British Airways Starting Flights To Iceland

Last summer I had the opportunity to visit Iceland, and had a great time. It might just be one of my favorite places in the world.

Iceland-1

While Iceland isn’t very far from the US, it’s not the easiest place to get to, at least for those of us playing the mileage game:

  • Icelandair serves Iceland from several US cities, though doesn’t partner with any major airlines for the purposes of redeeming miles
  • WOW Air is launching service between the US and Iceland with great fares, though they’re truly no frills — you’ll pay for everything from seat assignments to carry-ons
  • A few European airlines fly to Iceland (mostly seasonally), though there aren’t many “ideal” options for the purposes of redeeming miles.

Icelandair-Business-Class-1

Anyway, there’s finally another airline flying to Reykjavik, Iceland, which I’m very excited about.

British Airways is launching 3x weekly year-round Airbus A320 service between London Heathrow and Reykjavik as of October 25, 2015. Via airlineroute.net, the flight will operate with the following schedule:

BA800 London to Reykjavik departing 11:20AM arriving 2:35PM (Sun, Wed, Fri)
BA801 Reykjavik to London departing 3:30PM arriving 6:45PM (Sun, Wed, Fri)

LHRKEF

At ~1,180 miles one-way, the flight is in British Airways’ “Zone 3,” making the award cost under British Airways’ new award chart as follows:

  • Economy — 8,500 Avios off-peak, 10,000 Avios peak
  • Business — 17,000 Avios off-peak, 20,000 Avios peak

New-Avios-Redemption-Chart-1

The flight will be operated by a shorthaul Airbus A320, meaning Club Europe will simply be economy with a blocked middle seat and improved service/food/drinks.

British-Airways-Club-Europe

I’m really excited about this, because it makes a side trip to Iceland from Europe much more feasible. This is a way to get there comfortably on miles, as award space is wide open, both in business and economy. There seem to be two business class and four economy class award seats per flight.

American-Awards

If redeeming Avios, the total taxes/fees for a one-way business class reward from London to Reykjavik seems to be $40:

Avios

Furthermore, if redeeming American AAdvantage miles, you can book a single award from the US to Iceland, connecting in London. That prices the same as any other US to Europe award, so could be a great opportunity for comfortably getting to Iceland on miles.

BA-Award

There are two things that make this announcement especially awesome, in my opinion:

  • The service is operated out of London Heathrow, while many of British Airways’ leisure destinations are served out of London Gatwick; Heathrow is much more convenient if connecting from the US
  • I love the fact that the flight is year-round; given that they’re launching it 3x weekly in winter, it wouldn’t surprise me if they increase frequencies in summer

Blue-Lagoon-Iceland

Bottom line

I’m very excited about this announcement, and frankly a bit surprised it took British Airways this long to add such a service. Reykjavik is only a roughly two hour flight from London, so I’m amazed they didn’t see it as viable until now.

Are you excited about British Airways adding flights between London and Reykjavik?

Comments

  1. Yes! Iceland is on my travel bucket list and I had noticed the same thing that you mentioned – not a lot of great ways to redeem miles to get there.

    One way that I’m sure you know about but I didn’t see mentioned is that you can use United miles to book a flight on SAS to Norway (and then continuing on)

  2. while i think this is exciting for Europeans, for US travelers this is a major detour… i’d rather suffer on WOW air.

  3. Delta offers seasonal (summer) service via B757 JFK/KEF. Iceland Air recently announced partnership with jetBlue.

  4. BA operated to KEF in the past (out of LGW around 2006 or so IIRC), but the route did abysmally and they cut it after about a year.

  5. I went to Iceland last month and it was amazing. I’m already thinking of going in summer(may be no this summer). This is a good opportunity though wowair is not bad, esp the flight from BOS was not full when I went and every passenger had a row of 3 seats for him/herself. I’m intrigued by United/SAS through Norway as Norway is also on my list to places to go.

  6. Iceland has only been remotely affordable for the past 5 years or so since their economy collapsed and the Krona’s value was cut in half. While it’s still comparitively expense i’m sure affordability has helped increase foreign tourism.

  7. Iceland is a great place to go, but if you’re from the US you’re much better off taking the 4-5 hour direct route from BOS than going all the way through the UK.

  8. …also you’ll pay more in taxes on a reward ticket on BA than you would for the entire flight on WOW or Icelandair

  9. I have trouble identifying the most valuable program for myself. I have Amex Everyday Preferred, and I also want to have either Chase or Citi, but I don’t know which one to choose. The first question is that is it still worth to hold Avios points even though it devalued its program? I mean for short flies. I know it has fuel charge. However, I also feel that Singapore program is not lucrative enough for me because I’m not a big spender. The last question is that is there any cards other than Amex provide Aeroplan transfer? Could you give me some suggestions please? Thank you very much!!!

  10. Please, be honest, you didn´t go to Iceland and Portugal. It has been almost a year since you allegedly went there and we haven´t seen any signs of those reports. Instead of going to KEF, you went to KGF (Karaganda Sary-Arka, Kazakhstan) from POR (Pori, Finland) and you are ashamed to blame those people from PointsPros.

  11. @Dan @Sriki I would more than recommend doing it. SAS however does fly to Oslo from Newark and flies with an A330 with a brand new cabin with direct aisle access in Biz vis a vis Uniteds ex-continental 752.

  12. It’s KEFlavik airport you doozy , not Rekjavik . God , does anybody ever know anything about aviation in the media ?

  13. Commenter Ben is right. Lucky, I know you like to piss on Delta, but they’re worth a bullet point on your list of airlines serving Iceland from the USA, at least! (I’d say since you can redeem miles on Delta and they flight nonstop from the United States, it’s by far the best way to get to Iceland on miles… who wants to fly all the way to London and double back another third of the way?)

  14. From NYC, I barely even find it worth forking out the extra 30k AA miles to upgrade from off-peak coach to biz class on an award flight to London. I’m certainly not gonna overshoot Iceland by a thousand miles, hang out at Heathrow waiting for a connection, and then backtrack another thousand miles. I’d rather pay cash and spend 4-5 hours non-stop in coach.

  15. Surprised the service is from LHR not LGW. As you mentioned most of their leisure destinations are from LGW. I personally think most O&D traffic on this route will be from the UK. Of course there is some demand from North America for this route, but with Icelandair’s and Wow’s competitive fares from many cities in NA in addition to Icelandair’s code share agreement with jetBlue, and the fact that this destination is mostly leisure focused I do not see how this would justify the use of one of BA’s expensive slots at LHR.

    I visited Reykjavik last year and agree it is a cool place to visit. I flew Icelandair due to their stop over policy, where one can stopover in Iceland for a few days in route to Europe. Sometimes a cheap fare and flexible stopover can make forgoing some useful points worth it.

  16. The more service options to Iceland the better. Love Icelandair, but since they cut ties with AS, it’s not possible for me to use points. It’s nice to have a point option for spontaneous trips.

  17. Lucky,
    I was really looking forward to your TR for Iceland, but I guess it’s not going to happen. Could you please go again, but this time give us a TR?

  18. I believe BA used to fly to KEF, so this is a nice thing to see. However, I can’t imagine flying to KEF from LHR when I could fly from SEA directly from KEF on Icelandair no matter how cruddy the pitch and that I need to pay for the food. I’m a fan of the direct routing these days. Then again, I flew from SEA to LHR to CPH to SFJ a few years ago because it was the best routing I could manage with miles.

    I recommend that your readers leave the KEF/REY area and go west and north. There is a lot of Iceland worth seeing.

  19. @ Mr_Tudball — Can still publish the original trip report, hopefully. Have another trip report rolling out tomorrow, at least. 🙂

  20. @ Makalo — Starwood Preferred Guest (and their AmEx) is also a transfer partner with Aeroplan. Singapore KrisFlyer is a great program, depending on what you’re trying to do, given that their program is one of the few ways to book a premium cabin award on Singapore flights. Citi and Chase are both great products, I guess it depends which categories you spend most in, since their bonus categories might be the deciding factor.

  21. “I’m……frankly a bit surprised it took British Airways this long to add such a service.”

    More of a ‘relaunch’ rather than ‘add’. Most recently, BA served KEF between 2006 and 2008.

  22. ” Reykjavik is only a roughly two hour flight from London…” Ben did you even read the screenshots of the BA pages you took? It’s 3hours 15 mins.

  23. As this is a leisure destination I wonder if the TV series Fortitude, filmed in Iceland, has any impact?

    Also is the Icelandic economy picking up? If so maybe it will pick up traffic originating in Iceland and connecting through Heathrow to the east and south of the world?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *