How To Book Flights To Iceland In Summer

Iceland is at the very top of the list of places I’d like to visit. Unfortunately it can be a real pain to get to, so I figured I’d share some tips for getting there this summer, should you be interested in booking a ticket last minute.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for travel on Delta

The only airline flying between the US and Iceland year-round is Icelandair, and unfortunately they don’t belong to any alliance or partner with any major US frequent flyer programs (they used to partner with Alaska Mileage Plan, but discontinued their partnership last year).

The only other airline which seasonally flies between the US and Iceland is Delta. They offer daily 757-200 service out of New York JFK seasonally, between June 4 and September 13, 2014.

Economy availability is abysmal except at the “peak” level.

Delta-Iceland-1

That being said, there are still quite a few dates with “saver” level award space in business class. As of the time of this post, I see 19 dates with saver level business class availability from New York to Reykjavik, and 33 dates with saver level business class availability from Reykjavik to New York.

Delta-Iceland-2

Unfortunately Delta charges the same number of miles for travel to Iceland as for travel to the rest of Europe, so it will cost you 125,000 SkyMiles for a saver level roundtrip business class award ticket.

Delta-Iceland-3

That’s kind of steep for a flight that’s under six hours.

So not a great option, but if you definitely want to go to Iceland and want to get there as directly as possible…

Icelandair business class fares to Europe

Icelandair doesn’t have a real business class product. Instead they just have Saga Class, which is roughly comparable to first class within the US. So while it’s not a luxurious product by any means, for a fairly short flight it’s comfortable.

Icelandair-Saga-Class

The other nice thing about flying Icelandair is that they offer “free” stopovers in Iceland. So if there’s a good fare between somewhere in the US and somewhere in Europe on Icelandair, you can always do a stopover in Iceland at no additional cost.

While the fares are by no means amazing, I do see some ~$2,000 Saga Class fares between New York and Stockholm with a stopovers in Iceland

Icelandair-Fares

Again, by no means amazing, but during the peak of summer I’d say that’s not bad for a premium cabin ticket which will get you from the US to Western Europe and Iceland.

To kind of put that ticket cost into perspective, Icelandair charges virtually the same fare if traveling just roundtrip between New York and Iceland. So you’re basically getting a “free” side trip to Stockholm on the above fare.

For what it’s worth, economy class fares on similar routes are hovering around ~$1,200, and you can also do the Iceland stopover on those.

Redeem Avios for travel between Europe and Iceland

If you’re already in Europe, it’s easy to redeem British Airways Avios for travel to Iceland.

Airberlin has tons of seasonal service to Reykjavik out of Berlin, Dusseldorf, and Munich. There’s award availability virtually every day. For example, here’s the calendar for June travel between Germany and Iceland on American’s website (which would show the space on airberlin):

Airberlin-Iceland-Award-Space

For those flights you’re looking at a cost of 10,000 Avios in each direction, which is an absolute steal.

Airberlin-Iceland-Space-1

Bottom line

If you’re like me and obsessed with “maximizing” miles in terms of the onboard product, it’s really tough to justify going to Iceland. But at some point I think it’s just time to “bite the bullet” and forget about maximizing miles & points for what looks like an awesome destination.

The above is by no means comprehensive, but I do think these are the three best options out there.

Anyone else been to Iceland or plan on visiting soon? If so, how did you get there? Any creative options I didn’t cover above?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. I have flown Icelandair in both economy and Saga Class (Oslo-Reykjavik-Orlando round trip) and I thought it was fairly good. Sure, the seat won’t turn into a flat bed, but the service has been consistently good, and also the food is pretty decent (for airplane food)

    If you are planning a Scandinavian get away this summer, you could combine that with Iceland too. SAS operates flights between Oslo and Reykjavik, and Icelandair flies to several other Norwegian cities in the summer (Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim) as well as Stockholm and Copenhagen.

    You can also redeem United miles for flights with SAS, which could potentially be a good deal. SAS also sells discount tickets to those under 26 on select flight.

  2. Spent a little under three weeks in Iceland last summer, touring the entire country with my family.
    .
    Flew Delta for money (decent close-in fare, I don’t remember how much but probably around $600).
    .
    Use Club Carlson points for Reykjavik (three options with a super-good value Park Inn among them), but spend as little time in Reykjavik as possible.

  3. If you wanted to visit Ireland too, you could use Avios for Aer Lingus and then hop EasyJet from Ireland via the UK (e.g. Belfast-Edinburgh-Reykjavik.) If you could contemplate the horrors of EasyJet.

  4. With packages for airfare (economy) and 3 nights of hotel starting at under $700, head during off- or shoulder-season and just pay cash. Save those miles for a longer trip!

  5. Iceland is my favorite country to visit, except perhaps my recent visit to Svalbard. I’ve always flown direct on Icelandair in economy from various US cities. A 5 hour flight is definitely at my spoiled max for what I’ll do in economy, but I’ve had good luck heading for the back of the plane and stretching out in an empty row. I can’t see it being worth paying up for Icelandair’s version of 1st class. Now, shhhh, quit telling people about these places!

  6. If you are flying from the East Coast (JFK) to Iceland unless you don’t know what to do with your miles or you really need to burn cash I see no reason to spend that many miles or that much money to fly business class on a 6 hours flight. BTW, the hard product you will get in both Delta or Iceland Air will not be as close as to flying European or Asian airlines in business class.

  7. I quickly put together an Iceland trip when Alaska Airlines announced the end of their partnership. Iceland has long been on my bucket list and I strongly support getting there any way you can. I paid 85k Alaska miles for round trip in First on Alaska Airlines LAS to SEA and Saga class on Icelandair SEA to KEF to AMS. I thought quality and service on Icelandair was excellent and enjoyed being exposed to Iceland language and culture on the flights. Used Club Carlson for the 1919 Radisson Blu in Reykjavik. Very pleased with use of points and want to return to Iceland in the summer months. I have also flown EasyJet and was apprehensive after reading reviews but found new and clean product and would fly them again in a pinch without hesitation.

  8. Norwegian also has good fares (<$80 ow) occasionally if you're flying out of norway into Reykjavik (from Bergen, I think I saw?)
    the real challenge, as you said, is getting back to North America šŸ™

  9. It’s too bad the sale/mistake fare that CZ had for KEF-AMS-PEK/PVG disappeared (~$1,000 roundtrip a/i, was around for months). Managed to use that as a building block for a 10-day summer trip that includes Iceland, 2 Amsterdam stops and Beijing, booked using four separate tickets:

    IAH-AMS-KEF; RKV-AEY(x)-RKV(x);KEF-AMS(x)-PEK(x)-AMS(x)-ATL-IAH

    It was also really frustrating that AS announced and then terminated their partnership with FI so quickly.

  10. I like the suggestion of using Air Berlin while already over in Europe as a side trip. I am also considering taking a cruise from Europe over to Greenland and Iceland. Oh the possibilities for next summer!

  11. @Lucky, you could always do a LH award from DUS too. Lot’s of availibility in Aug/Sept. You could tag it on the EWR – DUS flight too.

    I’d love to go and see the northern lights in the shoulder season!

  12. Had my bachelor party there in 2011, amazing vacation, amazing country. Delta flights were in the $550 range for July.

    I’ve never seen such a sh–show airborne as I did on the JFK->KEF flight. midnight departure, 4 bachelor and 2 bachelorette parties raging on the plane. Same group flew home that Sunday and there was a line to puke after takeoff.

    try the whale sushi

  13. Easyjet and Norwegian both serve KEF and offer very reasonable fares from all over Europe. Icelandair is also a potential option if booking intra-Europe flights as well, since you can still build in the Reykjavik stopover… I booked OSL-KEF-GLA for this summer at a very reasonable $270.

    For anyone wondering about Icelandair Saga Club, it seems to be a painfully useless FF program. It certainly doesn’t hurt to credit the flights there, but don’t expect anything other than a magazine subscription or something similar (if you’re lucky).

  14. You can also include redeeming UA miles on SK from Europe to KEF (it was 12.5k each way before but I think it is adjusted to 15k) with a stop-over in Oslo possible.

  15. We doing a Northern Lights thang in March this year. We plan to fly Biz Class on AA miles JFK>HEL stop 2 nights; then purchase RT HEL>IVL stop 3 nights (we want to stay in this hotel:http://www.kakslauttanen.fi/ ). Then purchase IVL>HEL>KEF stop 3 nights and KEF>JFK.

  16. Last year I booked a UA one way award to LHR, enjoyed a week in London, then paid cash for Icelandair flights LHR-KEF and KEF-SEA. Iceland is awesome in summer; I recommend spending 10 days there (touring the country outside of Reykjavik) with a reputable travel outfitter (PM me for referrals).

    On the return flight, saw awesome views of Greenland from a window seat on the right side of the plane. I was pleasantly surprised by Icelandair economy; seats had decent legroom and food was reasonable. But the “free stopover” in Iceland is limited to 7 days, so my airfare cost was fairly high.

    (My final destination was SFO; I found it was cheaper to break the fare, KEF-SEA on Icelandair, and SEA-SFO on a domestic carrier, than to purchase a through fare from Icelandair. That also allowed me a stopover in Seattle.)

  17. Hi Lucky,
    My wife and I flew Wow air from Berlin to Reykavik last year Dec. We found the flight no frills but comfortable. Booked the tickets 10 months in advance for just 90 euros per person. Do let me know if you need any recomendations on where to go in Reykavik! Iceland is a most beautiful country.

  18. You can go and I did. that already on a few days per week with Germanwings (StarAlliance) from DUS to KEF.

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