Icelandair Is Getting Rid of Premium Economy
The only Iceland-based full-service carrier, Icelandair, is getting rid of its premium economy product. As of April 7, 2018, Icelandair will reportedly quit offering its Economy Comfort product to flyers.
Icelandair has long offered passengers three different products: economy, Economy Comfort (premium economy) and Saga Class (business class). However, as reported by Wandering Aramean, Icelandair sent out the following note to travel agents:
"In order to remain innovative and competitive, Icelandair is excited to announce changes to our Booking Class Structure, effective 07APR18.
We will be discontinuing our Economy Comfort product in order to offer our customers more fare options for a travel experience that best suits their needs."
If you have a ticket booked in Economy Comfort prior to this announcement being made, Wandering Aramean is also reporting that Icelandair will upgrade you to Saga Class at no additional charge.
I flew Icelandair's Economy Comfort product in February, and found it to be wildly inconsistent. Officially, the product is more like an intra-Europe business-class seat. You get an extra inch of seat pitch, priority check-in, lounge access and free onboard food and beverage, however, the product itself is officially nothing more than a blocked out middle seat.
Where the product is inconsistent is with what seat you actually get. On flights with lighter Saga Class loads, Icelandair seems to seat Economy Comfort passengers in Saga Class seats, but you still get the Economy Comfort service. So, by booking, it's not been clear exactly which of the two seats you'll actually get. Check out the full Economy Comfort experience in my TPG review.
The move is an interesting one from Icelandair. Doing away with Economy Comfort leaves it with only two options: economy and Saga. With the added economy seats available in the cabin thanks to no more middle seats being blocked off, it could mean Icelandair could introduce more bare-bones fare classes in order to compete with its low-cost counterpart, WOW Air. Last year, Icelandair added its Economy Light ticket in order to better compete, which excludes a checked bag. Going forward, it's entirely possible Icelandair could add a stricter basic economy fare with a la carte options in order to better compete with the low-cost carriers dominating the transatlantic market, especially to Iceland.