Hello A.net trip reporters and readers.
Some great trip reports have recently been posted and whilst this one is not that unusual, it was special for me, as it was my first time to Iceland, and first time flying Icelandair.
A few reports have appeared recently from fellow A.netters who have made the journey to Iceland and Plymspotter posted a great report on his experience with Icelandair a couple of years back. The trip was well worth it and I had a great time there. I would highly recommend it.
Iceland has always been of interest to me - growing up in Australia, it seemed like another planet, being so far away and so different from my home. Someone told me many years ago that Iceland had no naturally growing trees, and whilst I thought this seemed a little far fetched, I guess I’d have to go there myself and see. Icelandair offer fairly good packages, including hotels and flights and transfers all though www.icelandair.co.uk
and over the past couple of years, have heavily promoted short trips to Iceland, particularly on the London Underground. Given the recent crash of Iceland’s economy and currency, I figured now would be as good as any time to visit.
At the time I booked tickets, *that* volcano was yet to erupt and cause chaos in Europe and thankfully, by the time we were due to travel, the volcano had stopped spewing ash into the atmosphere.
2 June 2010
London - Reykjavik
TF-FIP named “Snaefell”
Icelandair use T1 at LHR
, and when we arrived, there was no queue at all. The Icelandair website allows for OLCI which I had done the night before, securing seats just behind the wing. I was keen to have a good view of those sexy 757 winglets which have been installed on virtually all FI
A friendly ground agent checked bags and wished us a good flight. Without further ado, we proceeded through security to the airside part of the terminal, which thankfully, was not overly packed. Having some time to kill, we used one of the lounges in T1 which is pretty average, but provides a semi-oasis from the crowds and noise downstairs.
A slow stroll to the gate revealed our aircraft for FI451. This was the best pic I could manage, as the aircraft was parked in an unfriendly position from a photographer’s perspective.
Icelandair, not surprisingly is the flag carrier of Iceland, based at Keflavik International Airport and traces its origins back to 1937, when Flugfélag Akureyrar, was founded at Akureyri on the north coast of Iceland. In 1943 the company moved its headquarters to the capital, Reykjavík, and changed its name to Flugfélag Íslands, which later assumed the international trade name Icelandair.
Today, the airline uses a fleet of mostly B757-200s providing service to most large European capitals, as well as connecting a number of key cities in the US and Canada.
Wondering what the loads would be like on today’s mid week, lunchtime departure, it soon became clear that it was going to be a busy flight ! By the time the first gate call was made, the holding area was pretty packed. Strangely, the young lady making the boarding call invited us to board our flight to Iceland, rather than Reykjavik or even Keflavik. First time this has happened to me….. Kinda like going to JFK
and being asked to board your flight to the USA !
Onboard, the view from 28F and bingo - a great view of the winglet, complete with FI
’s classy logo.
The cabin interior was in immaculate condition and seats were fairly comfy. Not sure how comfy they would be after a transatlantic flight but perfectly fine for the short hop up to KEF
Our flight attendants today were a collection of mid aged ladies, all blonde and all very nicely dressed. A couple of ground announcements were made, welcoming us all on board. All seats in Y are equipped with personal IFE, which I was able to play around with throughout the flight. Of course, for much of the 2 hrs 30 mins, it was set to the map!
As expected, the flight was just about full, although very lucky for me (again) I had the middle seat empty.
Doors closed about 5 mins late, we were on our way and pushing back - heading for today’s departure runway, which was 09R.
US Airways 332 - love these colours and looks great on the A332
Emirates A380 at T3
attached to the terminal via lots of “bits” including the upper deck jetbridge
Virgin Atlantic A346 at T3
Route for today’s flight FI451
Passing the rows of BA
heavies at T5
- no guesses who’s boss here!
I have always been a fan of the B757, although it was not until 1997 that I first flew on one - US Air from JAX
on N610AU, the sole aircraft in the fleet that carried the titles “Ideas that Fly”. I never really knew at the time what this meant….!
A short hold at the end of 09R before leaving terra firma. A great day for flying in London.
Good bye LHR
Climbing out of London - passing Wembley Stadium
Our path today would track to the north west of London, heading up toward Manchester, then Blackpool and out over the Irish Sea, passing over the Isle of Man, before heading further north west over the Outer Hebrides and then pretty much in a straight line to KEF
Passing over central England
Heading toward Blackpool
In-flight service consisted of BOB although they were not charging for non alcoholic drinks. I did not have anything as I was already full having eaten before boarding, and had a bottle of water. In fact, if I was not hallucinating, each seat had a small bottle of Icelandic natural water when we boarded.
Seatback contents incl emergency safety card
Cruising high above the North Atlantic
The flight passed uneventfully and it felt like only a short time had passed before the map showed us getting closer to KEF
Iceland also came into view on our right hand side - and I was poised with the camera to capture some of the scenes.
Some first glimpses of Iceland on descent into KEF
and not a tree in sight ! It also looked like we may have passed that volcano as well, so on behalf of all the travellers and airlines disrupted by it in April, I blew a raspberry in the general direction of Eyjafjallajokull.
Great weather down there today although a little bouncy by this stage as the captain had advised there were strong winds
Chasing our shadow as we get closer. Cabin was now secured for landing.
Not much down there but quite stunning landscapes!
Touchdown - welcome to Iceland after a smooth arrival on RW
02. A lovely day here too.
Compact terminal in the distance
End of the journey. Icelandair’s 757s are now named after Icelandic volcanoes (how apt!) and here, “Snaefell” rests at the gate after completing FI451 from LHR
. Sorry for the poor quality photo - the reflection was terrible! Soon after we arrived, the airport seemed to burst into activity, with one FI
aircraft arriving after another. It was clear that the hub and spoke operations at KEF
were in full force!
The main airport here is at Keflavik, which is a good 45min + drive to Reykjavik. Whilst the airport is small, it is modern and well organised and in next to no time, we were out waiting for our transfer bus to take us into Reykjavik and our hotel.
Some interesting artwork outside the terminal at KEF
Icelandair, in summary, provided a good service. The flight was on time, crew were friendly and the aircraft was immaculate inside. Onboard service was sparse, but to be frank, I was not expecting that much. KEF
is a nice hub, and I would not hesitate to fly FI
again for something a bit different. Iceland has had some pretty rocky times of late, and I don’t believe Icelandair has been immune from this. They seem to continue however to be delivering a good product. It will be interesting to see what happens to FI
’s flights to JFK
once Delta start their flights to KEF
Some action on the ramp at KEF
(these were taken on the return journey back to LHR
A relatively new addition (at the time) to Air Greenland’s fleet - Dash 8 arriving from Nuuk.
At its stand and about to shutdown the other prop
The “other” airline in Iceland - an Iceland Express 737-700 arriving. These guys were advertising their new route to New York in and around KEF
Arriving at the gate
Flugfelag Islands Dash 8 - I wasn’t sure what this was doing at KEF
, because these guys are ordinarily based at the domestic airport in Reykjavik. Could have been an international charter flight to neighbouring Greenland?
Reykjavik itself, was very interesting. It has the honour of being the most northern capital of a sovereign state and was believed to be founded around 870AD.
Like the others who have reported on recent trips here, there is quite a bit to keep you interested, even though it is only a mid sized town by UK standards. We were also very lucky with the weather on our visit. I highly recommend it.
A few pics taken in and around Reykjavik
Statue of Ingolfur Arnarson, Iceland’s founding “father” in front of the famous Hallgrimskirkja
Another view of the Hallgrimskirkja, taken at 630pm when the sun was still high in the sky!
From the top of Hallgrimskirkja
Buildings in and around Reykjavik
Some outdoor “bears”
A nice looking restaurant
Some lovely looking buildings
Lots of outdoor artwork - loved this one down by the water
And some scenes from outside Reykjavik taken during our day trip to Gullfoss waterfall
A bit further on down the road…
Thanks for reading and of course, any comments are welcome.