Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX Saga Premium Class

Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX Saga Premium Class



4.5/5 Pros

  • Domestic First seats in European connections...
  • Great crew
  • Free Wifi, from boarding to unboarding Cons

  • ... but (of course) also for North American flights
  • Inflight entertainment

After I introduced you to the Boeing 757-200 Saga Premium Class, the premium product of Icelandair, in 2021, I felt it is time for an update. My Ring Road Trip in April and May 2023 gave me the opportunity to do so, as I we had two flights in their latest fleet addition, the Boeing 737 MAX. Briefly after the trip, I also had a trip from Keflavik (KEF) to Copenhagen (CPH) in that cabin. Here are my thoughts about our experience of the cabin, which is somewhat the business class of the Nordic airline.


Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX – The Fleet

Icelandair operates two different models of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9. The majority are MAX 8 aircrafts. I had the MAX 9 on our flights to and from Frankfurt and the MAX 8 for the Copenhagen leg. However, especially regarding the Premium Saga Class, they do not differ. Currently, Icelandair is having a total of 17 Boeing 737 MAX planes with another one still ordered. The total capacity of the plane is 160 (MAX 8) and 178 (MAX 9), both coming with four rows of Premium Saga Class in the front of the cabin. They majorly replace the 757-200 and 757-300 jets. In addition, Icelandair is having an order of thirteen Airbus A321XLR planes.


Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX – The Cabin

The first four rows of the Boeing are used for the Premium Saga Class. The seat as such has not changed too much compared to the Boeing 757-200 one. They are in line with the seats typically used for the North American Domestic First services. You just have a certain recline, not a lie flat option. However, the seats are quite comfy and wide, Even with my body size, they give a great level of comfort. By that, Icelandair is in my point of view the only European service, which is consistently offering a premium seat for European, non-domestic, upper class connections. To be very straight, though, Icelandair very rarely uses Dash planes for connections to Great Britain as well. The armrest is fixed, also holding the table for dining and working.

On the European services, pillows and water is provided. I like the little details of the seat, like the small retractable tray for drinks in front of the armrests. Furthermore, each Saga Premium Class seat comes with its own power socket. While you have nice storage in rows 2 to 4, the front row storage at the bulkhead felt a bit too limited to me. The ventilation and light was comfortable. Icelandair uses the new overhead lockers, which means you can tilt trolley suitcases in there for stage. The downside of that is that you more likely bang your head when you stand up. I am not sure whether this is a general MAX feature, but the swim wests are generally not under your seat, but in a compartment above your seat. Honestly, I can’t imagine that I would find one in darkness or smoke in case of an emergency. Thus, I don’t like that layout too much.

The Bathroom

In general, airplane lavatories tend to get smaller and smaller. The Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX one in the front is just fine, I would say. There are no special amenities or other perks for the premium customers.


Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX – Service

Even though the performance on the flight back to Frankfurt was a bit weaker, I generally love the Icelandair service. Having more drinks, snacks and water went very well, too. The crew overall was very friendly and charming. The front row entertainment screens are fixed on the bulkhead, the other screens in the seat in front of you. The hardware is fine and you receive noise cancelling headphones on demand. I like that there is a nice selection of Icelandic artists. Overall, however, the selection of movies and music is rather thin and cannot even compete with Lufthansa, who are not at their best in this discipline as well.

The WiFi in the Boeing 737 MAX is amazing. It is free for up to two devices per Premium Saga customer. Furthermore it works on the ground, during take-off and landing and in the air. The connection is really nice. I was absolutely impressed about this. As you saw in my eighth edition of Food I Had Onboard, you receive a lovely praline towards the end of the flight. Luggage is tagged with a premium label. I have to say that it is rather a mental appreciation for the passenger. Neither in Keflavik nor especially at your destination (in my case: Frankfurt), you should expect your suitcases being first on the luggage belt.

Of course, the Saga Premium Class offers you lounge access. At Keflavik Airport (KEF), you can visit the lovely Saga Lounge Keflavik. In Frankfurt, for example, they are contracted to the less lovely Air France / KLM Lounge.


Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX – My View

First of all, Icelandair stays the only airline with a reliable premium product for European connections. Unfortunately, you typically can only make use of it as a local for flights to and from Iceland. The hardware is nice (but maybe not ideal for the night flight from North America to Iceland). The crew is lovely. One of the key improvements is the amazing WiFi. Of course, I also mentioned some of the negative sides, like the not-really-working luggage priority or the selection available in inflght entertainment. However, I overall really loved to fly the Boeing 737 MAX and appreciate this upgrade.


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