: Icelandair B757-200 & B767-300ER J
Background: My last trip prior to the COVID-19 travel restrictions was to Iceland. I was very interested in trying the national carrier, Icelandair, for my journey to Iceland. I put together a great itinerary which was being offered at a great price in business class: departing LAX-AMS on the KLM 747-400 and connecting AMS-KEF on the Icelandair 767-300ER. For the return, rather than connecting through Amsterdam on the 767-300ER again, I booked separately a KEF-FRA flight on the Icelandair 757-200. I was very happy to be able to try Icelandair's two current operational aircraft types, and also happy to get a nice, long segment of one of my favorite flights, the KLM 747. As it turned out, the KLM 747 flights on this trip would be my last, as the KLM 747 was unexpectedly retired from passenger service early in the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Please enjoy the following reports on my two Icelandair flights, and I look forward to your comments.
Departure: 13:05 (actual 12:58)
Arrival: 15:20 (actual 15:21)
Actual Block Time: 3h23
Actual Flight Time: 3h10
Seat: 3D Saga Business Class
My long journey from LAX to Iceland began on KLM, who had provided a boarding pass containing both the KLM flight and also my Icelandair flight. Upon arrival to Amsterdam Schiphol, I headed to Icelandair's contract lounge, Aspire Lounge 26, above D Concourse. I was in a great mood, coming off my seventh KLM 747 segment, and my third which was operated by PH-BFW. It had been one of my top flights, and now I was looking forward to visiting Iceland for the first time. How else to get there than on Icelandair? It would be my first time on the airline. My first flight with them was to be on a 767-300ER in their business class, branded Saga Class. My return flight would be to Germany in order to also get on their 757-200. A long time 757 operator, Icelandair has added four 767-300ERs to the fleet, and has many outstanding orders for the 737MAX to begin replacing the 757 fleet. I was happy to be scheduled to try their two current aircraft, the 767 and then the 757. I thought it should be a pretty good way to get to Iceland.
At the gate in AMS:
My aircraft was TF-ISP, a 767-300ER which began life in 1997 flying for Air New Zealand as ZK-NCK. The aircraft was stored in 2016 and then began flying for Icelandair in 2017. Boarding began at 12:25, five minutes late. The gate area was pretty crowded, with a long line for economy boarding. Priority boarding had a much shorter line. Boarding began with business class. I headed through the jetbridge into Door L1 to the Saga Class cabin. I found five rows of a unique 2-1-2 layout containing recliner seats AB-D-FG, with wide aisles. I had solo seat 3D in the center of the cabin, with an aisle on either side.
The seats were reminiscent of domestic first class recliners in the US. They were very well-padded, with a high resolution touchscreen for IFE, plus a footrest. I found acceptable legroom for this type of seat. The seat was also quite wide.
Looking across the aisle to seats 3FG:
A pillow was waiting on the seat. A flight attendant quickly brought out bottled Icelandic water, a noise-cancelling headset, and a blanket. So far so good. This was a nice pre-departure service, and I was already enjoying a comfortable seat with the nice screen and footrest. Plus the convenient aisle access provided by my solo seat in this unique seat configuration. Boarding continued slowly, with people streaming past me on both sides, but with not too much backup in the aisles. Iceland trivia and other information was showing on the screens during boarding.
Boarding completed within twenty minutes, and the load was 12/25 in Saga Class. The captain's welcome message advised a flight time of 3h10. The weather in Reykjavik was cloudy with light rain. I thought it quite nice to have a widebody for this short flight, one of Icelandair's four 767s. The flight attendant's welcome message welcomed us onboard the Boeing 767 named Eldgjá. The announcements were in English followed by Icelandic. It was my first time hearing the Icelandic language. The safety video played in English with Icelandic subtitles.
The views from 3D:
Push back came early at 12:58. Not sitting on the window and not paying attention, takeoff came suddenly at 13:06. I enjoyed good engine noise and speed on the takeoff roll. Cabin crew were quickly released, and curtains were shut to the galley ahead and to economy behind. The IFE had 54 movies, plus various videos about Iceland.
Today's menu was given out, and service began shortly with an offer of drinks. First I decided to toast Icelandair, a new airline for me, which was pretty nice so far. I ordered champagne and was served a cute little individual bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve, along with crunchy corn chips with chia seeds. I liked the nice presentation of the little bottle and an Icelandair branded glass. An announcement was made about the start of economy service, mentioning that all major credit cards were accepted. My movie choice was Shaft
from 2019, with Samuel L. Jackson.
Icelandair champagne and snack:Shaft
Beers on offer included Gull - a meticulously crafted lager beer, brewed with Icelandic barley, patience and care. The purity of the Icelandic water and the ambition of Gull's brewmasters ensure quality and balance, winning Gull the prestigious "World's Best Standard Lager" at the World Beer Awards. This is the original beer of Iceland, a true local
. The other beer on offer was the Beer of the Month
from Borg Brugghús. Borg Brugghús is a progressive craft brewery founded in 2010. Its principal aim is to incorporate Icelandic cultural traits and local ingredients with its wide variety of beers and pair them with food. Borg Brugghús has already received numerous awards at some of the world's most noted and influential competitions.
The upcoming schedule for the beer of the month was:January
Sæmundur Nr. 49 Mango Pale AleFebruary
Úlfrún Nr. 34 Session IPAMarch
María Nr. 65 WitbierApril and May
Helga Nr. 69 Raspberry Sour
I really liked the Beer of the Month
idea featuring Icelandic craft beers. I also noticed a good liquor selection with several Icelandic gins and even an Icelandic vodka.
Reviewing the menu, I found two main course options, the cold option of Fresh Salad with grilled chicken, oven roast sweet potatoes and honey mustard sauce
, or the hot option of Traditional Icelandic fish stew
plokkfiskur with new potatoes, cheese and rye bread
. However I had pre-ordered the Saga Lamb
online, so I would be sticking with that. I was offered red wine with it, but I instead asked for the first Icelandic beer, Gull. I deployed the tray table from my armrest. Hot towels were brought out next, and then meal service began. One passenger was individually served at a time. The cabin began to smell really good, and my Saga Lamb was served. It was delicious! The warm bread was excellent as well. And the Gull Lager was pretty good too. Both flight attendants were continually passing through the aisles offering drink refills or more bread. It was excellent service.
My first-ever Icelandic beer, Gull:Saga Lamb
:Fresh Salad with chicken and sweet potato
After the meal, the attentive service continued, and a flight attendant came to offer me a new drink. I ordered the February Beer of the Month, a session IPA. It was quickly served, and very good. And then the flight attendant was back again with bottled water. This had been really great, attentive service, with two flight attendants for a business class cabin only half-full.
Icelandair's Beer of the Month
We now had only 45 minutes to go, and the flight was rapidly coming to an end. A flight time of over 3h, and it had gone by fast. My movie finished as a basket of Icelandair dark chocolates was brought out
After my movie had finished came an announcement from the first officer, saying we should be arriving in 35 minutes. The weather report: winds out of the south, light drizzle, cloudy and 7 degrees C or 45 degrees F. "I hope you enjoyed the service onboard." Headphones were then collected.
Arrival announcements were made. "Cabin crew report - cabin is secured".
Our landing into KEF took place at 16:16. "Dear passengers, welcome to Iceland, home of Icelandair." We parked at the gate at 16:21, with a one-hour difference from Amsterdam, making it 15:21 local time. I got to baggage claim and bags started arriving in less than five minutes. Very quick bag delivery!
Icelandair was great. I really liked the Icelandic food, drinks, and IFE information. The service was to a very high standard, and the food was delicious. And I loved sampling two Icelandic beers, including a rotating selection.
My return flight on the Icelandair 757-200 is presented in the next post. At the end of the report I've included some photos from my time in the Reykjavik area.