Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Delta to begin service to Iceland in ‘16

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines will become the only U.S. airline to serve Iceland when it launches service to Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in early 2016.

Delta (NYSE:DAL) will launch service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) to KEF beginning with three weekly flights starting Feb. 11, 2016 and expanding the schedule to daily flights in May. The carrier will also launch daily seasonal service from its hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) starting May 26, 2016.

Delta flight departs SEA
With regard to the MSP flights, the new service is expected to benefit more segments of both areas’ economies than just tourism.

"New service from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Reykjavik will open up more opportunities not only for passengers, but also for cargo handlers that import and export fish and other commodities between the two countries," Bob Cortelyou, Delta's SVP of Network Planning, said in a statement announcing the new flights.

Reykjavik service will be operated in conjunction with Delta's joint venture partners Air France, KLM and Alitalia using a 199-seat Boeing (NYSE:BA) 757-200 aircraft. Flights will depart MSP at 9:52 p.m., arriving at KEF at 9 a.m. the following day. Westbound flights will leave Iceland at 8:30 a.m., arriving at MSP at 10 a.m.

Reykjavik will be the fifth European destination Delta will serve from MSP. Delta recently announced service from MSP to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) in addition to its flights to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS), London and Paris (CGD), in addition to Japan’s Tokyo-Narita Airport (NRT).

Delta’s aircraft offers 20 seats in the premium cabin as well as 29 in Delta Comfort+ and 150 in Main Cabin. According to SeatGuru.com, Delta’s economy seats offer between 30 and 32 inches of pitch while Comfort+ seats offer 34 inches. In both areas, seats are 17.2 inches wide. For comparison, IcelandAir operates 757-300 aircraft on the same route. Its standard economy seats offers 32 inches of pitch and are 17.2 inches wide but its expanded economy seats offer 33 inches of pitch and are 19 inches wide.

Interestingly, fares for both carriers’ flights are within pennies of each other. A sample round trip leaving MSP on May 28 and returning June 4 is about US$655 in economy and $1,953 in Business class on either airline. However, IcelandAir also offers free stop-overs in Reykjavik on trips to or from the European continent or the U.K., while Delta does not.

Further, because IcelandAir is a European carrier, passengers on IcelandAir enjoy the protection of EU 261, a European law that provides specific protections for travelers whose flights are delayed or cancelled no matter the airport from which the flight is departing. Because it is an American carrier, passengers on Delta flights are only covered by that law when their flights are leaving European airports; the protections do not extend to U.S. carriers’ flights bound for Europe.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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