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Iceland Packing and Icelandic Air

I am flying Alaska Air to Seattle and then Icelandic Air to Iceland for 2 weeks this coming August. I have a couple of questions for the group in terms of what to pack and the size of bags allowed.

BAGS
My ticket actually says this for baggage:
CARRY-ON BAG:
SJC-SEA: MAX 2PC FREE OF CHARGE CARRY ON PERSONAL ITEM AND/OR CARRY ON UP TO 45 LI, 115 LCM
SEA-KEF: MAX 2PC FREE OF CHARGE 10KG 22LB 55X40X20 CM
KEF-PDX: MAX 2PC FREE OF CHARGE 10KG 22LB 55X40X20 CM
PD- SJC: MAX 2PC FREE OF CHARGE CARRY ON PERSONAL ITEM AND/OR CARRY ON UP TO 45 LI, 115 LCM
LB = WEIGHT IN POUNDS, KG = WEIGHT IN KILOS, LI = LINEAR INCHES, LCM = LINEAR CENTIMETERS, MAX = MAXIMUM ALLOWED, PC = NUMBER OF PIECES

So, 55X40X20 CM is 21.65 x 15.74 x 7.87 inches.

My roller bag won't meet these dimensions, and I don't really want to buy another one, so am thinking of a backpack and tote. My Rick Steves backpack fits all the dimensions but the 7.87 inches depth. It's 9". Has anyone flown Icelandic air? If I under pack, so it can squish, should I be okay? Do they weigh or measure bags typically? We are in Saga Premium, so I thought maybe they might be less picky in that class? But I really don't have any idea.

I was thinking of a tote for a second bag. I would put that under seat. Then I can use it on excursion days and for flights, have what I want under seat with easy access.

PACKING
I know Iceland will be colder than what I'm used to (50ish degrees is average). Our plans are 5 days in Reykjavik, with Golden and Silver Circle all day tours, a day at the Old Harbor with a puffin and whale watching boat tour and a day around town on the hop on/hop off bus. Then a 7 day small ship cruise, with ports virtually every day (on Windstar). They include: Heimaey Island, Seydisfjordur, Akureyri, Isafjordur and Grundarfjordur.
I was thinking I could use Athleta type pants with tights underneath and long sleeved tops with a cami or undershirt. Then maybe fleece with a windbreaker/rain coat type jacket.
Any other suggestions? Do I need rain pants and hiking boots? If so, does anyone have recommendations for more budget styles?
Windstar has no self serve laundry, but I can buy a laundry package for about $100 for the week, with a 24 hour turn around (and day of, if it's received by 9am). I'm thinking seriously of purchasing this, so I can reduce my packing. I know I can hand wash, but given what I'm already paying, what's another $100??

I know I'm planning early, but if I am going to need new/different items, I want time to shop and watch for sales or even buy used. It's also true I just like the packing/planning process!

Posted by
15277 posts

This is my experience only and that doesn't mean it's policy.

I have flown Icelandair numerous times. Always in Saga class. In many cases, they check luggage by asking people to put it in the sizer either as they are boarding of having them called up to the gate.

I travel with a carry on bag that is 55 x 35 x 23 cm and a personal item.

When it's my turn, they look at my boarding pass, and wave me along. I've never been asked to put my bag in the sizer. (Don't forget you get two carry on bags plus a personal item in Saga.)

By the way, on your return out of KEF, you get to use the Fast Track security lane since you are in Saga. You can also go to the Icelandair lounge. It's really nice with a great assortment of food and beverages.

Posted by
2089 posts

We have flown Icelandair a number of times from SEA, including just last week. They are very strict about size and weight. Even the Saga class people last week had to put their things in the sizer. They had one agent doing that for every person. If your pack squishes then you are fine as it just has to fit.

As for Iceland itself in August, yes you will want hiking boots and rain pants. Make sure your jacket is waterproof, not just resistant. We were in the Westfjords last August for 10 days and it got chilly about half of those says. You definitely want layers. I wore fleece lined leggings most days, but real hiking pants for hiking days. Do not forget waterproof gloves and a fleece or wool hat/beanie. Ball caps will just fly away.

Posted by
7368 posts

We've been on several Windstar cruises, and usually take the laundry package. It's very convenient, and I agree with your assessment. You don't need hiking boots to walk on the trodden earth paths at the high-traffic waterfalls. But the same waterfalls might be behind a grassy meadow that is soggy wet, with mud rising around your sneakers with every step. And there are some energetic Windstar outings (they have activity level ratings, for older guests) are an hour each way on improved trails but with multiple muddy segments and steep segments. At least one hiking pole is recommended (by me.) Example: "Dynjandi Waterfall & The Westfjords"

Trip Report (auto portion): https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/western-iceland-by-car-summer-2023
Windstar review: https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=702974

Posted by
150 posts

I appreciate the responses. I apologize or my tardiness in responding....I've been out of town.

When it's my turn, they look at my boarding pass, and wave me along.
I've never been asked to put my bag in the sizer. (Don't forget you
get two carry on bags plus a personal item in Saga.) By the way, on
your return out of KEF, you get to use the Fast Track security lane
since you are in Saga. You can also go to the Icelandair lounge. It's
really nice with a great assortment of food and beverages.

We have flown Icelandair a number of times from SEA, including just
last week. They are very strict about size and weight. Even the Saga
class people last week had to put their things in the sizer. They had
one agent doing that for every person. If your pack squishes then you
are fine as it just has to fit. As for Iceland itself in August, yes
you will want hiking boots and rain pants. Make sure your jacket is
waterproof, not just resistant. We were in the Westfjords last August
for 10 days and it got chilly about half of those says. You definitely
want layers. I wore fleece lined leggings most days, but real hiking
pants for hiking days. Do not forget waterproof gloves and a fleece or
wool hat/beanie. Ball caps will just fly away.

Thank you Frank. I didn't realize that about Icelandic Air. Thank you mikliz97. Your post and Franks are good examples of different people having different experiences with the same airline! I appreciate your packing advice.

We've been on several Windstar cruises, and usually take the laundry
package. It's very convenient, and I agree with your assessment. You
don't need hiking boots to walk on the trodden earth paths at the
high-traffic waterfalls. But the same waterfalls might be behind a
grassy meadow that is soggy wet, with mud rising around your sneakers
with every step. And there are some energetic Windstar outings (they
have activity level ratings, for older guests) are an hour each way on
improved trails but with multiple muddy segments and steep segments.
At least one hiking pole is recommended (by me.) Example: "Dynjandi
Waterfall & The Westfjords"

Tim, Thank you for your suggestions and the links to your reports.