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

Jan 27, 2022

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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?

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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.

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