Icelandair

Icelandair Brings Back The Stopover Buddy!

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Icelandair’s business model is based largely around connecting passengers between the US and mainland Europe, via the airline’s hub in Reykjavik. One of the cool programs Icelandair has in place is that they let you stop in Iceland for up to seven days without increasing your fare. It’s a win-win, as it gives people an incentive to fly Icelandair while also boosting the country’s economy.

In February I wrote about how Icelandair took their stopover concept to the next level, as they introduced their “Stopover Buddy” program. The idea was basically that if you were visiting Iceland in the off season they’d try to pair you with an Icelandair employee who has similar hobbies, and they’d spend a day showing you around. How cool is that?

Initially the program was available through April 30, 2017. I imagine it doesn’t make sense to offer such a program in summer, given how many tourists there are, and that they’d probably have a hard time meeting demand and managing expectations.

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Wow: Icelandair’s Next US Destination Will Be Tampa!

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The number of flights to/from Iceland the past few years has increased at an incredible pace, thanks to huge expansion from Icelandair and WOW Air. Both airlines operate similar business models, where they’re using Iceland as a hub to connect passengers traveling between North America and Europe.

Both airlines also offer “free” stopovers in Iceland, where passengers can explore Iceland for up to a week without breaking the fare, which is a great opportunity, given how beautiful Iceland is. The airlines are not only at a geographical advantage with their hub, but also have a country that a lot of people are intrigued by.

Lately WOW Air’s growth has outpaced Icelandair’s, given that it’s a new airline and they’ve only started flying to North America in the past year and a half. So far they’ve announced flights to Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, San Francisco, and Toronto.

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Review: Icelandair Business Class 757 Reykjavik to Gothenburg

Saga Cabin

This flight is really interesting given its operating times. It takes off at 12:30am and lands at 5:15am, although the flight time is usually under two and a half hours. During summer, it can be light for the entire flight, which makes its “redeye” status somewhat confusing.

I had spent the entire evening relaxing in the touristy Blue Lagoon before stepping off the FlyBus at Keflavik Airport. The former US military base now has a beautiful terminal filled with natural lighting which complements the modern, northern design. The bus from the Blue Lagoon to the airport leaves every two hours in the evening. Hence, I was left choosing between the 9:00pm and 11:00pm shuttles for my 12:30am flight.

I decided not to risk missing my flight and took the 9:00pm bus, which got in around 9:30pm and gave me plenty time to enjoy the Saga Lounge.

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Review: Iceland Saga Class 757-200 Gothenburg To Reykjavik

Saga Class!

Icelandair has always intrigued me. They’re based in one of the most remote countries in the world, with only 320,000 inhabitants. Yet, in June 2016 over 440,000 passengers flew with the airline. When I found a cheap roundtrip fare from Gothenburg, where I live (but not for much longer), I couldn’t resist my urge to visit to Iceland.

I booked my tickets through Orbitz, where I found the offer. It’s always good to keep an eye out with Icelandair though, as I’ve sometimes stumbled across flights from Scandinavia from $120 roundtrip. In fact, my friends and I found a $300 economy roundtrip ticket from GOT to JFK in August, with two pieces of luggage included. Guess who’s going to New York soon? 😉

We booked these flights insanely early… six months early. It helped us have something to look forward to after our final exams, but little did we know that our school would schedule our senior prom at 7:00pm the night before we left for Iceland (go figure).

I woke up at 4am after leaving prom at around 1am. Luckily, Sweden in May is light 21 hours a day, so we woke up to daylight and before I knew it I was in the SAS lounge.

Everything spiraled downhill from there, because I realized I’d forgotten quite a few things at home (don’t go on vacation the morning after prom, kids).

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AWESOME: Icelandair Introduces Stopover Buddies

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This is one of the more creative “services” I’ve seen an airline introduce. On the surface it’s sort of creepy, though in reality it’s just plain awesome.

Icelandair’s business model is based largely around connecting passengers between the US and mainland Europe, via the airline’s hub in Reykjavik. One of the cooler aspects of flying with Icelandair is that they offer stopovers in Reykjavik, where you can stop enroute for up to seven days without increasing the cost of your ticket. It’s a smart feature, since it’s both a selling point for the airline and also gets people spending money in Iceland.

But the airline is taking hospitality on the ground to a new level, with the introduction of Icelandair’s stopover buddy. Through this program, you’ll be assigned an Icelandair employee who will show you around Iceland for a day, based on your interests. Here’s how the program is described:

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Are Alaska Airlines Awards On Icelandair A Good Deal?

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In September, Alaska and Icelandair announced that they were reinstating their partnership, which they had previously discontinued in June 2013. When the partnership was reinstated it was initially only reciprocal when it comes to earning miles, though a couple of weeks ago they finally added reciprocal mileage redemptions as well.

I was really excited about the partnership being reinstated. I had the chance to visit Iceland last summer and had an amazing time, and can hardly wait to return. It’s one of the most gorgeous places on earth, so anything which makes it easier to redeem miles to Iceland is a huge win, in my opinion.

There are a few things which make Mileage Plan redemptions on Icelandair unusual/special:

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Icelandair Awards Now Bookable Using Alaska Miles

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Earlier this fall Alaska announced a restoration of their partnership with Icelandair, with a codeshare and frequent flyer partnership agreement.

Alaska Mileage Plan members have been able to earn miles for travel on Icelandair as of October 1. 2015, though award redemptions weren’t immediately available.

While award charts haven’t been officially published yet, Icelandair awards are now bookable on the Alaska website!

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Earn Alaska Miles For Travel On Icelandair

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Icelandair has one of the more interesting business models out there, as they offer flights to 16 cities in North America, and over 20 cities in Europe.

The idea is that Iceland is a connecting point for travel between the US and Europe, and they intentionally schedule really short layovers so that you can minimize your overall travel time. Alternatively, you can even plan a free stopover in Iceland, which is brilliant, given that it’s a place a lot of people want to see.

The only issue is that Icelandair has historically lacked decent airline partners, so it has been tough to earn and redeem miles for travel on them. Icelandair partnered with Alaska Airlines until 2013, though that partnership was discontinued without an explanation.

Well, it seems the two airlines have missed one another, because Alaska and Icelandair have just announced a codeshare and frequent flyer partnership agreement, which will launch in the coming weeks.

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Icelandair Business Class (Saga Class) Review

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On Monday I flew Icelandair business class from Reykjavik to Frankfurt. Have you ever banged your head against a wall out of pure stupidity? Well, the way I ended up in Icelandair business class was a pure act of stupidity on my part, which I’ll explain in more detail with the full trip report. But yes, unfortunately I paid cash for an Icelandair business class ticket, because economy was sold out, and I totally screwed up the award ticket I had booked out of Iceland.

On the plus side, at least I get a (hopefully) unique review out of it.

I’ve always been fascinated by Icelandair. A large part of their business model consists of transporting passengers between the US and Europe via their Reykjavik hub, and one of their cool features is that they’ll let you do a free stopover in Iceland for up to seven days.

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