Thursday 21st October 2004
B757-200 TF-FIJ "Svandis"
Dep: 1115 (Actual: 1135)
Arr: 1310 (Actual: 1305)
Photo © Sigurdur Benediktsson
Photo © Kas van Zonneveld
After a 4 hour transfer via coach from a chilly Lancaster, we arrived at GLA to be treated to a tour of the airport by our coach driver. I was delighted to spot several ATPs, a BAC Express Shoebox and a DHC6, though I don't think the rest of my party (total of 25 6th form students and 5 staff) were quite as impressed. We disembarked at the coach stop once the driver worked out where he was going, and dragged our cases to check in. Check in was swift, though I noticed I wasn't asked the security questions. We were informed of a slight delay - not a major problem.
Once the group was checked in, we were released into the shopping area of Glasgow Airport - a large majority of us heading for breakfast at Burger King. I wandered round, and noticed a sole window looking over the apron used by easyJet and flyBE, where there were 2 DH-8s, and an ex-Go 737 parked. Being with friends I wasn't lingering (not that much was happening!), and we ended up wandering round until our meeting time. We then headed off to security, where a number of us were given the 'once over' - me included as I foolishly forgot to remove my (metal) watch! We wandered to gate 34, after being herded rapidly through the duty-free (anyone would thing we were untrustworthy...). Again I observed a few movements - G-BUSH and G-MIDA were both off to LHR, and a US B767 to Philadelphia. Also a delayed KLM F100 to AMS was due in. We were boarded at 1115, from the back forwards. Immediately some idiots in my group managed to screw the process up by sitting with friends - luckily we were in a block anyway, though it caused problems for the flight attendants nontheless. I took my seat and relaxed.
We pushed back and taxied to runway 23 where we performed a rolling takeoff - one of the fastest I have experienced, as we rotated adjacent to the control tower - using just half the runway. This was followed by an excellent climb, which really showed off the performance of the Boeing 757! The entertainment was started and was preceeded by a video explaining the service on board - essentially telling us what we would have got if we were in business class, before reminding us economy class passengers a meal will be served and soft drinks are complimentary.
There were 10 audio channels as well as a single video channel shown via large screens in the centre of the aisle. Most of the audio channels were focusing on Icelandic music, or classical/opera music, with only one 'modern' music channel, which was a little poor. I watched the movie instead, which was "My best friends wedding". Incredibly corny comedy, but it was something to do!
The meal was a ham and cheese croissant (they love ham and cheese orientated dishes in Iceland- especially for breakfast!) with a tub of water, 2 mini Toblerones and a couple of smints, plus a soft drink or tea/coffee. Not hugely exciting or filling, but then it was only a short flight, and was probably similar to what you might expect from any other short haul European airline. One thing I was impressed by was the flight attendants, who were very efficient, removing trays sooner rather than later - a habit many airlines don't have.
We descended with spectacular views over Iceland, areas we would be visiting shortly, primarily glacier and volcano orientated, as well as the Blue Lagoon. Touchdown was smooth, and we parked on stand 32. KEF was quiet at the time, with just one other FI 757 on the ground. We wandered to baggage reclaim, through the impressive Leifur Eiriksson terminal. the bags were through in about 15 minutes. We then left the terminal and found our coach for the week. Our first visit was to the Blue Lagoon, a superb attraction
Tuesday 26th October 2004
B757-200 TF-FIJ "Svandis"
Dep: 0720 (Actual: 0745)
Arr: 1025 (Actual: 1050)
Photo © Stian Svensen
Photo © Sigurdur Benediktsson
After an excellent 6 days in Iceland, visiting almost every geogrpahical site within the south-western regions, including glaciers, waterfalls and several other places I can't spell or pronounce ( ), as well as seeing the Northern Lights over Skaftafell (and not forgetting the HQ of Air Atlanta Icelandic in Reykjavik! :P ), it was time to leave. We were woken at 4am by the hotel reception, for what was described as a 'snack' breakfast - which was identical to any other breakfast we had, including one in the same hotel earlier that week. However there were a lot of people about at the time, presumably all off to KEF, so the hotel must have put on the full selection. Ham and Cheese again . We left the hotel at 5am, for the 40km drive to KEF.
We arrived at KEF at about 0545, and checked in. There was no queue for the checkin, despite there being 3 FI flights leaving at 0720. Sadly we were a little late, and so the majority of us were assigned middle seats, as there was no 'block' for us this time. I was assigned 22B but swapped for 22E so two friends could sit together. Shame the friend was an aisle as well! Again I noticed I wasn't asked the security questions at checkin.
Security was performed quickly, and this time I remebered to remove my watch. We wandered through and a number of us made the most of the duty free, though it was still fairly expensive as is Iceland as a whole. We all wandered to gate 32 taking the long walk through the terminal. Aircraft of note was an Iceland Express 737 off to STN, TF-FIX to LHR and a number of FI 752s, off to Europe (CPH, AMS, LHR and of course GLA). We went through passport control, again performed quickly, and Walked to gate 32 where our flight was being boarded. As I looked through the glass airbridge, I saw again our aircraft was to be TF-FIJ. Boarding took a while again as there was a nearly-full load on the flight, but we eventually pushed back late. We taxied to the runway (No idea which!), and took off in an easterly direction ahead of another 757. We overflew the Blue Lagoon again, and left Iceland. The mocking video clip was played again, before the entertainment was started. This time the shows were 'Friends', followed by Parkinson. Top Gear was also available to watch afterwards, but our flight was too short. I watched this whule eating breakfast - an omlette (Guess what it was filled with? ) with potato cube things, and a tub of orange juice and a coffee. Trays were again collected rapidly. We started our descent, and flew over a few of the Scottish Islands, before the captain extended the flaps, and lowered the gear - this he did prior to our ILS approach, which struck me as odd. We flew low over Glasgow, landing smoothly on runway 23, and again parked on gate 34. Debarkation was slow due to the volume of people, but we were off eventually - the few windows at GLA providing an excellent view of the baggage handlers abusing our bags by hurling them onto a truck - even some cardboard boxes, which came onto the baggage belt a little worse for wear. Baggage took about 20 minutes to arrive, before a long walk to our coach for a 4 hour drive home.
Overall I do rate Icelandair. Their staff were very professional, their aircraft clean and well presented, and the food was good, though perhaps a little more could be given out! I would maybe even choose them to fly to the US myself just to sample the Blue Lagoon, which is a superb stopover. The only factor stopping me is that they only fly from LHR or GLA - both being a little far away for me to drive compared to MAN.