Watch us fly Icelandair 2 different ways: Business class versus economy

Jan 27, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

With a very exciting northern lights-related video in the works at TPG, the team needed to make their way over to Iceland. And, what better way to arrive in a country than by trialing that nation’s flag carrier?

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Icelandair was founded in 1937 and has been synonymous with Iceland ever since. On international routes, the airline flies a combination of Boeing 737, 757 and 767 aircraft, but following a TPG report outlining why you should fly the Boeing 737 MAX over the larger 767, we were eager to try out this newer, fresher 737.

Related: The 7 most extreme ways to see the northern lights

We boarded a 2-year-old Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX 8, departing London Heathrow (LHR), flying for two hours and 36 minutes to Keflavik Airport (KEF). I tried out Saga business class, while Liam Spencer, TPG U.K.’s senior social media manager, headed to the back of the plane and compared my experience to Icelandair’s economy class.

Watch the full video of our experience here:

Saga business class – Nicky Kelvin

Seat: 1F

We paid: £552 (about $740)

The cabin was very smart and the seat was large and perfectly comfortable for a short flight like this. I was particularly impressed by the food. Although served cold, the steak and potato salad main course was fresh and delicious. The dedicated gin menu with local options was a noticeable and impressive touch.

The service was particularly excellent. The crew was warm, friendly, efficient and up for a laugh. One of the crew poked fun at me during the flight in the most perfect way, keeping the experience fun and light-hearted.

There were some downsides: Icelandair flies this aircraft on journeys of five hours and more, and for a longer flight the seat would have become uncomfortable with its poor recline and lack of foot or leg rests in Row 1.

An Icelandair business-class ticket holder gets access to the Aer Lingus lounge when departing Heathrow’s Terminal 2, but the food and drink offering here was very disappointing with the only hot food option being a soup, which tasted artificial and straight out of a can.

Considering the cost, I struggled to find the value for such a short flight.

Economy – Liam Spencer

Seat: 22F

We paid: £136 (about $182)

“I loved the fresh cabin on the 737 MAX 8 which felt clean and particularly modern with its charcoal color scheme. The service was extremely efficient — from check-in through boarding, and my meal arrived less than two minutes after I ordered it. This was impressive given how extensive the menu was with a number of different food and drink options.”

“It wasn’t all great, however. The meal that did arrive was sadly almost inedible. The ‘Viking lamb’ broth tasted like dishwater with bits … and wasn’t cheap at £7 (over $9) per serving. The headrest on my seat was also extremely flimsy and definitely wouldn’t have held in place if I’d attempted to sleep on it, and this would definitely be a bad thing if I’d been booked on a longer flight.”

“Additionally I was had to purchase IFE headphones for an additional £3 ($4). This seemed expensive given their quality and the fact that lots of other carriers provide them for free these days.”

Related: Play vs Icelandair: Comparing Iceland’s newest and oldest airlines

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/31/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.99% - 26.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$125
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.