Canadiantree From France, joined Jun 2006, 146 posts, RR: 0 Posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 20841 times:
Hi all. This is my first trip report, and subsequent first opening post on airliners.net. Long time viewer, I decided to take the plunge and join all you aviation buffs in this wonderful wealth of information that airliners.net constitutes for all of us.
I moved to Vancouver BC last year in November in hopes to land a job with Air Canada, that didn't happen and I struggled to find a decent career path in the region, so I decided to take a break and return home to Paris for the holidays. I first considered Air Transat as a cheap alternative but that plan fell through for 2 reasons, A. The last flight out was in early October and B. Baggage limitations. Then I came across Icelandair and their new route launch to Sea-Tac Airport from Keflavik.appeared quite attractive as Keflavik really wasn't out of the way to get to CDG... So I looked at fares and I came across a bargain fare on a famous travel site and booked a one way ticket for $370... I felt that wasn't bad considering the likes of Air Canada and Air France were asking well over $1,000... So there I was booked for November 29th from SEA to CDG via KEF.
I was alittle nervous about being at the airport early because of RoseFlyers former report on the service, so I got to the airport 2:15 before scheduled departure. There was absolutely noone in line and so I proceeded to a smiling outsourced American agent who helped me with my bags and boarding passes. She was extremely friendly and the Icelandic agent standing next to her on the other booth seemed pretty friendly as well. The Icelandair check-in counter at Sea-Tac is located at door number 7 on the departures level.
I had been able to preselect my seats on the travel agent's website and so I didn't have to worry about risking not getting a window seat. After dropping off my bags I proceeded to security which took about 5 minutes and then took the underground train to Gate S1 in the South Terminal.
The terminal was relatively empty. The only aircraft docked were a Boeing 757-300 from Delta going to Minneapolis, and our Icelandair 757-200 going to Keflavik. Here are a few pictures:
Delta 753 going to MSP
Boarding will take place via door L2. I still find it amazing that such a small plane has so many exits, compared to a 762 for instance... Or an A310
Delta Airbus 330-300 chilling by the south end of the airport
Jetblue ERJ-190 parked gate A10
Icelandair flight 680
SEA - KEF
Scheduled departure: 3:30 PM PST
Actual departure: 3:14 PM
Actual takeoff time: 3:25 PM
Distance: 3,617 miles
Scheduled arrival: 06:45 AM UTC
Actual touch down: 06:19 AM
Arrival at gate: 06:26 AM
Total flight time: 06:54
I booked the emergency exit row for this flight knowing there was not going to be much action outside in the dark, and hoping the extra legroom would make it easier to sleep... Well the extra legroom was superb! See for yourself in the following pics, I would say easily 38" seat pitch.
Shot of the whole 17th row
Plenty of room to spare
We taxied to the north for takeoff on Runway 16L
Nice retro scheme for Alaska Airlines! 737-800 I believe?
The takeoff was smooth and medium length I would say. Payload was rather light, my guess? Around 75% maybe. I saw few middle seats occupied.
The In Flight Entertainment on board Icelandair is definitely one of the highlights of the experience. In the exit row the screen pulls out of under your seat. The flight attendant came and pulled out one TV for me and my neighbour in the aisle seat with a smile (the middle seat was not occupied to our great satisfaction). She came back later to stow it, again with a smile. They also came by to ask us if we had read the emergency exit procedures, this time with a more serious attitude, you could tell they were very keen on getting things done in an efficient manner.
Here are some shots of the wonderful IFE which I had on airshow whenever I wasn't watching a movie. I would say the screen is at least 7 inches wide, maybe 8?
Interesting sunset under the clouds
Just can't get enough of them winglets, the 757 truly shines in the Icelandair livery
As we settled in for the flight, the FA's came by with some drinks and asked if we wanted to buy something from the menu. I had eaten a quick bite back in the South Terminal of SEA so I politely declined and asked if I could possibly request to buy soething alittle later in the flight. The FA smiled and said "of course". I thought that was cool.
Same complaint from previous Icelandair reports however, the drink service needs to be increased. They came around twice. Once 45 minutes after takeoff and an hour before landing.
I watched a movie called Shallow Hal during the first half of the flight, with Jack Black... Kind of a weird movie but entertaining I guess...
More shots of the IFE
Then I watched a second movie called "The Proposal" with Sandra Bullock. Very good movie! I highly recommend it.
Before I knew it, it was time to land in KEF, pitch black outside obviously, the flight really flew by. I tried to sleep but to my great surprise, the exit row was MCUH colder than I thougt. I came prepared (so I believed) with a thick Canadian sweater and jeans and I wrapped my feet in the blanket they provided... But my feet were FREEZING the whole time... So next time I know to wear several layers of socks and pants if I want to truly enjoy the exit row...:-P
It was snowy in Iceland but the sky was pretty clear, -2 Celcius.
The Keflavik airport is pretty small and yet efficient. As we deplaned we had to go through security immediately before passport control. The whole process from deplaning to entering the Schengen area took less than 15 minutes. I was able to relax and grab some breakfast. Food is pretty cheap there. For like 11 euros I got a bottle of water, a large cup of delicious hot cocoa, a ham panini, a ham and cheese croissant and a chocolate croissant... I wasn't able to eat everything so I saved some for the next flight to Paris.
The restrooms in KEF were OK... I've always felt that European restrooms lacked in comparison to north American airports but that could be a personal opinion. Also there were wifi networks available but none that I could successfully connect to. So I didn't really bother as my next flight left within the hour anyway.
Here are some pictures of inside the terminal:
Before entering the Schengen area
My ride to Paris:
That's all foks. I will try to post the flight to Paris tomorrow. The Seattle-Keflavik leg was definitely the best one. Overall I give Icelandair an 8 out of 10 for quality of service to price ratio. There really isn't anything I would do different except for free meals and more beverage services! I did fill out their questionnaire for improvement.
Would I recommend Icelandair to anyone? Definitely yes
Would I fly them again? In a heart beat
The mid Atlantic break is welcomed in my opinion and is a fun and interesting way to fly across the ocean. More to come!
NewYorkCityBoi From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 20323 times:
Nice report!, it's funny for people like us, you live in Vancouver and fly out of Seattle, I live in Seattle and drive all the way there to fly out of YVR... just to try sth new! Looking forward to see the flight to Paris, the light will come up by then?
I did but to be honest I'm way too much of a people person to go vacationing alone... Although it would've been nice, I hear nothing but amazing stories from friends I know that have gone to Iceland.
I agree, they should offer free meals.... However, when I really think about... I almost liked it better this way cuz that way I got to eat fresh food at KEF... But then again I could've had both... I was going to buy a meal on board for 9 euros but my burger and fries from SEA kept me going til we arrived :-P
Wow, really? You do realize that the reason us Canucks travel out of SEA is because it's like 2 to 3 times cheaper, especially for destinations like LAX, LAS or SFO... I'll never understand why the taxes are so high on transborder routes from Canada...
And yes it will light up on the second flight... Later than I had expected though!
NewYorkCityBoi From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 19337 times:
Can not wait to see the second flight to Paris,
and yes, the flight from Seattle to somewhere in the US is WAY cheaper than from Vancouver... (same argument for Boston vs Montreal etc.)
I just did this trip to NYC (by driving up to YVR) and paid much more just to experience it but I will do it again only when I use my AA miles to redeem the ticket on because it is the same miles use to redeem SEA-JFK vs YVR-JFK but the service on CX is way better than American carrier,... well and only when I find something to do a little bit in Vancouver before flying. Here is my trip report:
Vancouver is a neat city, and YVR definitely my favorite airport in Canada with YYC. I'm like you though, I like flying out of SEA cuz I usually never do...
You're lucky to be living in Seattle, if I had resident status, I would totally apply at the Port of Seattle or Alaska Airlines.... Seattle is by far my favorite city in the US... But I've never been to NYC... So who knows... I just love the topography... Mountains and water... Where else do you get that (At least in the US)
Thanks again, I will post the KEF-CDG leg later today.
EL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1443 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 19130 times:
Thx for this report, very nice.
It seems like you had a nice flight due to the extra leg room and the empty middle seat, which is always nice, but not due to the airline service - 1 drink service, no (free) meal and narrow jet for 7 hours flight doesn't seem very nice.
Visit to Iceland is always nice, even if just change planes at the airport.
"In Israel, on order to be a realist, one's must believe in miracles" - David Ben Gurion.
Canadiantree From France, joined Jun 2006, 146 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 19079 times:
EL-AL thanks for the comments
Actually this was my first time flying a narrow body on a 7 hour flight... It really wasn't bad at all, in fact it didn't feel any different than flying an Airbus 330 or a 777... I kind of liked it. But you're right I may have been biased by the luck of the draw... No middle seat occupied and extra legroom... However my flight to Paris has a different story and I still liked it very much... Flight was smooth and the FA's I thought were very nice, although a tad bit serious... But that's the Icelandic way and we can't expect them to bend over to our North American way of being, I love experiencing new cultures and I would recommend Icelandair even if I had been on a regular seat next to a stranger
Also the drink service was available through the FA call button, my neighbour used it and got a drink within 5 minutes... The no free meal deal is unanimously unacceptable I agree.
From looking at the menu I know for a fact there is one hot meal option for 9 Euros which is chicken breast with mashed potatoes and a salad plus some sort of dessert... I'll have to take a look at the menu again but yeah most options are cold except for that one....
Oh and personally I'd prefer paying 9 euros for a meal than $50 to check a second bag on international routes such as the likes of Delta/NWA nowadays... But yeah both free would be nice. Icelandair's checked bag policy is quite generous I find....
Eaa3 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1080 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 18732 times:
Quoting JFKMan (Reply 13):
Not to me. I don't find BOB acceptable often to be honest. I understand it, sure. But as I said BOB on a 7hr flight is not acceptable at all to me.
I do agree with you though that it is a shame that meals have disappeared from flights in general.
In the case of Icelandair they did a large survey and found out that people cared much less about complementary food than they thought. On the other hand people cared a lot about IFE. I have a feeling that it´s hard to miss something though until you don´t have it. So people underestimated the importance of complementary food.
I have a feeling however that they will give up and return with complemtary food, given all the complaints about it.
Canadiantree From France, joined Jun 2006, 146 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 18684 times:
Yes Icelandair's IFE is top notch in my opinion, it did not freeze once. The Airshow has so many different options too which is great and there was a total of 11 films to choose from alongside many TV shows, documentaries and much music also...
I never got to take a look at the Saga class... Kinda wish I had.
BA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8694 posts, RR: 54
Reply 19, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 18466 times:
Nice report & pictures, thanks for posting.
Quoting Canadiantree (Thread starter): the drink service needs to be increased. They came around twice. Once 45 minutes after takeoff and an hour before landing.
- That seems quite poor, it's not a short flight!
I still think providing BOB on flights of this length is not really acceptable, however if people use FI and know what they get, well I guess it shows food is not at the top of their requiremments, most likley it will be price driven.
Quoting Canadiantree (Thread starter): The restrooms in KEF were OK... I've always felt that European restrooms lacked in comparison to north American airports but that could be a personal opinion.
- Not sure I 'd agree, most of the restrooms at US airports are just as basic as european ones.
Quoting JFKMan (Reply 11): I would love to try Icelandair. I just can't believe they have BOB on a 7hr flight. That is not good!
Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 16): I do agree with you though that it is a shame that meals have disappeared from flights in general.
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 19): I still think providing BOB on flights of this length is not really acceptable,
I find all of these comments interesting when:
Quoting Canadiantree (Thread starter): So I looked at fares and I came across a bargain fare on a famous travel site and booked a one way ticket for $370... I felt that wasn't bad considering the likes of Air Canada and Air France were asking well over $1,000
I guess it is all a matter of when you wish to pay for your meal. With your ticket, or on board! Great trip report though, I too have had pleasant flights on Icelandair.
Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night