Airline: Eagle Air
Aircraft: Jetstream 32
Reykjavik - Hofn - Reykjavik
Taking a joy flight in the COVID era might seem crazy, perhaps even irresponsible. However, Iceland had no community COVID when I flew. Actually if anything, I was the risk. None the less, I’d passed a COVID-19 swab test 13 days beforehand, so the chances of my having it were very low indeed. That, it must be said, is a privileged position.
I arrived at Eagle Air’s terminal around 8am. Eagle Air operate from an aircraft hanger at Reykjavik’s downtown airport. Some of my fellow passengers actually arrived by electric scooter, because it is very central.
I drove and enjoyed the free car parking. How many airports have free car parking today? Just across from my car was a Canadian registered Dash 8, transatlantic by Dash 8 might be rather interesting….
Inside, clearly most passengers arrive 10-20 minutes before departure. That means very little space is needed. Customer facilities are of course minimal, but the waiting room had some vending machines, tables, newspapers and free coffee which you can take aboard. For such a journey I thought it was rather nice.
About ten minutes before departure, boarding was announced. There was no security or boarding pass checks. One thing I noticed was no departure board!
Awaiting me was TF-ORG. She was built for Japan Airlines in 1996 and flew from Hiroshima. Later Eastern Airways returned her to the UK and following a stint in Turkey Eagle Air purchased her.
Legroom was a little tight and there were no armrests. For a short flight, it was more than adequate.
Our captain welcomed us aboard over the intercom in Icelandic and a safety demonstration was played using a Samsung Galaxy attached to the bulk head. Eagle Air’s video featured kids looking after their teddy bears, which was cute. The cabin was very bright and airy, with big picture windows. We took off using the main runway and very soon were flying above the cloud.
At first I was very disappointed, because this flight’s purpose for me, was to fly over the ice glazier. Luckily after ten minutes the cloud cleared. Initially, the terrain seemed quite dry, except for some lakes. The water’s colour was similar to the blue lagoon, except for a small lake which was much darker in colour.
There were also some craters where the ground became darker.
Then all of a sudden, ice appeared, in beautiful patterns almost resembling a thumbprint.
After long it was ice cap so far as the eye could see, except where there were patches of geothermal activity.
Eventually, we reached the other side and black volcanic mountains begun to emerge.
We then descended down a mountain pass, next to the famous iceberg lagoon and diamond beach. I was sat on the wrong side to get pictures but could see it through the opposite window. Our captain announced this to the passengers, which surprised me for such a routine local route.
With the wind behind us, our landing into Hofn was fast and we used up the 1,500m runway.
Hofn Airport is very small. This cute little dog was sat patiently waiting for their owner to return.
Meanwhile, I got attacked by some Arctic Birds, perhaps defending their eggs or chicks nearby. Hofn is a nice little town, mainly focused on fishing and tourism. Fishing ships come in at one end of the harbour. Their catch is then taken into one end of the dockside factory, processed and dispatched from the other. It is very efficient.
Returning, I arrived about ten minutes before departure and my boarding pass was already printed awaiting me.
Our captain greeted passengers at the door this time. Realising I was aboard, on this flight announcements were in both Icelandic and English. A nice touch. The safety video played again and soon we were off.
This time I’d brought a coffee from the terminal with me.
Sadly, the clouds had rolled in which meant I couldn’t see anything. That was fine by me, as it gave me a chance to relax. Around 20 minutes out our captain advised that there might be some turbulence upon descent due to heavy cloud cover and winds. Thankfully it was all fairly smooth. The venerable Jetstream proved a surprisingly comfortable and stable aircraft.
The cloud broke just as we approached Reykjavik harbour, which gave nice views of downtown.
Landing was firm. Following a quick taxi to Eagle Air’s terminal, from leaving my seat I was sat in the car within 90 seconds.
Although I’d flown over Greenland and other similar places at 40,000 feet, flying much lower at 17,000 feet was a completely different experience and a rather magical one. Thank you for reading!