Delta adds 3 Iceland routes as the country reopens to vaccinated travelers
On March 18, Iceland reopened to vaccinated tourists from the U.S., U.K. and the European Union.
If travel to this island nation is on your radar, Delta might have a flight for you. In anticipation of heightened demand this summer, the Atlanta-based carrier is resuming two routes to Iceland and starting a third brand-new one, too.
The carrier will connect Boston (BOS) and Keflavík (KEF) beginning on May 20, with daily service in each direction. The 2,413-mile route will go head-to-head with Iceland's flag carrier, Icelandair.
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Delta's also resuming two routes to KEF, one from New York-JFK and the other from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), on May 1 and May 27, respectively.
All three routes will be flown by a Boeing 757-200. The JFK flights will feature lie-flat Delta One pods in a 2-2 configuration, in addition to Comfort+ and Main Cabin seating.
The Boston and MSP service will be operated by a higher-density 193-seat 757-200, outfitted with 20 Premium Select recliners, 41 Comfort+ extra-legroom coach seats and 132 standard Main Cabin seats. Though Delta's labeling the forward cabin as Premium Select, the hard product and inflight service will mirror Delta's domestic first class.
“We know our customers are eager to safely get back out into the world, including exploring one of the globe’s most beautiful outdoor destinations,” said Joe Esposito, senior vice president of network planning. “As confidence in travel rises, we hope more countries continue reopening to vaccinated travelers, which means more opportunities to reconnect customers to the people and places that matter most.”
Iceland officially reopened just over a week ago to eligible U.S. citizens. Entry permission will be granted to any eligible visitor who can present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, including vaccinations manufactured by AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.
Note that all flyers returning to the U.S., including citizens, must receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel, regardless of vaccination status.
Related: Iceland is finally ready to welcome eligible Americans — for real this time
Visitors can present an official paper or electronic vaccine certificate, and Iceland’s requirements have been updated to match what’s listed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) certificate. Iceland removed a previous requirement that a nationality and passport number be listed, which do not appear on the CDC card.
Additionally, visitors who were previously infected with COVID-19 will be able to enter Iceland without a quarantine requirement. Acceptable documentation there includes a positive PCR test result that’s older than 14 days or a positive antibody test. Note that rapid tests are not accepted.
TPG's Andrew Kunesh flew to Iceland this week and had a pleasant experience with the country's flag carrier. His entry experience was a bit informal and disorganized, but he was ultimately admitted to the country after showing his CDC vaccination card confirming that he received the one-shot Janssen vaccine.
Related: What to expect when traveling to Iceland when vaccinated
At the moment, Icelandair is the only airline flying between the U.S. and Iceland. The carrier's nonstop service from Boston is running nine times this month, per Cirium schedules. The airline is slated to resume other U.S. routes in April, though some are in the process of being canceled.
Delta will become the first U.S. airline to resume Iceland flights in May. Both American Airlines and United have previously offered service to the country, but neither airline has announced plans to resume flights. According to Cirium timetables, United's daily Newark (EWR) to KEF flight is currently scheduled to restart on June 3, but it's possible the airline will adjust the plans in the coming weeks.
Of course, it's also possible Iceland may end up having cold feet, like it did last summer when it first announced that Americans were welcome, before quickly rolling that back.
In recent days, the country has experienced a spike in COVID-19 infections, leading to ministers adding curfews, restrictions on gatherings and closing gyms, cinemas and swimming pools.