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As part of a recent trip to Europe, my son and I flew Icelandair roundtrip. Since Icelandair is one of the airlines that is making budget travel to Europe so affordable, I thought I’d share my Icelandair economy flight review

Icelandair Chicago to Keflavik ticket prices

I found the Icelandair prices to be quite reasonable.  I’ve mentioned before that with economy cash prices so low, it’s rarely a good idea to use miles for a trip to Europe

(SEE ALSO: 10 sweet spots for using miles to fly economy)

We paid $575 for an open-jaw ticket from ORD-KEF-CPH, BRU-KEF-ORD.  We actually instead used over 38,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards (with the Chase Sapphire Reserve) for the roundtrip ticket.  Compare that to transferring Chase miles to United, where you’d have to pay 60,000 United miles PLUS taxes for a roundtrip.  (Though we might have gotten the CVG-ORD and BLL-BRU flights included all on one reservation instead of paying for those extra).

Note also that you can redeem Alaska miles for travel on Icelandair, but the fuel surcharges involved make that generally not a great redemption.

Icelandair Chicago to Keflavik (ORD-KEF) baggage prices

As with most budget airlines, the cheapest ticket classes do NOT offer any checked bags. You can buy a checked bag, but it’s USD$120 one way from the US to Europe, so I would recommend not doing so.  Note that unlike WOW airlines or some other budget carriers, Icelandair economy carryon policy is that you ARE allowed 1 carryon per person. There is nominally a weight and size limit on carryon, as pictured here at the gate

a sign on a stand

I did see one lady being asked to ensure her carryon fit into the sizer (it did). I was a bit worried that my rollerboard would not fit into the sizer, but I was not asked to see if it would. The gate agent did offer to check my bag through to my final destination (Copenhagen) at no additional charge, but I decided to just keep it onboard. It fit without a problem onboard. It’s also noteworthy to mention that there were no weight scales or anything to check carryon weight at the gate

Chicago to Keflavik Icelandair boarding process

Icelandair flies out of the International Terminal at Chicago O’Hare (T5).  We stayed a bit at both the Swissport ORD Priority Pass lounge as well as the Chicago O’Hare Air France lounge (definitely recommend the Air France lounge if you have access to both) before making our way down to gate M2.

As we got closer to the time to board, everyone started inching to the gate like normal.

a group of people in a line

The Icelandair boarding process is slightly different than other airlines in that (after preboarding and premium cabins) they board with the rear of the plane first. This makes a ton of sense of course, as then the first passengers on the plane can go to the rear of the aircraft and not be in the way of the following passengers. They first boarded rows 25-34, and then followed with rows 20-24. I assume they continued in groups of 5 rows though I am not sure as we were in row 24 on this Icelandair Chicago to Reykjavik Keflavik flight.

Icelandair economy flight review – seat

The Icelandair economy seat is nothing super special.

a seat in a plane

Though actually the legroom at 81cm is not only more than WOW (74cm), but more than economy on American or Delta (79cm). Look at us strapped in to try and sleep on a redeye in economy!

(SEE ALSO: 4 tips to survive a red-eye in economy)

a man and boy sitting in a plane

Icelandair economy in-flight entertainment review

With only about a 6.5 hour flight, we tried to sleep for most of it, but did spend a bit of time on the Icelandair economy in flight entertainment. There are monitors (glorified tablets) in the backs of each seat, and the movie and TV selection was decent

a black rectangular device with a screen on it

I watched a bit of the Sherlock Holmes movie, though we landed before I finished it – guess I’ll never know how it ends… Of course the REAL Icelandair in-flight entertainment are views like this!

an airplane wing in the sky

Icelandair Chicago to Keflavik food and drink service

Icelandair food onboard? What do you think this is, Emirates First Class?!?!?  A flight attendant gave us each a bottle of “Icelandic” water when we boarded, and that was the extent of the Icelandair food onboard 🙂

a person holding a plastic bottle

They do actually offer food for sale (view menu here), though we did not buy any food.  Children ages 2-11 get a free kids meal with juice on all routes.  Tragically my son was 13 and got… nothing 🙂

Icelandair Keflavik arrival process

When we landed in Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport, we were taken to a remote gate.  Doors were opened on both the front and the rear of the airplane, and we boarded buses to be taken to the terminal.

a large airplane on a wet runway

Once entering the terminal, it was just a matter of following the signs through passport control, where our (US) passports were stamped without any questions being asked.

I’m not going to say that sleeping in economy on a redeye flight was the most ENJOYABLE night of my life, but Icelandair economy met my expectations and I would not hesitate to fly them in the future if the price was right

Readers, now it’s your turn?  Have you flown Icelandair to Europe? What’s your Icelandair economy review? 


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