Friday, 14 September 2012

My Iceland Air Experience

I spent the last eighteen days moving one old residence in Germany, to another....in an effort to put the old place up for sale.  To make this trip....I finally flew Iceland Air....which is an interesting deal to lay out to folks.

Iceland Air isn't a big airline, and they function mostly like a discount airline.  There's only around five US airports that they fly into (Dulles is one, along with Seattle, Denver, Orlando, NY City).  They fly into around twenty European cities.  Their prices?  If you plan sixty to ninety days out....they usually come out as the cheaper airline, but you have to fly out of one of these five US airports to make this all work.

So you fly for 5.5 hours from Virginia, and arrive in Iceland.  You could arrange for three days lay-over and then fly onto Europe.  In my case, I got off.....spent about 75 minutes on the ground, and then boarded the next plane for Frankfurt.....which only took 3.5 hours.  I'm not a person who likes to stay seated for hours and hours.....so this 75 minutes on the ground actually helped a good bit on this trip.

Their chief positive?  They have the most leg room of any airline I've flown in ten years.  They didn't even want to charge extra for it (like those United guys).  The seats?  Very comfortable.

The biggest negative?  This little airport in Iceland is a pretty small operation.  There's only thirty gates, with barely fifty seats in each waiting area, for the 150 passengers who are waiting to board.  The food?  Mostly what you'd expect at a Greyhound bus operation (1.5 stars on my scale), and fairly expensive.

Then there's the bathroom issue.  I went to the restroom to find two stalls and three urinals for an area with heavy traffic.  It felt like a bus station in Memphis.  On the return trip.....I went to another part of the airport, and found the same situation with the next rest room.  On the women's side.....they actually had a line at the door.  I don't know how these Iceland guys design bathrooms, but there's something not right here.

They really do push the idea of you staying over for a couple of days.  There's plenty of hotel action and rental cars.  I'm not sure of the vast tourist appeal of Iceland, but it might be worth staying a couple of days.  There's some lava fields, a glacier or two, and some whale action.  A word of warning on food.....be prepared to toss out $50 for a pizza and two beers if you are traveling as a couple.  Food just ain't cheap there unless you eat the local fish.

Finally, a word or two on Icelandic comedies.  The plane had video capabilities and offered up a number of Icelandic movies and TV shows.  Course, they only make a few each year (there's only like 300k Icelandic folks out there).  I had a chance to watch this 2007 show called "Day-Shift", which they apparently only made like fifteen-odd episodes.  I was shocked.....it was as good as the Andy Griffith Show from the 1960s.  If you get a chance to download or buy the CD collection for the show.....go for it.