Loyal readers will recall our 2017 review of Saga Premium (which, at the the time, was called Saga Class) on Icelandair’s venerable 757-200s.
Since then, Icelandair has added several Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets to their fleet (they ordered a total of 16 of the MAX in both the -8 and -9 variants), using them on routes to U.S. destinations on the east coast and upper midwest, along with several European routes.
I flew SEA-KEF on a 757, then returned via Chicago on a 737 MAX 8, as Seattle is, unfortunately, beyond the working range of the MAX 8.
So, two years on, what was it like to fly Saga? Candidly, I was a fan of the last trip, so the memory still felt fairly fresh. My outbound flight was on TF-FIR, aka Vatnajökull, aka 80 years of Aviation, aka the glacier livery.
This AvGeek was stoked at the opportunity to fly on Vatnajökull, even though it was parked at a corner gate between two diagonal jetways at SEA, making photos pretty much impossible that day. IMHO, it’s the one of prettiest planes in the sky today, tied for that honor with Icelandair’s Hekla Aurora livery on TF-FIU.
The outbound flight from SEA to KEF was as good as the last time – I was in seat 1A for this flight, which is in a bulkhead row. The seats themselves are the same as we reviewed in 2017. They feel even more dated now, especially when compared to contemporary options even on some domestic US carriers, but they’re still very comfortable and offer a generous amount of recline.
Note: We flew OneJet Plus and wrote this piece right before the airline abruptly went belly up. Their “indefinite operational hold” provided no warning to customers, on-ground employees, or airports. The airline’s end stranded travelers across their network, including at least one flyer in Kansas City who had to make last-minute, costly alternate arrangements via a different airline. While we’ve consistently found ourselves to be quite fond of the unique OneJet product, the best service is always the one you can rely on.
That said, we’ve decided to move forward with this piece because OneJet’s product was excellent, and it leaves a void. Here’s hoping another cheeky upstart will step forward to fill the gap in service between mid-sized cities. So without further adieu, a flight review for a defunct airline.
OneJet Plus Review- Circa mid-2018:
Raise your hand if you get excited at the prospect of flying on an E-145. Yeah, Ok. Non-starter for most folks. I completely understand. Just the mention of an ERJ throws me back to a grim period in my own life where I was flying 145s far too often via the Continental brand. For many, the ERJ conjures up bad memories. But what if I told you the spunky little airline upstart OneJet was doing their damndest to make lemonade out of these otherwise sour planes?
Remember OneJet? We flew on them in 2015 and were among the first outlets to offer up a review. Don’t care to read the old article? No problem. In a sentence: It was love at first flight. When I first heard the company planned to offer a net-new ERJ product alongside their established, plush, and well-received Hawker 400s, I was solidly skeptical. If the Hawker 400 is a Mercedes, then the ERJ is an AMC Gremlin.
An Air Canada 777-300ER being prepared for a transcontinental flight from Vancouver to Toronto
Earlier this summer, we had the opportunity to try out Air Canada’s new Signature Class cabin and lounge experiences.
Launched in June, the service is aimed squarely at the business/first class traveler, and competes quite readily with existing offerings by its North American mainline-carrier rivals.
Domestic Signature service is offered on flights between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver to Toronto; daily flights between Montreal and New York-Newark to Vancouver; between Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto; and between Toronto and Honolulu. Internationally, it’s offered on all Air Canada flights serviced using Boeing 767, 777, and 787, as well as Airbus A330 aircraft.
The routing for my flights were SEA-YVR-YYZ-SEA. The hop from Seattle to Vancouver was in standard coach class on a venerable Bombardier Q400.
My 747-400 Awaiting Departure in Seattle – Photo: Colin Cook
In late 2016, my girlfriend Molly and I began planning a 2017 trip to Europe, with the goal of using points and miles to fly in a premium cabin. After considerable research, we ended up flying on a British Airways 747-400 to London, and on a Virgin Atlantic 787-9 home. This first post will review our British Airways first class experience, and the second will review the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (business class) product.
One of the items on my AvGeek bucket list has been to fly international first class. I’ve had some wonderful experiences flying international business class (Air Canada 767, Lufthansa 747-8, and British Airways 777-300ER), but I’ve never had the chance for the best of the best. That all changed with this trip. I was already excited to be flying in first class, but I also unlocked another AvGeek desire: I was able to make the coveted “left turn” upon boarding the aircraft. When I have flown in a premium cabin previously, I have always boarded from the front left door. Sure, sure, there are benefits to both, but if you’re a passionate flyer, you can probably understand my excitement.