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By: John Tunningley
Hey Travel Junkies,
As some of you know, I spent a few weeks in Iceland in May and took advantage of cheap round-trip airfare to get there. I flew Icelandair while my friend who is a photographer out of Los Angeles flew WOW air to get to Reykjavik (KEF).
We both got there safely on relatively uneventful flights, however, we stepped off the planes with vastly different experiences.
First, I’ll break down my experience with Icelandair.
My Icelandair Experience
My planning kicked in to high gear after I found a deal from Los Angeles (LAX) to KEF for $330 for my buddy.
I looked at the WOW air flights out of my home airport of Cincinnati (CVG) and other options at airports near me. Having some friends in Chicago I decided to look at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and found a cheap flight on Icelandair.
I booked the “Economy Standard” ticket which included a checked bag. But unlike WOW air, even the “Economy Light” tickets come with seat selection, a carry on bag and non-alcoholic beverages on the flight. In short, it’s essentially the economy ticket that we’ve all come to know.
It was a pretty nice experience boarding the plane where I was greeted with a bottle of Icelandic water and had a pillow and blanket waiting for me when I reached my seat.
In addition to having the comforts of most international economy tickets (including a screen in the seatbacks) for a low price, there are “Saga Class” tickets similar to some other international premium economy or domestic first class seats including food, drinks a more comfortable seat— you also get access to the Saga Lounge when departing from KEF.
These seats are still quite cheap for what they are and offer great value. However, Icelandair has its own points system that’s not a part of any major network and Alaska miles are the only available partner miles to use. To redeem Alaska miles costs anywhere between 22,500 and 40,000 miles for an economy ticket and 50,000 miles for a business ticket. The base fare for my flight was $329 so even at the lowest redemption point it wasn’t a great use of miles and I would have had to pay the taxes and fees anyway so I opted to pay for the flight instead of redeem miles.