Booking and online check-in were all easy and flawless. Dropping bags at the counter was easy and there seemed to be a good amount of agents available. We were early, so we were first (and only) people in line and we were bag-dropped and through TSA security within 10 minutes. Excellent!
We departed from gate S15, which is an absolutely absurd gate - it hides the airplane! You cannot see it no matter where you go in the terminal. But I did manage to find out we flew on "Surtsey" - A Boeing 757-208, TF-FIJ according to the A.net database.
Photo © Marvin My
Boarding commenced 40 minutes before departure time of 15:30 local. We were soon seated in row 31. I chose the way back of the airplane because the flight didn't look that full and we wanted to see if we could get the whole row to ourselves. It worked, and we enjoyed the extra space. We departed the gate 3 minutes early, so kudos for that. I'm horrible at estimating load factor. There were a couple rows behind us completely empty and for five rows ahead of us the center seat was open, but the rest of the plane was full, so I'd say that's a pretty decent load for a Tuesday departure in late February.
Leg room was actually pretty good - I was pleased. What was hard were the seats. After an hour or so my butt was not happy. The bottom "cushions" are basically non existent, and the bar between the bottom and back of the seat was quite intimate with my posterior portions for a good 6 hours.
IFE was pretty good. The moving map display was great, and you could have it on all the time, or cycle through the different displays. We only watched one documentary on the IFE as we brought our netbook and our own movies with us. But the selection looked to be pretty decent - enough to find *something* to watch. The interface was sluggish at times and the touchscreen was....touchy. You had to hit things just right. But all together I'd say the Icelandair IFE system is one of the better ones I've seen.
Soon the food and drink carts were rolled-down the aisle. Icelandair is all BOB, so they passed-out menus. Not a lot of selection, but decent enough.
I got the turkey sandwich and a Bloody Mary - my traditional in-flight beverage. No ginger ale on board (!!) So I gave Applesin Orange a try. The turkey sandwich was edible. Applesin is yummy! Icelandair has the smallest plastic cups known to man, however. I only had the one drink, but I was so dehydrated that we ended up with a stack of 10 or so of these little cups by the end of the flight. I felt a little bad to keep asking for more water, but the crew were really nice and always said "yes, of course" The crew came back once for a general drink run after the main service but that was it. So I had to get up and ask for more all the time.
Finally we were descending into KEF, and we arrived on a snowy runway with a thump. As we were taxing to the terminal for some reason the airplane shuddered to a stop very quickly several times. Almost like it was a brake test or something. I can only assume it was indeed that - to test the braking action to report to other aircraft. It was interesting.
KEF airport is really easy, if slightly complex in the steps you have to take. Off the plane and into the terminal you either head up to the transfer area (that's actually where more than half the passengers went I think) or go straight ahead if Iceland is your final destination. There are only two customs booths, but I swear it was: Look at me, look at passport, *STAMP* ..next.. It probably took me longer to type this sentence. That's my kind of customs. Then we had to go outside and get on a bus. We waited for a while and then the bus drove us about a whopping 3 plane-lengths to another door and then we got back into the terminal. Seemed a little silly. I think it might have to do with Schengen area rules or something like that. Anyways, by that time our bags were already on the belt. We grabbed them and went out to catch the FlyBus into Reykjavik (Why, oh why dear KEF are you so far from the city?!) I know why...just, the FlyBus seems like another eternity after a long flight. And it's cramped. And noisy people. But I digress...
Icelandair has it's faults, but overall I must admit that with the airfare we paid for this flight (Cheap, CHEAP!) I can't say it was a bad flight. In fact it was really pretty good. Everything was consistent. Spot on-time. Courteous, not overly-friendly crew. Good IFE. Good leg room. Small cups. Bad seats.
So we've been in Iceland a few days now and it's really a quite spectacular place. Reykjavik is a neat little capitol city with a total population just a hair larger than that of my neighborhood
Here's some photos of our trip so far.