Overall Impression – Icelandair Business Class Saga Seat

It was a good flight to Reykjavik, Iceland. The larger Saga seat upgrade was a nice surprise, the service attentive, the IFE excellent in function and selections and the food quite tasty.    With the free stopover to Iceland on the way to/from Europe (I was going to London), Icelandair Business Class (Saga) is a great option to consider or you can try your luck and book Economy Comfort and hope for a free upgrade like I experienced.

The Northern Lights Iceland Reykjavik
The Northern Lights Iceland Reykjavik

Have you flown Icelandair?  If not, would you consider it based on their “free stopover” program if your flight to Paris, London or Rome was cheaper?

 

8 thoughts on “Icelandair Business Class – Saga Seat from Newark to Reykjavik (EWR-KEF)

  1. I think the “free” stopover is brilliant marketing for the airline and the country. Is Icelandair a joint state-private enterprise? Having to fly out of Newark—meh? But, it’s easier to get to than JFK.

  2. Why not! Sounds like a good flight. As long as its comfortable and I will be taken care of by the flight crew is enough. And I love that pillow with the Icelandic Lullaby printed on it!

  3. My wife and I are taking advantage of the free stopover with a trip commencing May (2015). We are actually flying to Munich first to drive around Germany, Austria and then Switzerland. We will fly to Iceland on June 4 for a couple of days and rent a car there. Flying back home on Jun 6th. We have purchased Saga business class tickets already from Newark. We are looking forward to this trip which may be our last to Europe.

    1. Charlie – What a fabulous trip you have planned – Iceland in summer should be lovely with such long sunny days that I missed. Enjoy the flights – the lounge in Reykjavik is quite nice for your connections/flight home – love that they had a dessert table at 6 am!

  4. Thank you so much for your comprehensive review. Today my travel agent friend was kind enough to book my flight back from Copenhagen to Newark in premium economy BUT my seat assignment is in Row 5 which is a Saga seat. I wasn’t sure what she was conveying to me, so reading about your experience was a huge sigh of relief.

  5. I have flown both economy and Saga on Iceland Air. Honestly, I enjoyed Saga a bit more because the economy seats are rather tight. We also sat with a Game of Thrones dude 🙂 I am thinking about using the stopover for a trip to London because Saga seating is much cheaper than domestic first class and I get the bonus of going back to Iceland my favorite country.

    1. I agree that the price of Saga does make sense given the stopover option in Iceland – I might be a bit addicted to going back to explore the country more in depth – that’s awesome that a GOT guy sat with you what an interesting flight that must have been –

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