abrelosojos
Posts: 4050
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:46 pm

Feedback always appreciated.

Trip Report: 083
Flight Category: J-ILR (See Report End)
Date: 22 Aug-09 (See Report End)
SDT/SAT/Dur/Delay: 1700/1830/05:30 hrs (Delayed – 00:30)
Flight: Icelandair FI 631, 2413 miles
Routing: KEF-BOS
Aircraft: 75W
Seat: Business “Saga” Class, 6F

I > Background:
I had never been to Iceland, or flown Icelandair – and since FI was the cheapest way of getting me from LHR to BOS in J class, decided to cross both items from the list at one go.

Given that most A.Net members are from Europe or the U.S., the dearth of Icelandair reports is surprising. A quick search tells me that this will be one of the few FI reports; the first on FI’s “Saga” Business class product; and, the first on the KEF-BOS routing.

PS: After I started writing this, I noticed a new excellent report from RoseFlyer on the new SEA-KEF link that can be accessed at Icelandair Seattle-Keflavik Brand New Service-PICs (by RoseFlyer Oct 19 2009 in Trip Reports).

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
Icelandair is the flag carrier airline of Iceland, based in Reykjavík. It is part of the Icelandair Group and operates services to 25 cities in 12 countries on both sides of the Atlantic. Its main base is Keflavík International Airport.

Icelandair’s website (www.icelandair.com) has undergone several changes and now is an efficient booking engine. I was quickly able to select my flights, make seat selections, and then purchase the flights. Within minutes, a freshly minted e-ticket was delivered to my e-inbox. Enhancing the website was features that allowed viewing and modifying reservations, and the ability to modify seat selection.

b) At Airport:
Located 50kms from Reykjavik, Keflavik International is currently the only international gateway to Iceland. It is an extremely laid back place and I was surprised to find how eerily empty the whole terminal was. As many are aware, Iceland’s economy is in the pits and the nation owes tremendous sums of money to England, Netherlands, and is on an emergency bailout loan from the IMF. The currency has crumbled and 30% of all households are bankrupt. Worse, recent surveys put as much as over 50% of the youth seeking to migrate out. All this was very evident at the airport as Iceland originating air traffic seem to have collapsed. Moreover, the depressing air permeates throughout the country and I remain convinced that almost every person I met was bitter, cynical, and needed some time in Latin America or Asia!

When I arrived 2 hours 30 minutes prior, all the check-in counters were closed. They opened soon thereafter and I was quickly checked in by an efficient (but, unfriendly) check-in agent. Somehow my pre-assigned seat had already been allocated (hmmm…), and I was given the last row of the J class cabin. After a quick security, I went to the equally quiet Saga Lounge where I was the only passenger for most of the time. The lounge is super-Ikea like and features a decent spread, wifi access, and some computer terminals. What I liked about the lounge was the art work, and the random photos from Icelandair’s history.

An hour prior to departure, I went through the rather rude immigration officers (they were also rude on arrival) quickly into the departure hold where many disoriented travelers walked around waiting for their onward connection to the U.S. and Canada.

Boarding was called 45 minutes prior and a scattered mess. KEF was more a sub-Saharan African country than a supposedly “well-off” country in Europe. There were 4 random lines with no enforcement of class or seating area. Worse, the mad rush meant that pushback ended up being 30 minutes delayed. It should NOT take 75 minutes to load a half empty 757! Entering the 75W, I was amazed at how little the crew did throughout the process. No pre-drinks offered and I was just grateful that they came and took my coat. J load of 50%; Y load was 55%.

Airport - External:

(Reykjavik Airport)


Check-in:

(Check-in)


(Y Counters)


Airport - Internal:

(Internal)


(FIDS – deserted look of KEF)


(Post Security @ KEF)


(Where are all the passengers?)


Scenes of the tarmac:

(It will be interesting to see the effect of Iceland Express on Icelandair … especially with the former announcing EWR)


Lounge

(Saga Lounge)
.

(Again, where are the passengers? KEF felt haunted!)




(Nice touch)




(Um, what is this painting trying to convey?)


Boarding:

(The start of chaos)


III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
Amenity kits are at the seat upon arriving. Post take-off, menus are distributed followed by a towel service. Then, it is drinks and a dinner service. Nothing more.

b) Aircraft + Seats:
Icelandair’s 752 are comparable with the domestic First class cabin of major U.S. carriers. They have a distinctly soulless interior that is thankfully kept clean. While the leather seats are comfortable, the terrible pitch would make me think twice of taking this flight as a red-eye. Seat recline is average and slightly above U.S. domestic First class. Besides a slightly enhanced experience, I really did not find value in buying these J class seats over their Premium Economy offering … which is interesting. In most flights, it is a regular curtain (like Euro J) where they block the middle seat. However, if Y is sold well, Y+ becomes the J cabin without the meal and drink service!

Aircraft:

(757-200 with winglets = 75W; taken at LHR)


Views from Aircraft:

(Rainy KEF)


General Seat Views + Seat Legroom





Seat Recline + Angle View:





Cabin:





(Bathroom Amenities)


(Bathroom reading)



c) Meal + Beverage:

I was surprised that no drinks were offered prior to take-off in a trans-Atlantic J class product. Post-take off, a variety of drink options included Icelandic beer and a decent collection of liquor. Dinner service was a joke … especially because their in-flight magazine touts that you are supposed to be offered 3 meal options. The menu even said so! However, my interaction with the dour crew went something like this:

Me: “May I please have the Icelandic Chicken?”
FA: “Sorry. We do not have this.”
Me: “Has it already been taken?”
FA: “No. We do not have this.”
Me: “Ok” (I reach out to the seat pocket to grab the menu)
FA: “You eat fish.”
Me: “Let me check what it comes with.”
FA: “You eat fish.”
Me: “Ma’am. I understand I have NO option. However, I still would like to see what fish comes with.”
FA: “OK.”

Haha. The service reminded me of what I had received on the trans-Siberian express … and to be fair, the babushka’s there at least warm up to you midway through the trek! Completely unacceptable that in J class, there would be no meal options, no apologies, and rude staff … especially given half the flight was empty!

The meal itself was unappetizing. A piece of salmon thrown in a buttery broth with mashed potatoes and a side of other potatoes. I have had better Economy class meals on many carriers. The salad was also very Economy class … and what is up with the excessive potatoes in EVERY entrée?!

(Post take-off drink)


(Dinner)


(Café after requesting three times)


(Cute napkin – the highlight of the flight?)


d) Inflight Entertainment:
Icelandair’s recently updated AVOD came with basic noise-cancelling headsets. While there were some interesting things (like FI’s history, etc.), the actual movie options were rather limited at just 10 movies. Why have so few options is beyond me? Worse, midway through the flight, the IFE system froze and the crew were unable to get the system to reboot. Again, no apologies whatsoever. Finally, I thought FI had a much-touted in-flight magazine. I did not see one … there was a Saga shop magazine which doubled up to provide information about the airline … but where was the actual in-flight magazine? .

(AVOD)








(FI Story)









(Cool moving map)




(Headset)


(Now, how does one play video games when there are no controls? The crew had no idea)


(However, as I begin watching the movie, this happens … and does not get fixed)


(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)


(What is wrong with this picture from their latest in-flight magazine?)


e) Crew:
In my experience, several poor product issues have been solved by a good set of crew who went beyond their duty to make the passenger experience less horrid. I wish I could say the same for the Icelandair crew. They were charmless humans who should really be released from the apparent utter slavery of being a flight attendant! I barely saw them as they were content with gossiping with fellow crew members and other non-revenue passengers. This time would have been better spent facing the customer during the boarding process … or perhaps doing a water-run, or a second beverage service? Or, perhaps they could have been a little nicer during the meal service … and would an apology for not having ANY meal choices or the IFE conking out been beyond them in the J cabin? One would have thought that with the lack of jobs in Iceland, these crew would be more motivated to maintain theirs and/or provide a welcoming image to the country.

A final “rant”. The entire service in J seemed to centre around a pair of ladies seated in 2A/2B. They were apparently known to the crew members and the co-pilot. They somehow got the entire meal service … and prior to landing at BOS, disappeared to the cockpit to apparently jump seat in. Now, perhaps they were flight crew themselves (highly doubt it from their behavior), but is it even legal to do so on flights arriving into the U.S.? Even more amusing was that just after touchdown, during taxi, they walked out of the cockpit and back to their seats.

Overall, probably, one of the worst recent group of crew members I have encountered in ANY cabin!

IV> Post-Flight:
Landing at BOS was remarkably smooth, and it continues to be my favorite U.S. airport to clear immigration. The entire process took 6 minutes … though unloading of bags (the one time I check-in) took forever … and there seemed to be no special handling of my “priority” bag into container 1.

NONE

V> Impressions + Scores:
Icelandair is a mediocre airline that should stop pretending to be a niche carrier. To be fair, it provides a rather unique way of traveling between U.S. and Europe and should be considered for price and for seeing Iceland. Beyond that, there are few redeeming features about the airline. The personnel at all levels are just rude and uninterested at their jobs; the IFE fails; the seats are cramped; and the meal service leaves much to be desired. Personally, I just do not see the value of their J class. Even when priced significantly below the other carriers, it is still a poor experience. You can find an Aer Lingus ticket for the same money … and even if the crews and meals also suck, you can at least expect (usually) a lie-flat seat.

I probably would never fly them again … irrespective of how much I was saving. Two thumps way down.



VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.54: Turkish Airlines (77): GRU-DKR-IST: 04/2009
8.30: Jet Airways (74): KWI-BOM: 04/2009
8.23: United Airlines (72): SFO-SYD: 03/2009
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.05: Air India (80): CCU-JFK: 06/2009
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.23: Virgin Atlantic (81): BOS-LHR: 07/2009
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
7.11: Austrian (79): VIE-JFK: 06/2009
7.02: Qatar (68): DOH-JFK: 01/2009
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.84: ConViasa (65): CCS-DAM: 01/2009
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
6.00: Gulf Air (75): BOM-BAH: 04/2009
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.46: Icelandair (83): KEF-BOS: 08/2009
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
5.21: Egypt Air (73): CAI-IST: 02/2009
5.07: TACA (66): JFK-SAP: 01/2009
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan (62): KWI-CMB: 12/2008
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008 6.41: Avianca (78): JFK-BOG: 05/2009
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.85: Spanair (69): MAD-LPA: 02/2009
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007
5.19: Air Europa (70): LPA-MAD: 02/2009
5.16: Iberia (71): MAD-BOS: 02/2009
5.11: Air China (82): FRA-PEK: 08/2009

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.56: Kingfisher (64): HYD-CCU: 12/2008
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.63: Jazeera (67): DAM-KWI: 01/2009
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.48: Air India Express (63): CMB-MAA: 12/2008
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.11: Aero Republica (76): BOG-CCS: 04/2009
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:

(Relatively nice amenity kit)
Live, and let live.
 
akhmad
Posts: 2498
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:23 pm

Hi A.,

I was quite shocked reading the treatment you got in what's supposed to be a premium cabin. Totally outrageous! Even this kind of experience would have been unacceptable to a Y passenger. Have you posted your complaints to the airline?

Nevertheless, I enjoyed your TR very much. Thank you for bringing in this well detailed insight review of FI J Cabin. I was considering to fly FI to the States, but I think I will abandon it.

Cheers,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4050
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:42 pm



Quoting Akhmad (Reply 1):
Hi A.,

I was quite shocked reading the treatment you got in what's supposed to be a premium cabin. Totally outrageous! Even this kind of experience would have been unacceptable to a Y passenger. Have you posted your complaints to the airline?

Nevertheless, I enjoyed your TR very much. Thank you for bringing in this well detailed insight review of FI J Cabin. I was considering to fly FI to the States, but I think I will abandon it.

Cheers,
Suryo

= As I mentioned, fly Aer Lingus. They have almost the same prices as FI and their seats are much better. I have never flown them so cannot compare their meals, crew, etc.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
LX64A332
Posts: 245
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:44 pm

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:57 pm



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(What is wrong with this picture from their latest in-flight magazine?)

Hmmm... I think some countries are missing as part of the visa waiver program!

- Australia
- Brunei
- Czech Republic
- Estonia
- Hungary
- Latvia
- Lithuania
- Monaco
- Portugal
- Singapore
- Slovakia
- Slovenia
- South Korea

WOW quite a few countries to be missing! Must be confusing to some travelers from these countries! can't believe Icelandair has overlooked this!

cheers,

LX64A332
SWISS remains Swiss. With Lufthansa. :D
 
davidkunzVIE
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:32 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:11 pm

Yeah, shouldn't they include all the new EU member states ("new", that is) in their list of visa waiver program countries?
(Apart from that quite a lot is wrong with what they seem to believe to be German.  Wink )

Other than that, quite an apalling experience for C. I've had much nicer flights on intra-EU LCC flights.

Thank you.  Smile
DH3 DH4 CR1 CR2 CR7 CR9 F70 732 733 734 73G 738 752 762 763 772 742 743 319 320 321 333 343
 
debonair
Posts: 2706
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:38 pm



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(What is wrong with this picture from their latest in-flight magazine?)

...bcs. it is in German and French and not Islenska or English. And some German words are miss spelled?!
 
Sabena332
Posts: 14938
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 3:57 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:47 pm

Thanks for this detailed report, it was interesting to read and watch!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I was quickly checked in by an efficient (but, unfriendly) check-in agent



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I went through the rather rude immigration officers (they were also rude on arrival)

People who work in these jobs should be friendly, that is something that (most of) the German counterparts should learn as well!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
It should NOT take 75 minutes to load a half empty 757!

Simply unbelievable, I'd gone mad! I am always amazed to see the amount of people who are simply too friggin' stupid to board an airplane, but your experience definitely takes the cake... 75 minutes for a half empty 757... unbelievable.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
While the leather seats are comfortable, the terrible pitch would make me think twice of taking this flight as a red-eye. Seat recline is average and slightly above U.S. domestic First class.

Sounds very poor for a transatlantic C Class!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
in J class, there would be no meal options, no apologies, and rude staff … especially given half the flight was empty!

As you wrote: Completely unacceptable! That would be even a poor experience in Y.

Quoting DavidkunzVIE (Reply 4):
(Apart from that quite a lot is wrong with what they seem to believe to be German. Wink )

Yeah, I like the "Aufenthalbgenemigung". Does that mean that you are only allowed to stay half of the time you have actually planned?   

Patrick

[Edited 2009-11-05 13:49:03]
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
User avatar
airbuseric
Posts: 3560
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 1:24 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:09 pm

Hi A.!

Thanks for this very interesting read. I have no experience with this airline, but taking opinion from your experience, this airline would never see 1 cent of my money. Actually, I have considered them to fly to the US out of AMS. Their fares are indeed attractive, and I thought flying the B757 would be interesting, since it's not too easy to fly on in Europe (at least for me). My few flights on this type are years ago, and I'm really looking in a renewed experience. But, not on FI anymore.
Agree 200% with your conclusions. You're fully aware about the competition, and noticed major faults in every part. Completely unacceptable, and ranking this carrier very low now.

I hope the report will hurt FI a lot , and people stay away from travelling this airline. That might be the only way to get them changing for the better future?! Maybe somebody from FI will read and take action.

Regards,
Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
zonks
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 5:24 pm

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:36 pm

Unbelievably, I think this is my first time commenting on one of your TRs. They're some of my favourites to read, so thanks for posting yet another TR for the benefit of this community.

Sorry to hear about FI. I had friends who flew them MSP-KEF-CPH/ARN-KEF-MSP and had nothing bad to say about FI. Thanks to these friends, I can indeed confirm the existence of a FI inflight magazine, Atlantica. Not a bad magazine at all. Perhaps the availability of the magazine is due to the economic downturn? Perhaps it's not worth it for FI to print it anymore?

I find it interesting to hear these things about FI as many of us who have not flown them would probably think positively of them. You hear Iceland and you think about how modern, chic, hip and so forth it. On the other hand, our perceptions often lead us to think that SU, AI, etc must be poor airlines due to the image that these countries have in the minds of those in the Western world.

Thanks for posting, as always!
 
Burj
Posts: 745
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:46 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:41 pm

Wow! Thanks for such an excellent trip report! When I lived in Boston they always seemed like an interesting option for flying to Europe.

Back then I ended up never flying them because they didn't have ANY frequent flier agreements with any of the U.S. carriers... They don't have to be in an alliance to have individual agreements. I often flew airlines like Virigin knowing I would get miles on Continental.

Has this changed? Does FI have agreements with any of the U.S. carriers? With KEF-SEA they should consider something with AS to help feed their flights...
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4050
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:03 am



Quoting LX64A332 (Reply 3):

Hmmm... I think some countries are missing as part of the visa waiver program!

- Australia
- Brunei
- Czech Republic
- Estonia
- Hungary
- Latvia
- Lithuania
- Monaco
- Portugal
- Singapore
- Slovakia
- Slovenia
- South Korea

WOW quite a few countries to be missing! Must be confusing to some travelers from these countries! can't believe Icelandair has overlooked this!

cheers,

LX64A332

= Yup. It is impressive how many countries they left out. At first glance, I thought it was just those new waiver countries such as South Korea, etc. Then, I was shocked to see even "old" European countries like Portugal left out!

Quoting DavidkunzVIE (Reply 4):
(Apart from that quite a lot is wrong with what they seem to believe to be German. Wink )

= Jaja. I found the German appalling.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 6):

People who work in these jobs should be friendly, that is something that (most of) the German counterparts should learn as well!

= To be fair, I have had good experience at FRA ... a little less in MUC, but German immigration is usually one of the better ones in Europe.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 6):

Sounds very poor for a transatlantic C Class!

= Agreed.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 7):
I hope the report will hurt FI a lot , and people stay away from travelling this airline. That might be the only way to get them changing for the better future?! Maybe somebody from FI will read and take action.



Quoting Zonks (Reply 8):
I find it interesting to hear these things about FI as many of us who have not flown them would probably think positively of them. You hear Iceland and you think about how modern, chic, hip and so forth it. On the other hand, our perceptions often lead us to think that SU, AI, etc must be poor airlines due to the image that these countries have in the minds of those in the Western world.



Quoting Zonks (Reply 8):
I had friends who flew them MSP-KEF-CPH/ARN-KEF-MSP and had nothing bad to say about FI.

= This is my take on it. Those of us who actually care about the flying experience will be put off by this report ... and I will personally probably not fly them. However, at the right price, Zonk's friends will still continue to flying with them. Additionally, as budgets are cut,cheap transatlantic J class will let some people look to carriers like FI. Personally, I think it is a risky strategy. Without a FFP (only SK is a partner?), most business travelers including myself would take a nonstop European flight than a 4 hour red-eye to Iceland and have our sleep interrupted.

Quoting Burj (Reply 9):

Has this changed? Does FI have agreements with any of the U.S. carriers? With KEF-SEA they should consider something with AS to help feed their flights...

= I think only SK.

Quoting Zonks (Reply 8):
Unbelievably, I think this is my first time commenting on one of your TRs. They're some of my favourites to read, so thanks for posting yet another TR for the benefit of this community.

= Thank you for the kind words.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
BAViscount
Posts: 1975
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 8:01 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:06 am

Such a shame to hear that FI have gone so far downhill. I flew with them back in 2004 LHR-KEF-LHR in Y, and it sounds as though my experience was way better than yours. I appreciate that a lot has changed in the airline industry in those five years, but back then we got a hot (and very tasty) meal in Y, free alcohol etc. The crew were happy and friendly, and overall I had a great flying experience to an amazing country.
Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
 
eaa3
Posts: 808
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:49 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:46 am



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Icelandair’s 752 are comparable with the domestic First class cabin of major U.S. carriers. They have a distinctly soulless interior that is thankfully kept clean. While the leather seats are comfortable, the terrible pitch would make me think twice of taking this flight as a red-eye. Seat recline is average and slightly above U.S. domestic First class. Besides a slightly enhanced experience, I really did not find value in buying these J class seats over their Premium Economy offering … which is interesting. In most flights, it is a regular curtain (like Euro J) where they block the middle seat. However, if Y is sold well, Y+ becomes the J cabin without the meal and drink service!

Why is it soulless. It´s just a standard interior of a B757 and why would you expect it to be dirty? I have a feeling that you have some weird preconceptions about this airline.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Located 50kms from Reykjavik, Keflavik International is currently the only international gateway to Iceland. It is an extremely laid back place and I was surprised to find how eerily empty the whole terminal was. As many are aware, Iceland’s economy is in the pits and the nation owes tremendous sums of money to England, Netherlands, and is on an emergency bailout loan from the IMF. The currency has crumbled and 30% of all households are bankrupt. Worse, recent surveys put as much as over 50% of the youth seeking to migrate out. All this was very evident at the airport as Iceland originating air traffic seem to have collapsed. Moreover, the depressing air permeates throughout the country and I remain convinced that almost every person I met was bitter, cynical, and needed some time in Latin America or Asia!

I think you are exaggerating quite a bit. There are places that are worse of than Iceland. For example Ireland has an unemployment rate twice that of Iceland, Iceland: 6% and Ireland 12%. As a matter of fact most of Europe and America have a higher unemployment rate. The fact that the currency has devalued about 50% is the driving factor behind the low unemployment rate. It means that Icelandic exports are very competitive. It´s not accurate to say that 30% of Icelanders are bankrupt. About 25% of mortgage holders are in negative equity. But that doesn´t mean that they are defaulting. Iceland had a huge mortgage bubble that was only exceeded by Ireland´s mortgage bubble. In Ireland about 25% of home owners are in negative equity so you could say the same thing there. But you wouldn´t because negative equity is not the same thing as bankruptcy at all.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Boarding was called 45 minutes prior and a scattered mess. KEF was more a sub-Saharan African country than a supposedly “well-off” country in Europe. There were 4 random lines with no enforcement of class or seating area. Worse, the mad rush meant that pushback ended up being 30 minutes delayed. It should NOT take 75 minutes to load a half empty 757! Entering the 75W, I was amazed at how little the crew did throughout the process. No pre-drinks offered and I was just grateful that they came and took my coat. J load of 50%; Y load was 55%.

Why do you claim that the boarding itself took 75 minutes. I find that very hard to believe. There must have been some problem that caused the delay.

For example if there are a lot of connecting passengers from Europe on that flight and if their arriving flight is late then they might delay the departure a couple of minutes so that those passengers don´t miss their connection and significantly delay their trip.

Quoting Zonks (Reply 8):
Sorry to hear about FI. I had friends who flew them MSP-KEF-CPH/ARN-KEF-MSP and had nothing bad to say about FI. Thanks to these friends, I can indeed confirm the existence of a FI inflight magazine, Atlantica. Not a bad magazine at all. Perhaps the availability of the magazine is due to the economic downturn? Perhaps it's not worth it for FI to print it anymore?

What do you mean "not worth it" because of the economic downturn.

Anyway Icelandair is profitable despite the global downturn precisely because it is located in Iceland. You can´t say that about most airlines in the world. It´s staff is paid in Icelandic Krona and that means that their labor costs have declined, with the decline of the krona, quite a bit without the staff actually receiving "Pay cuts". So as opposed to other airlines that are cutting staff and cutting pay Icelandair is expanding it´s operations by adding more destinations and frequencies.

I have flown with them quite often and I have not experienced what you seem to have experienced. My experiences have generally been good. So I don´t really think this is a fair assessment.

You should know though that they don´t ever claim to have business class that is comparable to BA or AF or something like that. That is the reason why it is cheap.

From reading your report it seems that it was a perfectly smooth journey with no real problems or inconveniences, expect for your sense of eeriness, which is a weird observation.
 
eaa3
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:04 am



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Again, where are the passengers? KEF felt haunted!)

There are basically no flights between 9 am and 3 pm so if you arrive during that time then you will be basically alone in the terminal. Because it´s such a small airport you don´t really have to show up 2.5 hours before departure, 1-1.5 is enough, so if you show up that early the transfer passengers haven´t arrived from Europe and the local passengers haven´t arrived in significant numbers.

It´s a 24 hour airport but it´s only really busy at around 6-9 am, 3-6 pm and 10-12 pm. Otherwise it´s empty. I don´t know why that is strange. The airline schedules are just like this.
 
abrelosojos
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:39 am



Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 12):
Why is it soulless. It´s just a standard interior of a B757 and why would you expect it to be dirty? I have a feeling that you have some weird preconceptions about this airline.

= Listen. I have flown enough 757's in my life to tell you that it was a soulless white interior. Why would I have ideas about Icelandair? I mean, it was my first and (probably) last experience on them.

Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 12):
I think you are exaggerating quite a bit. There are places that are worse of than Iceland. For example Ireland has an unemployment rate twice that of Iceland, Iceland: 6% and Ireland 12%. As a matter of fact most of Europe and America have a higher unemployment rate. The fact that the currency has devalued about 50% is the driving factor behind the low unemployment rate. It means that Icelandic exports are very competitive. It´s not accurate to say that 30% of Icelanders are bankrupt. About 25% of mortgage holders are in negative equity. But that doesn´t mean that they are defaulting. Iceland had a huge mortgage bubble that was only exceeded by Ireland´s mortgage bubble. In Ireland about 25% of home owners are in negative equity so you could say the same thing there. But you wouldn´t because negative equity is not the same thing as bankruptcy at all.

= Here is the latest IMF Staff Report: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2009/cr09306.pdf

It highlights the near 9% unemployment, GDP falling around 9% in one year, wages being depressed by significant margins, etc.

Moreover, one needs to Google to see Icelandic banking positions.

Finally, read recent surveys on how many people want to emigrate out of Iceland.

Even within the current global downturn, you'd find VERY few people who would argue Iceland has done OK.

Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 12):
Why do you claim that the boarding itself took 75 minutes. I find that very hard to believe. There must have been some problem that caused the delay.

For example if there are a lot of connecting passengers from Europe on that flight and if their arriving flight is late then they might delay the departure a couple of minutes so that those passengers don´t miss their connection and significantly delay their trip.

= Boarding took 75 minutes because the gate agents had no sense of priorities. It seems I was not the only one. Look at the listed RoseFlyer report where he also commented on the chaotic boarding.

Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 12):
I have flown with them quite often and I have not experienced what you seem to have experienced. My experiences have generally been good. So I don´t really think this is a fair assessment.



Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 12):
You should know though that they don´t ever claim to have business class that is comparable to BA or AF or something like that. That is the reason why it is cheap.

= I acknowledge that. Yet, why would I pay USD 2,200 on a one-way J fare when I can have Y+ nonstop on LHR-BOS on VS or BA? For that price, EI is a much better product. Moreover, why would anyone pay for their J class ... if all they get is a Y (or maybe, Y+ experience?)

Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 12):
From reading your report it seems that it was a perfectly smooth journey with no real problems or inconveniences, expect for your sense of eeriness, which is a weird observation.

= We will have to agree to disagree on this. Guess different expectations and standards.

One question. You state you fly them a lot and I have seen you report on a lot of news about Icelandair and Iceland. Do you work for them? Or, frequent flier? I'd recommend sending this link to FI quality control. Perhaps they can improve their offerings? Worse case, it would be an amusing read.

Saludos and thanks for reading,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
stratosphere
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:01 am



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
It is an extremely laid back place and I was surprised to find how eerily empty the whole terminal was.

Thats funny. I flew FI way back in 1979. They for a short time flew the DC-10 which i flew in Apr of 79 from JFK to LUX with a stopover in KEF. It had the high density seating 3-4-3 in coach. The airport at that time in KEF was nothing more than a quonset hut. I do remember they sold some nice icelandic sweaters there. After the AA 191 crash in ORD they gave up the 10 and went back to the DC-8. I wish now that my trip had been on an 8. I have flown on DC-10's so much but I have never flown on a DC-8 or 707. Funny that Icelandic DC-10 I flew on is now flying at my employer FedEx as N304FE and is now an MD-10.
 
Thule
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:12 am

Thanks for the TR. My own experiences plus comments from other flyers so far seem to agree on the level of service. I think that passengers who are used to international F are disappointed, whereas FI is completely acceptable to most Y passengers due to their great fares. I would personally travel with them again if going to Iceland, and not because they're basically the only choice from the USA - they're good enough for my needs. I would also travel with them transatlantic if my European destination was on their route map, but otherwise I'd take a different airline.

I've found that Iceland is a destination that completely makes up for a slightly mediocre airline, and then some.
 
SurfandSnow
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:13 am

Icelandair is certainly not the only relatively major carrier from a very small but wealthy home market that is overwhelmingly dependent on transit traffic for its livelihood (Copa Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, and others come to mind), but it is certainly the only one I can think of that has not invested in excellent customer service and product to win over pax that would otherwise fly nonstop...
Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
 
FlyingFinn76
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:19 am

Hi,

I always knew that FI's Saga class was not a real premium business class product - more like a glorified economy plus one, but this is way bad. As you mentioned, the experience could still be salvaged by a decent cabin crew, but apparently not in this case. How was your flight from LHR?

Anyway thanks for the report, made for a nice read (instead of working!) on this snowy Friday morning.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Located 50kms from Reykjavik, Keflavik International is currently the only international gateway to Iceland.

Hmm, not sure what you mean by this? It definitely is by far the largest and main international gateway to the country, but there are international flights on Iceland Express to Akureyri and also flights to the Faroe Islands and Greenland from the Reykjavik city centre airport.
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:00 am

Hi A.,

excellent report with many details, very entertaining as usual. I had always had a positive impression of FI based on several Y Class reports, but your review changes my mind. Unbelievable what you experienced in Saga Class.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Me: “May I please have the Icelandic Chicken?”
FA: “Sorry. We do not have this.”
Me: “Has it already been taken?”
FA: “No. We do not have this.”
Me: “Ok” (I reach out to the seat pocket to grab the menu)
FA: “You eat fish.”
Me: “Let me check what it comes with.”
FA: “You eat fish.”
Me: “Ma’am. I understand I have NO option. However, I still would like to see what fish comes with.”
FA: “OK.”

Priceless!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The meal itself was unappetizing. A piece of salmon thrown in a buttery broth with mashed potatoes and a side of other potatoes. I have had better Economy class meals on many carriers. The salad was also very Economy class …

Indeed, I have seen many much better looking Y Class meals.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Café after requesting three times)

Three times? Wow. And how did it taste?

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Icelandair’s recently updated AVOD came with basic noise-cancelling headsets. While there were some interesting things (like FI’s history, etc.), the actual movie options were rather limited at just 10 movies. Why have so few options is beyond me? Worse, midway through the flight, the IFE system froze and the crew were unable to get the system to reboot.

Another bad surprise. The system is similar to Air Canada's, and the maps are the same actually.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Now, how does one play video games when there are no controls? The crew had no idea)

That's very odd. How did you get out of the trivia game again? Games weren't available yet on my recent AC flights, but I was wondering whether it would be convenient with touchscreen-control only.


PH
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NZ107
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:34 am

Hi A.,

Very interesting TR, I must say! Quite amusing, although I don't think you were so amused when you were sitting there. Thanks for sharing!

I really did expect more from them. You'd think that they'd be the first line of people greeting any tourists with welcome arms and getting them cheerful to spend up large due to their country's troubled economic state, or that's what I was thinking as I was reading the introduction.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
It should NOT take 75 minutes to load a half empty 757!

Wow, Even Emirates was able to load a full A380 in less time than that!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Saga Lounge)

Great first impressions - an empty chamber and a lift.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
General Seat Views + Seat Legroom

That's barely more space than what you can get in Space+ on an Air NZ 767 for paying Economy prices!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Haha. The service reminded me of what I had received on the trans-Siberian express … and to be fair, the babushka’s there at least warm up to you midway through the trek! Completely unacceptable that in J class, there would be no meal options, no apologies, and rude staff … especially given half the flight was empty!

Haha! Oh dear. What more can I say..

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Worse, midway through the flight, the IFE system froze and the crew were unable to get the system to reboot. Again, no apologies whatsoever

Bad service, mediocre food, then IFE crashing? Oh man, call that a horrible flight!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Now, perhaps they were flight crew themselves (highly doubt it from their behavior), but is it even legal to do so on flights arriving into the U.S.? Even more amusing was that just after touchdown, during taxi, they walked out of the cockpit and back to their seats.

I guess it pays to know people!  Wink


Thanks again for sharing! Hope your next flight gets better than this!


Regards,
Nicholas
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
ba319-131
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:51 am

Hi Alex,

Great reading as always, thanks for posting.

I always had an opinion that FI were quite a decent niche carrier, with service to a pretty good standard, wow, my opinions have been shattered!

It may well be you had a bad crew on this flight, that aside, the whole meal service was a but of a joke, it's not really the kind of offering you expect in J - the whole meal looked similar to something AF or BA serve in Y, though their food does look better!

Given the state of the economy on Iceland, you would expect everybody you come into contact with as a passenger would have their customer service skills at top notch, seems hardly an inviting country based on your quick trip through.

Looking forward to your next report already.

Best Wishes

Mark
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The777Man
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:52 am

Interesting trip report and very bad service. I think your comments in the first part explains the service you received. I'm not defending FI but just trying to explain their behavoiur.

FI is really a low budget airline but offers a C class product but it can't really be compared to US or European legacy carriers. I guess they offer C to have something slightly better than Y ? Perhaps the C class product is comparable to AB for example?

Only offering fish as a meal is pathetic but with the financial situation Iceland is in, offering anything but fish would probably be very expensive for FI since that food would have to be imported; there's lots of fish in the sea or in the rivers.

The boarding process is REALLY bad ! 75 mins for a 757 ??? Also the rudeness (or unfriendliness ?) of the flight attendants and immigration people is very bad but I did experience similiar behaviour on my short viist to Iceland, in June 1987.....Flew FI ARN-FBU and after a few days KEF-JFK, the latter flight on a DC-8 with NO inflight entertainement, not even audio........I think they can get a away with bad service because there aren't many if any alternatives.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Cute napkin – the highlight of the flight?)

I agree ! I really like the napkin and can see why that would judging from your experience.

Thanks again for an interesting report and hope that you have a better experience on your next flight with whatever airline that may be.

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
Marco
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:07 am

From reading your report it seems that it was a perfectly smooth journey with no real problems or inconveniences, expect for your sense of eeriness, which is a weird observation

Actually he paid for a business class ticket, so the service should reflect that. We are all entitled to our opinions and I highly appreciate Abrelosojos' contributions to this forum, particularly because he is quite a discerning traveller. If it doesn't take much other than "no real inconveniences" to keep you satisfied on a flight then that's fine and dandy, but some of us appreciate more depth in trip reports.

At the end of the day, obviously we are all going to have different experiences on the same airline (different crew, aircraft, etc), that's a given!
Proud to be an Assyrian!
 
eaa3
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:30 am



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 14):
One question. You state you fly them a lot and I have seen you report on a lot of news about Icelandair and Iceland. Do you work for them? Or, frequent flier? I'd recommend sending this link to FI quality control. Perhaps they can improve their offerings? Worse case, it would be an amusing read.

I have relatives in Iceland so I fly Icelandair round trip at least twice a year and no I do not work for them.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 19):
Another bad surprise. The system is similar to Air Canada's, and the maps are the same actually.

It's a standard Thales IFE i4500 entertainment system.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 19):
That's very odd. How did you get out of the trivia game again? Games weren't available yet on my recent AC flights, but I was wondering whether it would be convenient with touchscreen-control only.

You need a controller that you can purchase from the FA.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 14):

= Here is the latest IMF Staff Report: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2009/cr09306.pdf

It highlights the near 9% unemployment, GDP falling around 9% in one year, wages being depressed by significant margins, etc.

Moreover, one needs to Google to see Icelandic banking positions.

Finally, read recent surveys on how many people want to emigrate out of Iceland.

Even within the current global downturn, you'd find VERY few people who would argue Iceland has done OK.

I didn't argue that Iceland was "OK" but rather specific things about it. In the third quarter the unemployment rate was 6% and those are the last numbers released as it is not yet the end of the 4th quarter. That's why I said that.

http://www.statice.is/?PageID=1191&s...ir/%26lang=1%26units=Numbe/percent

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 14):
= Boarding took 75 minutes because the gate agents had no sense of priorities. It seems I was not the only one. Look at the listed RoseFlyer report where he also commented on the chaotic boarding.

I have also experienced boarding at Icelandair and i doubt that there wasn't some specific reason for it i.e. a problem.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 22):
Only offering fish as a meal is pathetic but with the financial situation Iceland is in, offering anything but fish would probably be very expensive for FI since that food would have to be imported; there's lots of fish in the sea or in the rivers.

They usually have a choice of at least two. Perhaps they were out of the other meal. But it would have nothing to do with the economic situation. Most meat consumption in Iceland is not imported meat so they would not have to import it. There is quite a lot of meat production in Iceland as well as production of every other kind of food.
 
debonair
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:33 am



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
since FI was the cheapest way of getting me from LHR to BOS in J class

BTW. how was the flight in J from LHR to KEF?!
 
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NZ107
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:13 am



Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 24):
You need a controller that you can purchase from the FA.

Even in J? Wow, what is this. Especially if noone is told about it. You'd have to be in the know to be able to access one of them. Surely remotes don't cost that much if you're fitting an entire IFE system like that into the plane.
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
eaa3
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:21 am



Quoting NZ107 (Reply 26):
Even in J? Wow, what is this. Especially if noone is told about it. You'd have to be in the know to be able to access one of them. Surely remotes don't cost that much if you're fitting an entire IFE system like that into the plane.

It´s in the in flight magazine. That is why I knew it. It´s purely a gaming remote and you keep it afterward. It´s a USB remote that looks similar to a PlayStation remote and I think that it would work with regular computers if one wanted to use it like that.
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:36 pm



Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 24):
It's a standard Thales IFE i4500 entertainment system.

It's not important whether its Thales, Panasonic or any other - I have never seen an AVOD system featuring only 10 movies. If that's a "standard" - which carriers use the same?

Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 24):
You need a controller that you can purchase from the FA.

Absolutely ridiculous in J Class.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
planereality
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:52 pm

Well...WOW! Thanks for posting, I was curious about FI's product, but now you have spared me from experiencing it first hand. It sounds & looks somewhat bizarre. Why was that airport deserted and what the heck was that picture...???
Thanks for sharing Abrelosojos.
Andiamo!
 
The777Man
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:50 pm



Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 24):
They usually have a choice of at least two. Perhaps they were out of the other meal. But it would have nothing to do with the economic situation. Most meat consumption in Iceland is not imported meat so they would not have to import it. There is quite a lot of meat production in Iceland as well as production of every other kind of food.

If that/s the case, that reflects even more poorly on FI's part, especially in C on a long haul flight.

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
abrelosojos
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:50 pm



Quoting Thule (Reply 16):
Thanks for the TR. My own experiences plus comments from other flyers so far seem to agree on the level of service. I think that passengers who are used to international F are disappointed, whereas FI is completely acceptable to most Y passengers due to their great fares. I would personally travel with them again if going to Iceland, and not because they're basically the only choice from the USA - they're good enough for my needs. I would also travel with them transatlantic if my European destination was on their route map, but otherwise I'd take a different airline.

I've found that Iceland is a destination that completely makes up for a slightly mediocre airline, and then some.

= I think this is a really excellent summary  Smile.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 18):
How was your flight from LHR?

= Flight from LHR to KEF was also similar. The crew was going through motions; the food had no choices and was more of a Y meal; IFE did not work.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 18):
Anyway thanks for the report, made for a nice read (instead of working!) on this snowy Friday morning.

= Jaja ... I have been procrastinating all morning ... though, there is no snow here in Caracas.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 18):
Hmm, not sure what you mean by this? It definitely is by far the largest and main international gateway to the country, but there are international flights on Iceland Express to Akureyri and also flights to the Faroe Islands and Greenland from the Reykjavik city centre airport.

= I stand corrected here. Sorry.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 19):


excellent report with many details, very entertaining as usual. I had always had a positive impression of FI based on several Y Class reports, but your review changes my mind. Unbelievable what you experienced in Saga Class.

= Interestingly, I have read Y reports on FI what are also "you get what you pay for" ... but usually looks down on FI crew.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 19):
Three times? Wow. And how did it taste?

= To be honest, the coffee itself was not bad. The cake was very Y class.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 19):

Another bad surprise. The system is similar to Air Canada's, and the maps are the same actually.

= I know how much you love the AC system  Wink.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 20):

Very interesting TR, I must say! Quite amusing, although I don't think you were so amused when you were sitting there. Thanks for sharing!

= You know. The funny thing is ... I was thinking of NZ the entire time. How FI should model itself on NZ  Smile. A quality niche airline that provides an alternative and connects a beautiful country. However, for the NZ model to work, you must have a good product ... and complement with good crew.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 20):

I really did expect more from them. You'd think that they'd be the first line of people greeting any tourists with welcome arms and getting them cheerful to spend up large due to their country's troubled economic state, or that's what I was thinking as I was reading the introduction.

= This is something that I NEVER understand. Cabin crew, immigration staff, etc. are the front line of any country. Some countries recognize this; some don't. A country like Iceland should have these staff go to tourist dependent countries in Asia to recognize how to give service. I recognize culturally they are different ... but hey, would you rather have some training ... or, lose yet another revenue stream in these difficult times?

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 21):
It may well be you had a bad crew on this flight, that aside, the whole meal service was a but of a joke, it's not really the kind of offering you expect in J - the whole meal looked similar to something AF or BA serve in Y, though their food does look better!

= It pains for me to say this ... but when (hehe) I have received a J class meal, it has usually been better on AF. BA is leagues ahead of both FI and AF in terms of meals.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 22):
FI is really a low budget airline but offers a C class product but it can't really be compared to US or European legacy carriers. I guess they offer C to have something slightly better than Y ? Perhaps the C class product is comparable to AB for example?

= AB's new J class is actually pretty OK. Here is the thing with J class ... again, economically, why pay the premium (and the fare was around USD 2,200 OW) when I can travel in Y+ on VS and BA nonstop, accrue miles, have more legroom, better food, infinitely better IFE, and pay less?

Quoting The777Man (Reply 22):
Only offering fish as a meal is pathetic but with the financial situation Iceland is in, offering anything but fish would probably be very expensive for FI since that food would have to be imported; there's lots of fish in the sea or in the rivers.

= They had chicken ... but it was poorly loaded ... and the non-revs' got first pick.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 22):
The boarding process is REALLY bad ! 75 mins for a 757 ??? Also the rudeness (or unfriendliness ?) of the flight attendants and immigration people is very bad but I did experience similiar behaviour on my short viist to Iceland, in June 1987.....Flew FI ARN-FBU and after a few days KEF-JFK, the latter flight on a DC-8 with NO inflight entertainement, not even audio........I think they can get a away with bad service because there aren't many if any alternatives.

= Wow. Interesting how the rudeness/unfriendliness seems to be a recurrent theme of many who have flown FI.

Quoting Marco (Reply 23):
Actually he paid for a business class ticket, so the service should reflect that. We are all entitled to our opinions and I highly appreciate Abrelosojos' contributions to this forum, particularly because he is quite a discerning traveller. If it doesn't take much other than "no real inconveniences" to keep you satisfied on a flight then that's fine and dandy, but some of us appreciate more depth in trip reports.

At the end of the day, obviously we are all going to have different experiences on the same airline (different crew, aircraft, etc), that's a given!

= Thanks Marco. I will be the first to admit that I am discerning. Yet, if one reads through my reports, I always point out the "value to money" aspect and correct expectations. In a short Y flight, I am never critical of lack of meals, etc. Moreover, working in the industry, I recognize the times we live in.

However, as you pointed out, this is an airline forum, and I have always felt that we are more than just getting from A to B. We are here because of our common love for air travel. Moreover, FI is not the only one feeling a fiscal pinch. We all are. Thus, a product like FI's begs the question ... why should ANYONE pay for a premium? FI's product is very US domestic F class. We know that most of F in the U.S. is filled with upgrades and that very few people actually pay because the product is not that much better. Thus, I go back ... why would someone pay for this J class?

Thanks for your comment.

Quoting Debonair (Reply 25):

BTW. how was the flight in J from LHR to KEF?!

= See above. Besides, it always helps that I was hungover from London and all I wanted to do was get to Iceland  Wink.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 19):

That's very odd. How did you get out of the trivia game again? Games weren't available yet on my recent AC flights, but I was wondering whether it would be convenient with touchscreen-control only.



Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 24):

You need a controller that you can purchase from the FA.



Quoting NZ107 (Reply 26):

Even in J? Wow, what is this. Especially if noone is told about it. You'd have to be in the know to be able to access one of them. Surely remotes don't cost that much if you're fitting an entire IFE system like that into the plane.



Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 27):
It´s in the in flight magazine. That is why I knew it. It´s purely a gaming remote and you keep it afterward. It´s a USB remote that looks similar to a PlayStation remote and I think that it would work with regular computers if one wanted to use it like that.

= First off, there was NO in-flight magazine so how does one have the idea that we had to buy it? Secondly, shouldn't the crew have known of this?

PH: to quit the game, they had to manually do a system restart for my seat. Yes, I was amused  Smile.

Thanks for reading all. I have a unique TR coming up ... and it is not a route covered by anyone yet ... and will be hard to do so in the future  Wink.

Saludos,
A.

PS: Can someone (Eaa3?) please confirm if they print in-flight magazines anymore?
Live, and let live.
 
The777Man
Posts: 5924
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:55 pm



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 31):
why pay the premium (and the fare was around USD 2,200 OW) when I can travel in Y+ on VS and BA nonstop, accrue miles, have more legroom, better food, infinitely better IFE, and pay less?

I don't think FI considers themselves competing with VS or BA; they are the flag carrier of Iceland and really are looking at getting people to have stopover there on the way to/from Europe to the US/Canda. Like you in the report, they are a niche carrier and not a very good one either from what it seems. But they still have their niche.

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4050
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:12 pm



Quoting The777Man (Reply 32):
I don't think FI considers themselves competing with VS or BA; they are the flag carrier of Iceland and really are looking at getting people to have stopover there on the way to/from Europe to the US/Canda. Like you in the report, they are a niche carrier and not a very good one either from what it seems. But they still have their niche.

The777Man

= I understand what you're saying and agree with you. However, they do compete and seek out, cheap J travelers on the US - Europe connecting market. What I am saying is this ... why would a J passenger fly on them vs. a VS or BA Y+?

Moreover, most J pax do not need/have time for a stop-over in Iceland.

I don't think Iceland O&D demand in J is that strong ... so perhaps to serve the local market a Y+ and Y is enough? It will be interesting to see the effect of Iceland Express on this whole thing.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
The777Man
Posts: 5924
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:33 pm



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 33):
why would a J passenger fly on them vs. a VS or BA Y+?

Only reason would be to see Iceland. I'm not sure how much they seek out J class passengers but by having J they offer an alternative to Y and Y+ and you are slightly more com
fortable than in Y+. Perhaps this J class is mainly for people from Iceland and they don;t have much choice regarding air carriers. ?

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 33):
It will be interesting to see the effect of Iceland Express on this whole thing

Iceland Express is a low cost carrier from what I understand so I don't think they will have much impact on FI's J class offerrings. Depending where they'll fly (Iceland Express), they may drive down fares on certain routes. I don't really see Iceland Express compete on service.

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
eaa3
Posts: 808
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:49 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:00 pm



Quoting The777Man (Reply 30):
If that/s the case, that reflects even more poorly on FI's part, especially in C on a long haul flight.

Technically it's a 4-5 hour flight. Barely long haul.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 33):

= I understand what you're saying and agree with you. However, they do compete and seek out, cheap J travelers on the US - Europe connecting market. What I am saying is this ... why would a J passenger fly on them vs. a VS or BA Y+?

Moreover, most J pax do not need/have time for a stop-over in Iceland.

I don't think Iceland O&D demand in J is that strong ... so perhaps to serve the local market a Y+ and Y is enough? It will be interesting to see the effect of Iceland Express on this whole thing.

You are right. On routes like LHR-BOS, where there are lot's of direct flights, Icelandair is only really competitive on price. Where they can be competitive is on routes where there is no direct-service competition. For example If you are flying CPH-BOS or something like that then Icelandair is likely to be competitive in travel times and fares on CPH-KEF-BOS. Given that there is no direct service and Iceland is located close to the direct flight path.
 
TravellerPlus
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:45 pm

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:09 pm



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Um, what is this painting trying to convey?)

The new cabin crew uniform to match their attitudes, perhaps????
What goes around comes around....unless your luggage is not on the carousel...
 
Skyfellow
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:49 pm

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:07 am



Quoting The777Man (Reply 34):
Only reason would be to see Iceland. I'm not sure how much they seek out J class passengers but by having J they offer an alternative to Y and Y+ and you are slightly more com
fortable than in Y+. Perhaps this J class is mainly for people from Iceland and they don;t have much choice regarding air carriers. ?

I think you are right. I believe the J class is an offering primarily for the local market, and not the much larger low-cost transit or tourist market that FI has relied on for years....ever since they started flying pistons across the pond at attractive prices and well into the jet age. Their business model has not changed much since then. It remains pretty much the same today but with a much more modern fleet of course, and the market is still there too.

Now...Iceland was booming with both wealth and prosperity before the financial crisis recently hit, and there was likely a total melt-down for FI when it came to J travel as a result. This could explain Abrelosojo's miserable experience recently. It could certainly be a consequence.

Quoting Eaa3 (Reply 35):
You are right. On routes like LHR-BOS, where there are lot's of direct flights, Icelandair is only really competitive on price. Where they can be competitive is on routes where there is no direct-service competition. For example If you are flying CPH-BOS or something like that then Icelandair is likely to be competitive in travel times and fares on CPH-KEF-BOS. Given that there is no direct service and Iceland is located close to the direct flight path.

Right again. People chose FI because the price is right. If you need a stop-over in continental Europe anyway, why not at KEF? It could be worth your while.. I have done it a few times. Not a great experience, but when the price is right, the effort has actually saved quite a few $'s.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 31):
However, as you pointed out, this is an airline forum, and I have always felt that we are more than just getting from A to B. We are here because of our common love for air travel. Moreover, FI is not the only one feeling a fiscal pinch. We all are. Thus, a product like FI's begs the question ... why should ANYONE pay for a premium? FI's product is very US domestic F class. We know that most of F in the U.S. is filled with upgrades and that very few people actually pay because the product is not that much better. Thus, I go back ... why would someone pay for this J class?

You likely wasted your money, but also because you are unfamiliar with the Icelandic culture and FI's business strategy. This country has about 300,000 inhabitants with one primary airline serving all of their needs. So limited or no choices at all. Do you think this small population is concerned with having one primary air carrier at the top of the line when it comes to advances in comfort, catering, and top-of the-notch amenities in J class? Nope! Likely more so concerened with getting people from A to B. There is hardly any choice for them so FI can do whatever they want when it comes to how they serve their "domestic" J class passengers. My anticipation here is that most of the J class traffic originates in Iceland where everyone is comfortable with limited choices and service standards in any regard. Maybe this is the standard for people in Iceland, but the exception for you?

The population of Iceland is not even big enough to have a sustainable carrier, so the option is to tap into other transit markets in Europe and North America in order to make FI a sustainable airline by offering a product where the price is right using strict pricing principles. This is how FI fill up their airplanes. They have been successful so far with their low cost approach....ever since they started operating piston powered aircraft for this purpose and many years ago. And this airline is still around today despite a crisis that just about eradicated the national economy on this island.

But sorry for your bad experience. Your trip report was totally enoyable! Rude and inconsiderate staff there is really no excuse for, but maybe they are feeling the brunt of the financial crisis right now without realizing how much they are hurting themselves by their rude behavior?

Skyfellow
 
Milesdependent
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:50 am

Great report. Thanks for posting. Looking forward to getting to Iceland oneday, but certainly won't bother with their J class!
 
JFKMan
Posts: 485
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:46 am

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:08 pm

Hi! Great TR.

Icelandair looks like it could be really good, but just fails. I love the look of the SAGA club and the little facts/jokes in the bathroom and on the napkins. Also, crew is very important!

Again, great TR! I enjoyed reading it.
AA - LGA
 
mbe0002
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:48 pm

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:38 am

what happend to Icelandair?

I am reading so many bad reports about Icelandair nowadays. A few years ago (before they changed their service concept) I was in Y on a FRA-KEF-BWI flight and I really was suprised what they offered. In my opinion the service was not different to major US carriers. There were food (absolutely acceptable...), drinks and movies (main screen) for free. I remember the crews to be one of the best I ever experienced in Y. They were friendly, helpful and even good looking  Wink OK, I prefer widebodies but the 757 is not too bad for a short transatlantic flight...

Icelandair always was kind of a LCC. But what they do now (eco-service in J and buy-on-board in Y), I cannot understand. Sure Iceland has huge economical problems and their currency went down. But aren't the customers paying their tickets in US$ or EUR - Icelandair should make good money now?

I know people who prefer connecting at KEF instead of major US or European hubs or even like the stop "in the middle" of the transatlantic flight. Connections are easy at KEF and even the stop over options are andadvantage. I don't understand why they don't make more out of it nowadays...  Sad
 
B747forever
Posts: 12855
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 9:50 pm

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:36 pm

Excellent TR once again!

Really pity to hear about your bad experience on FI. Quite shocking! I really expected more from FI. Also sorry to hear about the bad airport experience you had.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
FIDS %u2013 deserted look of KEF

Interesting to see that they schedule all 3 transatlantic flights at the same time.



Thank you for sharing

B747forever
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
shamrock104
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:51 am

Interesting report. Makes me glad I didn't fly Saga Class earlier this year from LHR to KEF. I went Economy+ and it was actually good, nothing to complain about, true the f/a's were not very friendly but the meals (although cold) were nice and a good brand of wine.
 
User avatar
shamrock604
Posts: 2091
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:47 am

An excellent standard of reporting as usual Sir!

I wouldnt find the emptiness of KEF's terminals as a bad thing though, the quieter the airport, the better these days as fas as I am concerned. The airport also looks quite impressive, and definitely shares some design cues with its scandic cousins.

Im just going to take issue with one thing though, where I think you are being just a tiny bit unfair:

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
You can find an Aer Lingus ticket for the same money … and even if the crews and meals also suck, you can at least expect (usually) a lie-flat seat.

Meals in EI J have rarely if ever been complained about, in fact it has often been one of the saving graces of the service before the cabin upgrades! Equally, i've found the crew in EI J rival anything else around Europe.

Now, if we are talking about Y class, yes, the food is the weakest point, and the crews can be sometimes bad. Its such a shame, as EI shorthaul crews are generally great... it seems it isnt transferring to long haul at present though ;-(

Back to FI, having read recent reviews, its not a product im going to rush to try anytime soon. They simply are not THAT cheap that I would consider it. Having a buy on board product on SEA-KEF for example is cheap and nasty. I can live with cheap and nasty so long as there is some decent hot options and not merely the rolls and sandwiches I saw in the menu card. Offering a domestic / short haul range of options on an international long haul doesnt really cut it.

The J product is embarassing. It shouldnt even be sold as J. That simpy isnt a viable long haul J product. It should be sold as regular Economy with a bigger seat, becuase from what you describe, that's all you got!
 
jfidler
Posts: 359
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2000 3:32 pm

RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:22 pm

I flew FI twice a number of years ago, I think it was back in 1998/1999. Both times I flew BWI-KEF-BWI in Y. I didn't find the service outstanding, but also nothing to complain about. Basic, but fine.

In terms of the unemployment numbers in Iceland, in 2nd Quarter 2009, the official unemployment (from Statistics Iceland) was 9%, then it dropped to 6% in 3rd Quarter 2009. Some of this is due to a lower number of people in the workforce, but it looks like most of the change was due to more people working. That's a rather rapid improvement, but considering the low population in Iceland, it's indeed possible. The number of unemployed people went from 16,700 to 10,900 in 2Q to 3Q.
 
abrelosojos
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RE: Icelandair FI 631: 22/AUG/09: KEF-BOS: J Cabin

Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:41 am



Quoting The777Man (Reply 34):
Perhaps this J class is mainly for people from Iceland and they don;t have much choice regarding air carriers. ?



Quoting The777Man (Reply 34):

Iceland Express is a low cost carrier from what I understand so I don't think they will have much impact on FI's J class offerrings. Depending where they'll fly (Iceland Express), they may drive down fares on certain routes. I don't really see Iceland Express compete on service.



Quoting Skyfellow (Reply 37):
Do you think this small population is concerned with having one primary air carrier at the top of the line when it comes to advances in comfort, catering, and top-of the-notch amenities in J class? Nope! Likely more so concerened with getting people from A to B. There is hardly any choice for them so FI can do whatever they want when it comes to how they serve their "domestic" J class passengers. My anticipation here is that most of the J class traffic originates in Iceland where everyone is comfortable with limited choices and service standards in any regard. Maybe this is the standard for people in Iceland, but the exception for you?

= Here is the thing though ... if FI was a true O&D carrier, it would not serve markets such as SEA or YYZ or a bunch of European cities. It caters to transit traffic and not just Iceland O&D. As a small data point, probably 20% of the J pax were Iceland O&D in both flights.

Quoting Skyfellow (Reply 37):
But sorry for your bad experience. Your trip report was totally enoyable! Rude and inconsiderate staff there is really no excuse for, but maybe they are feeling the brunt of the financial crisis right now without realizing how much they are hurting themselves by their rude behavior?

= Yup. However, reading some of the comments, it seems that crew never was their strong point. Such a shame!

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.

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