A Pattern For International Growth? Delta Expands Iceland Flights

Not too long after Iceland decided it would scrap its entry restrictions for vaccinated travelers, airlines are starting to add flights to the island country. Delta Air Lines has announced an Iceland expansion, fueling the prospects of a summer surge in travel not just at home but even abroad. As Delta does this, it may seem like lifting restrictions for vaccinated travelers may be a boon for tourist destinations to get more services. It can provide some insight as to where airlines will be adding capacity.

Delta Boeing 757
Using Boeing 757s, Delta Air Lines is coming back to Iceland this summer. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Delta’s Iceland expansion

Delta Air Lines is returning to Iceland this May. The airline will connect three of its hub to Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport (KEF).

The first service to resume will be on May 1st, with daily flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Then, starting on May 20th, the airline will first reconnect Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to KEF. Finally, daily service from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) will start on May 27th.

Delta 757
Delta will use Boeing 757 aircraft on flights to Iceland and will operate all of its services in conjunction with its partners in Europe (Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic). Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The flights from Boston will depart daily at 22:25 and arrive in Iceland at 07:45 the next morning. The return service will depart KEF at 10:15 and arrive at 12:000 the same day in Boston. All times are local. Boston to Iceland is an entirely new service for Delta.

Out of JFK, Delta’s daily flights will depart at 22:15 and arrive at 08:05 the next morning. The return flight will depart at 11:15 and arrive at 13:15 the same day. All times are local.

Meanwhile, out of MSP, Delta will fly daily, with a departure time of 20:45 and an arrival time the next morning at 07:55. The return flight will leave Iceland at 09:30 and arrive at 11:000. All times are local.

Full schedules should be loaded in the coming weeks.

Delta Boeing 757
The Boeing 757 is a flexible aircraft, and its full flexibility is on view with these flights. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Joe Esposito, SVP of Network Planning at Delta, said the following in a statement:

“We know our customers are eager to safely get back out into the world, including exploring one of the globe’s most beautiful outdoor destinations. As confidence in travel rises, we hope more countries continue reopening to vaccinated travelers, which mean more opportunities to reconnect customers to the people and places that matter most.”

An interesting array of products

Delta is offering a very leisure-oriented array of products to Iceland this summer. Out of both Boston and Minneapolis, the airline will fly 193-seater Boeing 757-200 aircraft. Onboard, Delta will offer premium economy, extra-legroom economy, and standard economy.

Delta is using a domestic and short-haul international Boeing 757-200 jet on these flights. With recliner-style first class seating on them, these planes are not equipped with a proper international business class cabin, so Delta is not offering a business class on those flights. Instead, that cabin is sold as premium economy.

A Pattern For International Growth? Delta Expands Iceland Flights
Recliner-style first class on a Boeing 757. Photo: Jay Singh | Simple Flying

Meanwhile, New York-JFK is getting a premium cabin. This summer, JFK to KEF service will operate with one of Delta’s premium Boeing 757 aircraft. These 168-seat jets have a lie-flat Delta One business cabin onboard.

Delta One
The Delta One seats on a premium Boeing 757. Photo: Jay Singh | Simple Flying

Aside from New York, both Boston and Minneapolis are getting leisure-oriented aircraft serving the route. As Iceland is a large tourist-oriented market, it is fine for Delta not to offer a premium cabin on two of its flights to Iceland.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests!

A foundation for resuming international travel

As Iceland becomes the first destination in Europe to fully exempt vaccinated Americans from non-essential leisure travel restrictions, expect additional carriers to lay on flights to the country. United is the only other US airline expecting to serve Iceland this summer.

A mostly seasonal destination, Iceland is getting some renewed attention from US travelers. As most international destinations remained closed, the few that are open are bound to get some additional travelers.

A Pattern For International Growth? Delta Expands Iceland Flights
Delta is betting that leisure travelers will want to fly to Iceland, so it is upping services there. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

International travel demand is still a little weak. Even as some countries are open for international travel, not all passengers are willing to take a long-haul vacation right now.

Nevertheless, Delta has a better shot of getting more travelers to fill up its planes to Iceland than it does for other destinations,. So, instead of using those planes on a route they would have difficulty filling, it makes sense to at least make an effort to fly as many people to Iceland as it can. Delta will, however, face some stiff competition from Icelandair.

As more destinations open up, expect airlines to lay on new flights where they can. This is especially true for leisure destinations, as leisure travelers coming back much quicker and faster than premium business travelers.

Are you going to fly Delta Air Lines to Iceland this summer? Let us know in the comments!