Review: Icelandair Saga Business Class B757-2, Seattle – Reykjavík (Keflavik)
Icelandair is one of the few major airlines left in the world that does not form part of any major international airline alliance. Instead, it partners with select frequent flier programs it feels can add value to their network. Today’s trip was courtesy of an Alaska Mileage Plan redemption through their frequent flier program for an Iceland Air Business Class ticket from Seattle – Keflavik – Madrid for 55,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles with a free stopover in Iceland.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Iceland, the United Kingdom and Morocco. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Iceland, Spain and Morocco via Iceland Air Saga Class & British Airways First Class
- Plaza Premium Lounge: Transborder Vancouver
- Alaska Airlines: Vancouver – Seattle
- American Express Centurion Lounge, Seattle Tacoma, USA
- Icelandair Saga Class: Seattle – Keflavik
- Hotel 101, A Member of Design Hotels, Reykjavik, Iceland
- City Visit: Reykjavik, Iceland – Part I
- City Visit: Reykjavik, Iceland – Part II
- The Blue Lagoon, Iceland
- The Golden Circle, Iceland
- Ion Adventure Hotel, A Member of Design Hotels, Nesjavillir, Iceland
- Nesjavillir to Dyrhólaey, Iceland
- Nesjavillir, Iceland
- Icelandair Saga Business Lounge, Keflavik, Iceland
- Icelandair Saga Class: Keflavik – Madrid
- The Westin Madrid, Madrid, Spain
- Renfe AVE: Madrid Puerta Atocha – Sevilla Santa Justa
- The Hotel Alphonso XIII, A Luxury Collection Resort, Seville, Spain
- City Visit: Seville, Spain – Part I
- City Visit: Seville, Spain – Part II
- Renfe AVE: Sevilla Santa Justa – Madrid Puerta Atocha
- AC Carlton by Marriott, Madrid, Spain
- Iberia Velazquez Premium Business Lounge, Madrid Barajas Terminal 4S, Madrid, Spain
- Iberia Business Class: Madrid – Marrakech
- The Pearl Lounge, Arrivals Hall, Marrakech Airport, Morocco
- Anayela (Riad), a Member of Design Hotels, Marrakech, Morocco
- City Visit: Marrakech, Morocco – Part I
- City Visit: Marrakech, Morocco – Part II
- Activity: Lunch at Aman Yella, Marrakech, Morrocco
- Activity: Overland Travel from Marrakech to Mhamid, Morocco
- Erg Chigaga Luxury Tented Camp, Mhamid, Morocco – Part I
- Erg Chigaga Luxury Tented Camp, Mhamid, Morocco – Part II
- Activity: Overland Travel from Mhamid to Marrakech, Morocco
- Le Meridien N’Fis, Marrakech, Morocco
- The Pearl Lounge, Departures Hall, Marrakech Airport, Morocco
- British Airways Club Europe: Marrakech – London Gatwick
- Le Meridien Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom
- City Visit: London, United Kingdom
- Qantas Business Lounge, London Heathrow T3, United Kingdom
- Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge, London Heathrow T3, United Kingdom
- British Airways First Class: London – Vancouver
Review: Icelandair Saga Business Class, Boeing 757-200, Seattle – Reykjavík Keflavik
We left the American Express Centurion Lounge at about T-90 and headed over to the S Terminal Satellite gates. Almost all the international widebody flights departing from Seattle leave from the S terminal and we had to take a short train to get there.
Lounge: The Club at SEA
On arrival, we picked up some Dufry Duty Free to take with us. We still had some time to kill so we ended up going to the Club at SEA Lounge Seattle.
We last visited here on our All Nippon Airways Business Class Seattle – Tokyo flight about 2 years ago. The Club at SEA is the contract lounge for everyone except Delta Airlines and British Airways since they both operate their own lounges in this terminal. If you’re departing on Icelandair Saga Class from Seattle, you’ll have access to the Club at SEA in your ticket. Although it is also Priority Pass lounge, we were admitted today thanks to the business class of service on our Iceland Air boarding pass.
There’s nothing super special about this place, other than it serves a respectable Piper Hindseck champagne on self pour. Despite being way out in the “S” Terminal, it’s always been crowded on my visits through here. Today’s visit wasn’t any different. We elected for stool seating at the windows because that’s all that was available.
There were a small amount of snacks available but nothing all to exciting other than the usual cut cheese and crackers.
The best part was the airplane viewing through the large windows. Today’s spotting was the Hainan Airlines B787 Kung Fu Panda livery.
FI 682 – Saga Business Class (Z)
SEA – KEF (Seattle Tacoma International Airport – Keflavik Airport)
Aug 31, 2018
03:15 PM – 5:20 AM + 1
Booked: Boeing 757-200
Flown: Boeing 757-200
At about about forty five minutes before the flight, an Icelandair boarding announcement was made in the lounge. We decided to head over to board. It turns out they had already boarded business class by the time we arrived. The gate dragon started asking MrsWT73 to check her backpack but relented when we said that we were in business.
On board Icelandair Saga Business Class:
We boarded through door 2 L and had a left turn into the 2-2 configured Saga Class.
“The Icelandair Saga Business Class product has old school reclining seats. While more comfortable than economy, it’s a bottom of class product in comparison to international overseas carriers.”
The Iceland Air Saga Class (business) seats are the barca lounger recliner variety. For some reason, Iceland Air hasn’t fully upgraded their seats to lie flat models- likely because most of their flights are under 7 hours.
Each seat has an individual video monitor in the seat back. While it is not state of the art compared to some of the newer cabin configurations, it was perfectly satisfactory for our flight.
Being an older Boeing 757-200 series aircraft, there were individual air nozzles in the overheads. You can really see the age of the aircraft by the switches up there – they sure look old!
The business class load was a very light with only 10 of 22 seats occupied. There are two Iceland Air flights today that left Seattle. Both flights were within 50 minutes of each other and we happened to be on the later flight. I never found award space availability on the earlier fight, despite setting Expert Flyer seat alerts. I suspect they let seats go out empty instead of changing them to reward availability at the last minute.
Pre Departure Services:
A pre-departure beverage of prosecco was brought around in a plastic cup. MrsWT73 astutely commented “This is just like the dollar store picnic”; or United Airlines for that matter (laughing).
Someone was really excited to get going to Iceland; dollar store cups not withstanding.
There was a pillow and blanket on the seat. As usual on Iceland Air, there were quaint sayings on the linen in their efforts to brand the country.
Food and Beverage:
The menus were passed out while we were on the ground. The food was nothing fancy- only two choices and not one of the choices vegetarian.
The wine and drink list was also passed out. I was really happy to see that they had 7 kinds of gin catered and two kinds of tonic. It made for a special occasion as I didn’t expect to get Gin and Tonic flights on our trip. Although when they arrived from the cart, it turned out that instead of impressive full size bottles, they had miniatures to present.
Icelandair Amenity Kits: Blue Lagoon Themed
The amenity kits were also presented in a hexagonal styled box. The kits contained Blue Lagoon branded cremes. The Blue Lagoon is the tremendous spa that is located close to Reyjkavik that is know for it’s volcanic pools. The amenity kits contained the usual eye masks and other non useful items.
The safety video had superimposed images from Iceland’s countryside. Another great idea of creativity.
In Flight Entertainment:
As we got underway, I looked at the in flight entertainment options. This consisted of a few movies (under 30) available from a touch screen on the seat back in front.
The Meal: A Full Dinner
As we got to altitude, a cocktail was offered. I went with a Reykjavik Gin and a light tonic. This was served with some caramel popcorn, which was a great snack to have to get underway. It was a refreshing change from the usual nuts offered everywhere else.
The crew came around again before dinner, so I took it as an opportunity to try the white wine.
I had the main course of beef steak. It was served with the appetizer all at once on one tray at about 90 minutes into the flight.
The first course I paired with France burgundy. The second course I paired with Italian barbera.
The dessert offered was a cheese cake with fresh fruit, which was served at the same time as the main being presented on the same tray.
After dinner was cleared away, a bottle of Icelandic Water was dropped off.
I had no luck with the on board wifi; I had the spinning circle of death forever more. . .
Near the front of door L1, there was a plaque identifying the plane. The Iceland Air planes are all named after volcanoes in the country. This particular plane was named Eyjafjallajökull after the erupting volcano that caused the massive Americas – Europe air shutdown in 2010.
At this point, we only had about five hours left in the flight. I tried to get some sleep. There are no mattress pads and the recliner chairs are downright uncomfortable and nasty for sleeping. I dozed but I wasn’t really able to get much deep restful sleep.
The Second Service: A Light Breakfast
At about 30 minutes prior to landing, the lights were switched on. A quick breakfast was offered of a ham and cheese croissant with some cut fruit. They also brought around orange juice in a plastic cup. I was also offered a coffee; which was downright awful. I believe it was powdered, instant and freeze dried.
Arriving into Reykjavik Keflavik Iceland:
We had an early morning sunrise as we descended into Reykjavik.
We arrived to Keflavik Airport near Reykjavik, Iceland. We ended up at a remote stand and had to take a bus. Arriving to a bus gate after an overseas flight is a drag in itself. But then the ground staff had some issues with the stairs and the door and we waited a good 15 minutes standing in the aisles for them to crack the seals.
We were bussed from the aircraft and were dropped off in the terminal. Between the early morning flight and the bus transfer I was super confused. The design of the Reykjavik airport has international arriving passengers mixing with departing passengers and arriving passengers aren’t treated as sterile travellers. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting this even though it is typical of some European airports. It was a bit challenging to find the customs entry.
Keflavik airport is a busy place at 6 AM; it seems the whole world is passing through there. We were eventually led to customs and clearance where there were about 300 people lined up to get in and 4 customs agents. The friendly agent flipped through to my 28th page in ze passport and commented “You’re never home”. With that and a smile, another stamp and I was stamped into country number 66.
Iceland Duty Free Shopping:
We headed downstairs to get our bags and encountered the massive duty free on arrival. The place was so large, it actually rivaled the usual liquor store I go to at home. I knew there must have been good deals in here; even the flight attendants and pilots were buying in uniform. I suppose they were after the end of their scheduled shifts.
We ended up finding our bags and took the FlyBus into town. A taxi is well over $200 USD where as the bus only cost us about $35 USD per person. We had some rugged scenery on our way into town since Keflavik Airport is in the middle of nowhere.
We would transfer onto the Hotel 101 by Design Hotels for our multi day stay in Reykjavik.
“Icelandair Saga Class is a unique way of getting across the Atlantic Ocean. While it’s not a class leading product, it’s an option that usually allows a convenient free stopover in Reykjavik”
The Bottom Line:
We managed to complete the Iceland Air Business Class flight. It wasn’t terrific, but it was much better than being in economy. At least the staff and experience was enjoyable. The Gin and Tonic flights were the highlight of the trip. It was also the easiest way to get to Iceland without back tracking.