I recently flew Icelandair from London Heathrow to Boston and back, of course via Reykjavik (it always takes me at least three attempts to get the spelling right).
It was my second time flying with the airline and I was again pleasantly surprised.
Aside from the quirky detail of naming planes after Icelandic volcanoes, the appealing thing about Icelandair is the price. A trip from London to Canada or the US (at least the East Coast) can cost less than €400!
If you don’t like connecting (well, who does?), you will be glad to know that Keflavík airport, where everybody connects, is pretty small, which ensures the layovers are quick and pain-free. Besides, Iceland’s geographic location on the northern route means that even with a layover your trip won’t be too long – reaching Boston took me around 9.5 hours, versus the 7.5 hours for a direct flight.
The planes I was on were comfortable and had a nice 2-3-2 configuration, perfect for those travelling as a couple and decent for the solo traveller, who will only have to disturb one fellow passenger (or climb over them if they are heavy sleepers) to reach the lavatories.
All seats had their own USB charging port (it is somehow odd to reach North America on a full battery) and a screen… I found that the choice of programs and films on the inflight entertainment system was rather limited (I can only watch so many reruns of The Big Bang Theory), although it is nothing to quibble about, really. Remember to pack earphones… they cost €6 on board!
The price of the ticket might be low, but you will be expected to pay for meals. A terrible direction more and more airlines are moving towards! I didn’t purchase any food this time around, but I remember from my previous trip that the mini-burgers were delish… which you would hope at €13.
For those of you who can’t stay away from their Facebooks or Snapchats, or simply have to send important work emails, Icelandair offers gate-to-gate WiFi at reasonable prices (which is a perk, especially at a time when Internet on European short-haul flights is almost unheard of).
The greatest thing Icelandair offers is by far the free stop-over – you buy a ticket to North America or Europe via Reykjavik and you can spend up to a week on this magical island of geysers, glaciers and waterfalls at no extra cost. Iceland’s dangerously unregulated tourism industry is booming (with over 30,000 tourists engulfing this nation of 320,000 people each day, and many locals complaining about soaring cost of living) and it is indeed not hard to see why so many flock to this tiny rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean… but you should be warned, a holiday here doesn’t come cheap these days. Just try to rent a hotel room and you’ll see what I mean.
- Cheap tickets and extensive network of destinations in Europe and North America
- Free stop-over/quick layovers
- 2-3-2 configuration on airplanes, ideal for solo traveller and couples
- Gate-to-gate Wi-Fi available
- Ticket changes are very expensive. They can easily cost you more than the ticket (if you are one to often change your travel plans, as am I, Icelandair might not be your best option)
- Food onboard must be purchased, and it is rather expensive
- Limited choice on in-flight entertainment compared to other carriers
Have you flown with Icelandair? What did you think about it?