Iceland is the very first place in Europe that I visited, as transiting through London Heathrow Airport doesn’t count. To get there, Icelandair economy class proved to be cost effective and so this is how the flight experience was back in 2005.
FI – London Heathrow to Keflavík (LHR-KEF)
8 April 2005
Boeing 757-200 – TF-FIV – “Katla”
Seat: Economy Class 24F
Check-in at Terminal 2 in Heathrow took a while, even though I was there 2.5 hours before departure. Someone had a load of live birds on trolleys that took up quite a bit of time, and I ended up being beckoned by the Business Class counter to check-in there. At Heathrow, Icelandair is handled by AFSL, which are Air France staff.
Excess Luggage Issues
I had called through beforehand as my luggage is 31kg, and was told that I would be charged £10 (A$30) per kilo for the excess. I managed to secrete quite a bit into my carry-on bag, and my bag was 27.6kg. They let you get away with 25kg, so I had to go and pay for an additional 3kg.
What they do is check you in, and hold your boarding pass while you go to the Icelandair counter to pay for the excess, then you go back with the receipt and get given the boarding pass. Not too bad, though of course I’d rather not have paid the extra £30.
Icelandair Economy Class
Eventually, the flight was assigned a gate, and we boarded. If you’ve never been to Heathrow Terminal 2, you probably won’t know that the boarding gates look like relics from the 1960s. We were boarded by rows, and eventually I was onboard.
Take-off was on time at 1300. The safety video is pretty basic and straightforward, which was alright. After take-off, there is a video which plays that welcomes you aboard Icelandair, which tells you all about where to find out how much the drinks are, and what kind of service to expect, which I thought was a nice touch. The woman in it is very attractive and has a British accent, which I found amusing!
On Board Service
Really nice hot food was then served – chicken. I also had soft drink and sat back and watched the in-flight video, which was a television show (forget which), interspersed with ads for Iceland.
The inflight magazine is called Atlantica, and it has really interesting articles, as well as a lot of information on Iceland. I actually went to the coffee shop they recommended (Te & Kaffi) and it served great coffee and super food! I highly recommend it. We arrived on time.
The Keflavík Taxi Horror
I made the huge error of taking a taxi to the hotel, which is 50km away (as Keflavík is a totally different town to Reykjavik) and it cost me 8,000 Icelandic Kroner – A$170 or US$140. Take the bus instead! On the upside, you can change your money at the airport into Icelandic money for no fee, which is fantastic!
FI – Keflavík to London Heathrow (KEF-LHR)
12 April 2005
Boeing 757-200 – TF-FIO – “Krafla”
Seat: Economy Class 11A
After a lovely visit to Iceland, I took the Reykjavik Excursions bus to the airport, which cost me 1,000 Kroner – much cheaper than a taxi! Arrived there at 5:30am and checked in. It was pretty swift, even though the airport was packed out. As Reykjavik doesn’t have the Heathrow rule of “only one carry-on item per passenger”, I was able to put more stuff into a second carry-on, meaning I only had 24kg in the big bag, and hence no extra charges.
Boarding In Iceland
From there, you wait outside your gate, until they call you inside. You then enter a smallish lounge, and everyone waits until they unrope the escalators, and then it’s a mass stampede to the aircraft. It worked well though, because I positioned myself close by and was one of the first to board.
Row 10 was the first economy row, before that it’s all Business Class, and I was in 11A. The flight, once again, was packed to the gills with people, which is great for Icelandair.
Inflight To London
Again, the safety video, then we took off and were handed landing cards for Heathrow. I borrowed a pen off a flight attendant to fill it in, on condition I gave it back to her, which I did.
Another superb hot meal, this time it was pasta – quite filling and really very tasty. The television on this sector wasn’t as exciting, so I passed the time looking out the window and relaxing. The seat pitch in Economy isn’t bad at all – I never felt like I was cramped or anything like that. However, the F/A did tell the person in front of me to put the seat up for service, so that we had room to eat.
I found the crew (on both flights) to be exceptionally attentive, nice, smiley and all the rest of it. The food was absolutely delicious on both legs, which was unexpected as I really didn’t know what to expect.
I strongly recommend a 4 day visit to Iceland. It’s inexpensive if you eat fast food (like I did, the restaurant prices are scandalous), and the tour prices are reasonable too. Reykjavik Excursions does numerous tours, and I enjoyed myself on the two I did – Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon. Hope you enjoyed reading!
And that is how I wrote about the flights back in 2005. Icelandair economy class clearly impressed me at the time. One thing I’ll never forget is my ever increasing dismay as the meter in that taxi kept getting higher and higher. Just under half my budget for the entire visit went on that taxi fare!
Have you ever flown Icelandair economy or Saga class? Have you been to Iceland and what did you think? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Flo Weiss on this site and Keflavik Airport runways by SuperJet International, both via Wikimedia Commons.
Cabin interior from 2007 by Konstantin von Wedelstaedt on Jetphotos and London Heathrow Terminal 2 image by Thomas Nugent / Heathrow Terminal 2 / CC BY-SA 2.0.