Icelandic Air Saga Premium Class Review
On this June 2023 flight to Iceland my family took all of Row 2. This was the first time I've flown the kids First Class so they were excited. We were coming from Savannah, Georgia, straight off our daughters college graduation (I'll brag and share she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 gpa in Fashion Design from Savannah College of Art and Design)
This presented our biggest challenge of the trip: how to pack for 80+ degree humid Savannah whether then be prepared for 40-55 degree June weather in Iceland. This is really when it helps to fly First Class. Our domestic legs were all Delta Airlines so we could bring 3 free bags up to 70bs each. We, however did NOT want to lug unnecessary baggage around Iceland even IF it was free. Our solution: we shipped a couple boxes of our hot weather clothes back to San Diego.
This was my first time flying Iceland Air. I was happy to say they met and sometimes exceeded my expectations.
We had our own expedited check in lane at the airport. This mattered as the coach check in had a line and we noticed we got side eye from all those people wondering why we went first. Tried to ignore. The outbound flight left from Baltimore. One downside was that Iceland Air is not a Delta Airlines partner so we could not check our bags all the way through from Savannah. We were required to claim our baggage in Baltimore and check them in again at the Iceland Air counter, then go back through security. This only became super problematic when our Delta legs were both massively and uncharacteristically delayed. But we made it.
Typically when I fly long haul, a lay flat bed is mandatory, however the East Coast Reykjavik flight of just under 6 hours did not offer it. Their best of class was Saga Premium. The plane we flew was a new Boeing 737-MAX. It felt new; it felt quiet and it felt fresh. To be frank, the seats were a lot nicer than the Delta First Class seats we experienced domestically. The Iceland Air seats are super spacious with fold down foot rests. We were greeted with a wonderful cotton blanket and pillow and an amenity kit that included socks, ear plugs, toothbrush/toothpaste, eye mask, face spray, lip balm, hand lotion and little stickers to put on your shoulder saying: Do Not Disturb, Wake Me for Food, Wake Me for Duty Free. I was only interested in the food!
I'll tell you about the food in a minute. First let's talk about sleep.
I really wanted to sleep on this flight and be refreshed for the 6:30am arrival, so we could hit the ground running and avoid jet lag. This was not possible in these seats. Although they are comfortable and spacious and they recline, it just didn't work for me. And if i can't sleep on an overnight flight, I'd rather fly during the day.
The seats don't recline enough to sleep flat. They are also so wide that when i put my pillow against the window there was so much space my pillow kept landing in the back row behind me. My solution was to prop my backpack to fill the space between seat and window and it too landed halfway into the seat behind me. Every part of my body kept falling asleep, but not me. I couldn't get sleep comfortable. My feet in socks (because I take my shoes off when I fly) were icy cold on the metal foot rest which kept me awake or unable to use the foot rest. So you get the picture. I got little to no sleep. That was a bummer.
Now for the dinner:
The menu was spectacular. I chose Beef Steak. They also offered a hot chicken dish. I was disappointed the beef itself was cold as I had read the menu to say the Bernaise Sauce was chilled. Regardless, the flavors we unbelievably elegant for airplane food and the whole family was impressed. I loved the burrata. I was full by the time I got to dessert so I just had a bite and yum.
I don't drink alcohol so I forgot to shoot the drink menu, but I did look at it and it's extensive. A nice selection of very premium grade spirits. You won't be disappointed.
Our pre dinner snack was something cheesy we couldn't identify but tasted good. Kind of like cheese sticks.
Our post-dinner sweet treat (which we most definitely didn't need!) was a chocolate confection made by an artist. After I ate it, I read it was 530 calories and immediately regretted the choice. Ha Ha.
Inflight entertainment was spectacular!
It bears mentioning that the safety lecture that normally bores all the frequent fliers, that tells us how to buckle our 1950s version of the seatbelt...was unbelievably modernized by Iceland Air. I was watching like WTF!? I was half way through before I even realized it was the safety briefing. It's hard to describe, but there are these beautiful scenes of Iceland and modern people with a voice over and every once in awhile something appears on the screen. I was so thoroughly impressed by it, I filmed it (I know, travel geek). Here are my screen grabs. Hope you can get the idea from them. End game = not boring AT ALL!
There is an entire section of their entertainment package devoted to entertaining you with educating you about Iceland. There were shopping videos, health and wellness, events, attractions, history, even an entire half hour film dedicated to all things Icelandic Horses. It was an amazing resource. i sat there with my camera out taking pictures of the screen to remember things, like the oldest watch company in Reykjavik, or the geothermal spas I hadn't heard about and stores I wanted to shop. Loved it.
The system had all the requisite many movies and tv shows and we found the selection better than average. My daughter was delighted to see that Galavant was available. I didn't end up watching anything but all the Iceland videos.
Our return flight was Keflavik to Boston, so we got to take advantage of the Saga Lounge at the Keflavik airport and wow is it nice. Delta SkyLounge is my most frequently used lounge so that's what me and the fam were comparing it to.
The Saga Lounge was completely uncrowded. Aesthetically, the design was relaxing and had some nice features. There are lounge chairs so you can nap, and I saw a couple people doing so. Coffee stations and drink refrigerators were scattered at multiple locations around the space which meant easy access.
On the 'drinks' note, I was floored that in the Saga Lounge, full-sized bottles of spirits of all kinds were out for the taking--no bar tender to serve them up. Help yourself, even first thing in the morning. They trust you. And this is a theme that flows throughout all our time in Iceland. Icelanders trust each other. Babies are left outside cafes alone in their strollers. Keys are left in cars when owners walk away. Doors are left unlocked. There is no suspicion. It's a lovely thing.and while I wasn't drinking alcohol at 10 am, it was still nice to see it there.
The lounge decor was also interestingly decorated with real-life landscape of Iceland...rocks!
I didn't get a photo of it but there is the cutest kids area with rocking horses and stuff too!
I was in row 1 on the plane...I'm unusual...I don't like the bulkhead seat at all. I like a seat in front of me for putting my carry on under the seat to use for a foot rest. The Iceland Air flight actually had a little room under my own seat for me to tuck my things and that was nice. And my view at first boarding was this: the captains chair, which to me looked a little bit like an ejection seat 😂😳
My bulkhead seat I thought would be too far from the entertainment screen to plug in my Bose headphones, then I found out there was a remote in my arm rest that include (for those who care) a game controller as well)
Iceland Air has a fancy and delicious spirits menu for the flight and an imaginative gin menu that even had a variety of tonic water flavors--something we didn't even know existed. And the menu paired different tonics with different gin flavors. My daughter and I speculate that since the UK is so near Iceland, they probably get a lot of British passengers. We just had to try the Lavender Echinacea Gin and it was yummy.I really love the whimsy of their napkin conversation (below)
What I absolutely despised about this flight was that when I booked four seats in the same row, I thought it was me and my family in the whole row. When we boarded the plane, there was this really weird 2-1-2 configuration. What does that mean? 2 seats each side and this random single seat in the middle. So the four of us were 2 on one side, one in the middle and one on the other side. This left me sitting in a not-window seat next to a stranger. Ugh. My sweet husband switched with me because he was happy with an aisle, then throughout the flight he moved himself to an open single middle seat. Who builds planes like that? Hated it. My son, though, loved his single seat. So.....
Overall, the plane was new, clean and lovely. In the United Polaris Business Class service, the bathroom located in the Business Class bathroom always has a variety of amenities to try which honestly makes going to the bathroom fun for me...a little face mist, some lotion. I found on the Iceland Air flights that aside from the bathrooms being outfitted with just the regular stuff, I was surprised that everyone from coach was totally allowed to use the First Class bathroom. This just ends up creating a wait for the bathroom pretty much throughout the flight and with more use, by the end of the 5 hour flight, the bathroom gets pretty dirty. A little disappointment.
Overall, even though I still long for a lay down bed seat for that 6am Reykjavik arrival, I recommend the Saga Premier service on Iceland Air. It's good and the price is stellar.