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Icelandair is a hybrid of a low cost carrier and a legacy carrier.  While their service is certainly low frills, unlike ultra low cost carriers, you do get 1 checked bag and the ability to pick your seat, even with a basic ticket.

An Icelandair Boeing 757-200 landing at Frankfurt International Airport. Image courtesy of Lasse Fuss.

Icelandair announces flights to 3 US cities

This week, Icelandair announced 3 new routes from its hub in Reykjavik, with the return of its service to San Francisco and Baltimore, along with new flights to Kansas City.

The San Francisco route will begin on June 1 and will run four times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturdays. The route will be operated using the airline’s largest aircraft in their fleet Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, which features 262 seats spread across three different classes of travel (including 25 Business Class, 21 Economy Comfort, and 216 standard Economy Class seats.) This new route is in direct competition with  Icelandic low-cost airline WOW air, which flies between the same route three times a week using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft .

The Baltimore flights will operate alongside the airline’s existing route to Washington Dulles Airport, giving passengers in the Washington D.C./Virginia/Maryland tri-state area even more options for traveling to Europe. Similarly to San Francisco, this route will compete directly with WOW air, which chose Baltimore as one of its inaugural North American cities to serve.

The new service to Kansas City will start May 25, and will be the city’s first ever transatlantic service. Service will run three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

While this is exciting in its own right, part of Icelandair’s plans are using Iceland as a stopover for people traveling from the US to Europe, and connections are timed appropriately.  You can even take advantage of a free stopover in Reykjavik on your way to/from Iceland, up to a seven nights!

Icelandair North America destinations

Icelandair already flies to 15 other cities in the U.S., including

  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Washington DC
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Minneapolis
  • Orlando
  • Tampa
  • Denver
  • Seattle
  • Portland
  • Anchorage
  • Philadelphia
  • Cleveland
  • Dallas – Fort Worth

and 5 cities in Canada including Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

 Using miles on Icelandair

Icelandair is a partner of Alaska Airlines, which means you can earn and redeem Alaska MileagePlan miles on its flights.  Unfortunately, the fuel surcharges are a little higher than other flights

The one-way award flight from San Francisco will cost you 22,500 Alaska miles and $101. Sure $100 isn’t THAT bad, but most other carriers charge $5.60 for a flight from the US to Europe.  Fuel surcharges are ~$140 if you continue to Europe and on a roundtrip even just to Iceland, it’s $235.  Considering you can often find roundtrip CASH fares for ~$400 or $500, I’m not sure I’d want to pay 45,000 miles AND $234.  As you can see, Icelandair does offer business class but it is not a lie-flat seat. I would rather use 50,000 Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific business class to Asia instead of on Icelandiar.

Earning miles on Icelandair

You can earn miles on Icelandair with both Alaska Airlines and JetBlue. Earning rates depends on the class of service and fare code of your ticket.

Alaska Airlines earning rate on Icelandair

 

JetBlue earning rate on Icelandair

Are you planning to fly Icelandair’s new routes soon?

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