The first day of the new Leonard Does Europe trip consisted of driving to The Doubletree Hotel Dulles Airport-Sterling, where I’d prepaid to park for two weeks via book2park.com. Not a bad deal at around $6/day. A shuttle took us from the hotel to IAD, where we waited for our flights to Copenhagen in style in the Air France lounge (Air France shares the lounge with Icelandair and a few other airlines).
For our outbound flights I’d booked Icelandair’s Economy Comfort class, which offers a lot of the benefits of Saga Class, but at a lower cost. You still get priority check-in, priority security screening, access to the lounge, priority boarding, and all you can eat and drink on the flight. The main difference is that you’re still in regular Coach/Economy seats, although you do have extra room due to them reserving the middle seat in the 3-seat middle rows, and the end seat in the 2-seat side rows.
The other difference is that you don’t get the same food or booze as in Saga Class (cheaper snack-type food instead of full hot meals, and no champagne), and they don’t wait on you hand and foot. If you want something you have to get up and track someone down and ask for it. We ended up getting 2 beers at a time once we figured this out.
I know this sounds snobby, but I think Saga Class is worth the price. I enjoy the pampering, especially on the first and last days of my vacation. Outbound, it eases me into relaxation mode, and on the way home it makes me feel better about spending the last day of my trip on a plane. Also, despite the extra room, the Economy Comfort seats weren’t really any more comfortable than regular Economy, especially for 11 hours of flying.
I’d only recommend Economy Comfort over Saga Class if you can hack the system like we did for the second leg of our trip: if you book early enough, and are on the right kind of plane, and if Saga Class hasn’t sold out, you might get lucky and be able to book the large Saga Class seats at Economy Comfort prices. You won’t receive the same service, food, or drinks as you do in Saga Class, but the bigger seats definitely make it worth the extra cost over Economy. Otherwise, I’d recommend splurging to upgrade to Saga Class.
Leonard Kinsey is the owner of Bamboo Forest Publishing, and the
bestselling author of “The Dark Side of Disney”, the Anarchist Cookbook of Disney travel guides. He’s lived in Baltimore for over 15 years, and enjoys drinking craft beer in unique places, eating nachos and pizza, listening to 80s hair metal, and arguing about Star Trek minutia, often all at the same time. Watch out ladies!