Delta to start service to Iceland!

I know this is fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but I’m kind of excited about this. Delta has announced service to Iceland starting next June, operated once daily out of JFK with 757s. The schedule for the flights will be as follows:

Delta 52 JFK-KEF departing 11:35PM arriving 9:20AM+1
Delta 51 KEF-JFK departing 10:50AM and arriving 12:55PM

Why am I excited? Well, I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland, but the thought of flying Icelandair and not earning miles (or getting any sort of benefits) pains me. And their business class product is more like domestic first class too. While they are now partners with Alaska, the partnership likely won’t be that lucrative on either the earning or burning side.

So I’m really looking forward to this! The next thing I’ll be using my Delta miles for is a business class ticket to Iceland for a few days, even if it’s not a great use of miles.

But on a related note, I do have one question. How can it be profitable to operate a once daily 757 service to Keflavik, where I can’t imagine there’s all that much paid premium traffic? There are substantial fixed costs, I would have to imagine, even if most of the work is contracted out for the Keflavik ground services. I’m not sure if this is just more of a “prestige” route for Delta to further be the world’s “global airline,” though I can’t imagine they could operate a flight for “prestige” in this economic environment. And Iceland in winter? I can’t imagine there is much tourist traffic that time of year…

Filed Under: Delta
  1. We’re definitely still waiting to see how the partnership with Icelandair works out in the terms of earning and redeeming miles. From what I’ve heard, their own FF program is less than desirable.

  2. I’m not sure that Icelandair has any competition on flights to KEF from North America so it might just work. If I were going to KEF though I’d rather take DL also.

  3. Ben,

    Iceland is AMAZING! We flew there a couple years ago when they had a direct from BWI. Rented a car and drove the Ring Rd. and circled the country over a week. It is spectacular (but still cold in may).

  4. I could have seen this when Iceland had a banking industry. Does seem rather odd post-financial crisis.

    On the other hand, there’s not a ton of competition.

    But the whole country has, what, 300k people? Delta won’t be picking up much traffic from the Iceland side of the equation. Then again, they do get all US government business by default (Fly America Act). And it’s a pretty efficient use of an aircraft, it doesn’t kill a whole plane just for the route.

    Interesting move but I remain skeptical, there must be some contracts or promises of business in place that warrant this otherwise hard to see them starting daily.

  5. i disagree with you GARY, DL will be picking up much traffic from the iceland side that’s why they will start the service.


  6. @Josh care to share a bit of the analysis here? The Iceland side has 300k people in the whole country, and Icelandair offers daily service to JFK. What edge does Delta have with those passengers used to flying their home carrier?

  7. Caution… Iceland is very expensive. In 2003(?), there was a fare error to Iceland. Lots of Flyertalkers jumped on it. They found out the hard way how expensive it was. SUPER expensive. Do your research.

  8. Lucky,

    I visited Iceland in the winter 2003 and had a blast. It is expensive, but I thought it was totally worth it. The outdoor hot springs are awesome when it’s 35 degrees outside. Snow mobiling on a glacier at sunrise around 10AM. Beautiful countryside. Even more beautiful people.


  9. Correction – Iceland was expensive. Their currency has devalued to 1/3-1/2 what it was pre-crash days. On a per day basis it was significantly cheaper than the San Francisco and Belize trips I did in the same 2 month window, even though both of those were free awards flights.

    Winter temps don’t actually get that bad. Pretty comparable to NYC, although must windier. Lack of daylight is a much bigger issue.

  10. iceland is very nice but Icelandair is nothing special even in saga class .
    my wife chose the one place to go that I couldn’t use miles for back in 2007
    And Iceland Express was not convenient from where I live so I got some icelandair points and exchanged them moon which was better than nothing.

    glad to see Dl give it a shot but would have preferred * 1alliance

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