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Iceland often has flight delays - be careful about booking same day activities

Just thought I would post a PSA. In the Rick Steves Iceland book, which is excellent btw, Rick recommends doing the Blue Lagoon either the day you land or the day you leave because of its proximity to the airport. Our flight to Iceland was delayed three hours and our flight leaving Iceland was delayed one hour. The Hertz rental car agent told us to make sure to check our flight status before turning in our rental car, because flights are frequently delayed on the island, so she said we could keep the car and not be stuck at the airport if our flight was delayed. After experiencing the winds on the island, which were incredibly strong, I can see why flight delays are frequent. So, I would definitely plan your Blue Lagoon day for the day you leave instead of the day you arrive.

Posted by
2237 posts

It depends. This is somewhat seasonal. In four trips there so far none of our flights have been delayed, and two of those were in October and one in February. The other was in August. We do make sure we are back close enough to the airport our last night in case of any issues.

Posted by
1101 posts

@mikliz97 - funny, maybe the fall and winter winds are milder than the spring? Who knows. I just know that I would have been really sad to miss the Blue Lagoon if I had booked it the day we landed (and I would have been just as sad about losing all the money, it ain't cheap, ha!). Doing it the morning we left made for a relaxing last day activity.

Posted by
3355 posts

Thanks for the heads up! I was just saying to someone how much I like Iceland Air because they never change their flight times ( unlike ahem, American). We have flown them 4 times without issue.

Posted by
2237 posts

Kelly--We have done BL both upon arrival as well as right before flying home. I prefer it on our last day as it is too relaxing for day of arrival, lol. We are going on our 5th trip next month and out daughter has been 3 times and our son twice. None of our flights have been delayed. Trust me, the winds in the winter are strong! One day of one of our trips every road in the country was closed. It really is just very random, but I would not say flight delays are often, IME.

Posted by
101 posts

Coming back from Europe in April, there were terrible winds at Keflavik. My brother and his family left a couple of days before my family did, and they ended up with a two hour delay from CDG and sitting on the tarmac in KEF for nearly 2 hours because no planes already there could leave to free up a gate. All in all, it took them about 36 hours to get home (since they missed the last flight out of Boston to their home city).

We left two days later and our tickets on Icelandair were canceled a few hours before the flight and we were rebooked onto an Air France flight. I called IA and asked if it was because of weather, and they said yes - but when we eventually got home we saw the flight from Iceland was landing around the same time with no delays (early even), and the flight from CDG left on time as well. Still no idea what happened, but the Air France flight was one of the best flights I've ever taken so I was ok with the change!

Posted by
2237 posts

Yes, the winds are notorious there. That is why Boeing used to go there do to test flights in the wind. They don't anymore though. Still, I would not use the word often for flight delays.

Posted by
7560 posts

Our flight KEF-EWR was about 45 minutes late yesterday. I'd comment that while KEF (international airport) is sparkling-new and attractive, it is very small. So small, that in peak season, the SINGLE escalator to the departure level (check-in is at street level) can be backed up to the Security entry line. That means the escalator gets turned off. And if you do have Imperialist-Security-Line privileges, it is really hard to get to that shorter queue.

It's also worth knowing that Icelandair check-in is in Area A, in case you enter by a door not near their desks. To my surprise, the Economy check-in line (2PM, Sunday, July) looked quite reasonable. It seems like to-Canada passengers need a passport inspection (by Icelandair personnel, I mean) before they go to their separate check-in desk. Their passport gets a sticker on the back.

It seems unique to me that an arriving KEF passenger can encounter food options that are ".... Reserved for Departing and Transit Customers Only." And yes, they checked my (arriving) boarding pass and I had to put my food back.

Another Blue Lagoon note:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/iceland/blue-lagoon-for-2-nights-or-1-night-before-departure

Posted by
3355 posts

Nodding my head about showing boarding pass at KEF! And passport! My god, I just showed my passport five minutes ago and you want to see it again??!! I swear, they want to see it everytime you take 10 steps in any direction!

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for all this input. We’re staying relatively close to airport for early flight out. Will keep an eye out for delays.