If you’re shopping for an Icelandair Saga Class seat, you’ll want to read my review on why the Economy Comfort option might be a far better value.
I’ll start out by saying that any trip to or from Iceland is exciting– and Icelandair’s Reykjavik hub is easy to navigate, clean, relatively small, and features great modern design that make it an OK place to hang between flights– and you’ll definitely have layover time, because Icelandair’s main objective is to get people into Iceland. Flying direct from North America to mainland Europe is essentially useless for them, so they’ll do just about whatever to get you to make a pitstop in Iceland to see the Blue Lagoon or just about any other local attraction (still waiting to see if Iceland is offering sea lion experiences — will report back soon).
That’s fine by me, frankly, but people should be aware that if they have a relatively short layover there simply isn’t much to eat by hearty North American standards in that airport. Sure, a few nibbly sandwiches here and there but don’t expect a robust pub, sports bar, or build your own salad joint. You’ve got the wrong group for that, and Icelandair’s mentality isn’t far off. It’s sleek, efficient, and just enough to get the job done. You’ll arrive at Point B safely, happily, and perhaps with an Icelandic donut in your belly.
READ MORE: Reasons to Visit Iceland
If you buy a Saga Class or Economy Comfort ticket on Icelandair you’ll find yourself treated to free lounge access. At JFK Airport in New York that means sharing the lounge with British Airways. Not a bad set up, but it’s hardly a Terminal 4 Delta Lounge. Get your fill of tea, coffee, water, and chips (actual American chips, not fries) before heading on the long haul to Reykjavik. Food options on board will be relatively sparse, but again, in true Icelandic form they get the job done.
I found myself having the vegan salad box and a donut on both of my recent flights. The same menu is available whether you sit in a big, comfy Saga Class seat or Economy Comfort. The seats in Saga Class are leather and about the size, shape, and texture of a first class seat on a late 90s Delta, American, or United flight. There’s a certain nostalgia for me in seats like this, so I liked it. The Economy Comfort seats are slightly smaller, but also leather with a slight reclining option, and a guarantee that no ticket is sold for the middle seat in a row of 3.
Both seat options come with a USB outlet for device charging and the glorious option of international wifi. Saga Class ticket holders are treated to free wifi (instead of the 7 euros fee that Economy Comfort pays), and universal outlets below each seat. That means you can charge just about anything including your computer.
Icelandair Saga Class and Economy Comfort feature televisions in the seat ahead of yours. Both also come with free headsets of above-average quality. In flight entertainment is a mix of Icelandic movies, shows, and music with the expected Hollywood stuff– although it seems there’s no expiration date in Iceland. On the same page of movie title options I found American Sniper, a brand new release, and Shawshank Redemption, a great movie but I’m pretty sure Clinton was in office when it came out.
A major difference between Icelandair Saga Class and Economy Comfort, for me, was the leg room between seats. While I’m not a basketball player, I am a nearly 5’9″ woman, and leg room is extremely important to me on a long flight. I simply cannot sleep without a little room to stretch. In Economy Comfort there just wasn’t enough space for me to give my legs a good stretch, and I have no idea how a taller man or woman would fare comfortably. For a daytime flight I could probably be OK with it, but for sleeping? No, thanks.
Saga Class on the other hand features a fair amount of leg room, far more ideal for a tall flyer like me, and the same little footrest that Economy Comfort has. The tray tables are of about equal quality and worth, and both seat options come with a small pillow and blanket. You’ll likely need the blanket (as gross as airline blankets are), because the air near and around Iceland is legitimately frigid no matter what season you go in. As someone who can say they flew Icelandair twice in August, it’s cold. Bring a cardigan and a shawl.
Occasionally Economy Comfort ticket holders will be moved from their slightly smaller 3-row seats to the comfier Saga Class seats. In this instance the airline puts out a little card reminding you that they did you a favor, you aren’t actually entitled to Saga Class, and you need to know it. For this reason alone, it’s worth paying for Saga. You get an ego trip (free) with your vacation.
That aside, I’d recommend Economy Comfort over the Saga Class splurge since they have more or less the same features and Economy Comfort comes with the possibility of using Saga’s best feature– better seats.
Tips: I found extremely cheap roundtrip flights from the USA to Iceland here (under $500 for my dates), and discounted hotel deals for Rejkavik here.
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