Ryanair01
Topic Author
Posts: 447
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:27 pm

Icelandair 767 - how does it compare to British Airways, easyjet, Wizz or Wow (RIP)

Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:37 pm

London Heathrow
Keflavik
Icelandair
767-300ER
Economy


Some people might have noticed that I file a lot of trip reports between London and Iceland. Work takes me up there roughly five times a year, plus I travel there socially. Strangely, despite knowing a whole load of people who work for them, I’d never been booked to fly Icelandair. Iceland can be expensive, but our travel managers are smart enough to reduce costs. That very often means ultra-low-cost airlines (RIP Wow).

British Airways https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1434645
easyjet https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1408067&p=20851927&hilit
Wizz https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1433371&p=21753575&hilit
Wow (RIP) https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1400129&p=20672431

Not only was I given the chance to fly Icelandair on this trip, they even arranged a chauffeur to come and take me to the airport. They must be looking to use up the budget before calendar year-end. Rather excitedly I waited for my electric Jaguar to arrive, then 15 minutes before…..

Cancellation
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If they gave me HAVN to try out, it’ll be the first and last booking from us. Thankfully Uber was to the rescue.

Despite the cancellation, I still arrived at Heathrow two hours before departure. That gave me time for some breakfast. Intending to buy the vegetarian breakfast (for a change) I accidentally ordered the vegan one. I hadn’t realised my mistake until the waiter came to check everything was alright. If you don’t want to feel a fool, don’t ask where the egg is in vegan food. Anyhow, the view was great with aircraft rotating more or less in front of me.

Breakfast and view
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With around 90 minutes to go, I headed for security. Due to crush conditions (their words), security was shut. So everyone heading for a flight was queued across check in and at one point out of the door.

Pre-security queues
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When it was eventually time to enter security I was shocked to see every lane in use. It’s very disappointing that such a new terminal, opened in the last few years, should be so inadequate. Once I’d made it through security, which took around 40 minutes, the first thing I saw was my plane.

Tail across the terminal
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Although security had been downright farcical, the main shopping area was nicely decorated.

Terminal
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Awaiting at the gate was TF-ISO, a 19-year-old 767-300ER and one of Icelandair’s newest serviceable aircraft. This airframe has had many users, starting with Air New Zealand, moving to FlyGlobespan (with side leases to Air India and Air Gabon), then to Russia with Transaero and today Icelandair.

Air New Zealand LAX


Fly Globespan Auckland


Air India Mumbai


Transaero Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk


Icelandair Keflavik


Today, 767s are getting a little rare at Heathrow. I’d kind of imaged never flying one again. So it was a pleasure as the type holds happy memories for me.

Aircraft at the gate
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Boarding started about 25 minutes prior to departure by seat row. Despite being a full flight, it was surprisingly orderly.

Cabin at boarding
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The captain came on and gave a short but functional announcement. We pushed back at 1215 precisely, surrounded by lots of United tails.

View from the gate - lots of United tails
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A short crew welcome announcement was followed by the safety video as we pushed back. Somewhat oddly the Safety Video was for an Icelandair 737 MAX. There was an audible and palpable reaction from the passengers, not a good sign for the MAX operators.

I grabbed a pillow from the overhead bin to make space for my bag. Blankets were also available. My seat pocket has an inflight magazine, wrapped in plastic, which I didn’t see any benefit of.

Seat pocket contents
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The magazine featured various articles about the cultural side of Icelandic society.

Magazine
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I’d forgotten how old aircraft types like the 767 scrape their way into the air. Our takeoff roll was long and climb very shallow indeed. That gave some nice views of West London.

Take off over London
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We started to gain height over Hertfordshire north of London as we wove through the arrivals stack. My little phone camera makes this BA A350 seem much further away than it felt! Awesome for avgeeks!

BA A350 overfly
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Icelandair offers preordered meals, which were handed out fairly swiftly. You can see the legroom was fine.

Legroom and boxed meal
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The cabin remained quiet as we flew between Glasgow and Edinburgh, which gave lovely views of the Forth Rail Bridge and Scottish Highlands.

Forth Rail Bridge
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Scottish Highlands
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As we left the UK a cart for each aisle was wheeled down, front to back. Icelandair gives complimentary soft drinks, but no food, not even snacks. The menu is quite large but no different or better to say Ryanair.

Menu
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To be honest I would hope for better on a North America to Europe journey. However, for Europe to Iceland it was fine. Having had a large meal for breakfast I simply opted for a coffee.

Coffee
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The cabin were ‘senior’ and had a knowing air of calm about them. The gentleman who served me was very friendly. Icelandic culture doesn’t lend itself to the hospitality sector, but I think Icelandair gets it.

Every seat featured a personal television, on what seemed to be an Android system. Headsets were available for purchase.

TV/Movies/Audiobooks/Music
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The range of programs was quite broad, but somehow there was little to my taste. I opted for some music. Ironically when I used the lavatory I realised the singer was sat two or three rows ahead of me.

The entertainment was a nice extra for Iceland to Europe, but it wouldn’t have kept me entertained to North America. However, that is largely a matter of taste.

TF-ISO featured an aftermarket Sky Style interior. I really think it suits the 767, perhaps better than the 777. Interior design-wise, it struck me the cabin was like a Mercedes or BMW. That is lots of grey leather. It also reminded me a little of Jetblue.

No universal charge was available, but USB’s were. I was a little unconvinced by the seat, which is an adaptation of a Recaro’s short-haul product. My main gripe is that the tray is so low, it rests on people’s lap. For me, that left it at an angle, which is less than ideal with boiling hot coffee. A basic done badly which spoilt an otherwise nice design.

Rear cabin
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Middle cabin
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Overall, it is a very different look to that specified by Air New Zealand all those years ago.

Cabin as delivered to Air New Zealand


I think one of the exits may have had a slight leak. I say that because there was a terrible and frozen draft along the cabin wall. Touching the cabin wall was like touching the side of a fridge or freezer.

We raced Icelandair’s Aurora Borealis liveried 757 towards the Icelandic coast, but unfortunately, my camera couldn’t get a good photo. If I’m honest, the window was pretty scratched and dirty.

Racing a 757
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None the less we soon made land.

Icelandic coast
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You can’t quite tell from this photo, but with full flaps, the extensions point almost vertically down at the ground.

Flaps
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Overall, Icelandair was a comfortable way to reach Keflavik. Their hard product is without a doubt better than other carriers flying from Europe to Keflavik. Although nicely refurbished, I'd say there were giveaways to the aircrafts age. That is a contrast to the very new frames in my other trip reports linked above. My fare was really expensive (over £200 return), I’m sorry to say I couldn’t justify paying that and would probably stick with more affordable carriers with more modern fleets.
 
Ryanair01
Topic Author
Posts: 447
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:27 pm

Re: Icelandair 767 - how does it compare to British Airways, easyjet, Wizz or Wow (RIP)

Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:15 pm

I thought it might be nice to include a brief summary of my return flight. For me this was quite exciting, being only my third flight aboard a Boeing 757. I decided to take a detour on my way to Keflavik, via some secondary roads. There are not too many airports where you can get this close to a volcano on the way.

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I also popped past a friend’s house in Keflavik town. Believe it or not the purpose was to check her cat, as she was away in London and coming back on the return working of my flight from Gatwick!

From: Keflavik
To: London Gatwick
Aircraft: 757-200
Reg: TF-ISK
Built: 1991


I was a little shocked at just how old my aircraft was. It’s 2019, my plane was built in 1991, I’ll let you do the maths. TF-ISK was delivered 28 years ago to American Airlines. American retired the frame after 21 years in January 2012. After a year in desert storage Icelandair picked the aircraft up and have operated it for six years.

N648AA


TF-ISK


The aircraft has just flown in from Copenhagen and was sat at a remote stand. Therefore it was a free for all queue before a bus ride.

Terminal Scene
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Bus (yes they brought pizza)
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A recorded message on the bus directed passengers to a door by row number. Air stairs were connected to 2L and the rear door. This seemed to disperse the load fairly easily.

Boarding
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I had forgotten how tiny the old overhead bins are. Our cabin crew handed out pillows and blankets, which are stored in the overheads, to create space. It was a welcome touch, even if one driven by necessity.

Cabin
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By 1615 it was fully dark outside, having only got light at about 11am.

Unlike my 767, TF-ISK’s cabin has not been refurbished and is how it left Renton almost 30 years ago. The huge old buttons, wall design and yellow strip lighting gave away the aircraft’s senior years. It did feel a little museum-like.

Overhead
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Having said that, everything was in a good state of repair.

When taking delivery, Icelandair replaced the seats. This aircraft was fitted with an earlier version of the same seat found in the 767. However, it didn’t suffer from the silly low table. I actually found it to be rather comfortable. Legroom was more than adequate too.

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After take-off, cabin lights remained dimmed for about an hour. This was quite relaxing, but a little odd as we took off at 1630.

Cabin dimmed
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I had forgotten, but somehow the 757 feels like a very stable and calm aircraft to fly. It seemed fairly quiet for an aircraft of that generation too. All up, it’s a shame for me not to have flown more of them.

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A little after an hour the lights were turned up and service began. The trolley was a little slow, taking half an hour to reach me. I must say the crew member greeted me like an old friend.

Coffee
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Cabin
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It wasn’t long before I picked out Birmingham and we began our descent into Gatwick. We circled for a short while, before a firm but smooth landing. Nobody had come to collect the rubbish, so I stuffed my cup in the seat pocket.

We taxied up to the North Terminal, which was fairly quiet.

Gatwick
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It took a little while for the airbridge to join, but the crowd dispersed very quickly when it did.

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Overall it was a friendly and comfortable flight. Flying on an obviously old aircraft was fun for me, but I’m not sure for normal passengers. Entertainment and buy on board were as the outbound flight. What do you think?
 
1989worstyear
Posts: 707
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:53 pm

Re: Icelandair 767 - how does it compare to British Airways, easyjet, Wizz or Wow (RIP)

Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:35 am

They're only 5-6 years older than today's A320 CEO.
Stuck at age 15 thanks to the certification date of the A320-200 and my parents' decision to postpone having a kid by 3 years. At least there's Dignitas...
 
FriscoHeavy
Posts: 1618
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 4:31 pm

Re: Icelandair 767 - how does it compare to British Airways, easyjet, Wizz or Wow (RIP)

Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:22 am

Great read. We flew Icelandair this past summer and flew on both the 757 and 767.

A couple of corrections though:

1. They weren’t using ‘full flaps’.

2. The age of the plane has nothing to do with the takeoff performance out of LHR. That was purely a function of it being a significantly derated takeoff thrust setting.
The 767 actually has good performance when it needs to.

Cheers!
Whatever
 
Chemist
Posts: 655
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:46 am

Re: Icelandair 767 - how does it compare to British Airways, easyjet, Wizz or Wow (RIP)

Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:54 pm

I've flown a few times on Icelandair and felt they always had planes in good condition (interior) regardless of age, and very good service. I'd choose them again, thanks for the report!

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