Trip Report Iceland continued

2) The Golden Circle Direct tour was a 6 hour trip, including direct hotel pick up, and a few delays/detours because of late travelers. Although we did not stop at Parliament, we lucked out with not just sunlight, but sunshine - making it clear enough to take plenty of photos from our bus at Thingvellier, of Viking horses grazing and sheep, of volcanoes and glaciers, of small towns where everyone has a jacuzzi in their backyard, and Halldor Laxness' house!! That last bit was a great surprise. I'd read The Fish Can Sing and Independent People just weeks before my trip. Excellent books - the latter won Laxness the noble prize in 1955.   A) The Geysir spouted every 5-10 min, sometimes twice in a few seconds yet I was only able to capture the steam that remained. And yet we got sprayed. Very unexpected but Moreso funny. B) Gulfoss was awe inspiring. I imagined it to be thunderous and chilly - a bright rainbow stretched across the width and the lookout points were very peaceful.
C) Thingvellir Park was truly amazing. Its a UNESCO world heritage site. We stopped exactly where the North American plate and Eurasian plate meet. 3) We also used Reykjavik Excursions for our morning flybus pick up to the airport. The shuttle arrived promptly at 430 am but immediately turned off Laugavegur, where our hotel was.  This was a disappointment for me because I wanted to take photos of all the party people. The music is still bumpin, the sun is out. I don't think there even is a last call. 

Posted by Teresa
Seattle
464 posts

Sounds like a terrific time! I'm wondering if you flew Icelandair and, if so, what you thought.

Posted by andrea
san diego, ca, USA
44 posts

Hi Teresa, We did fly Icelandair and it was on the recommendation of a very savvy traveller. I loved it! We were given bottles of glacial water as we stepped onto the plane. Pillows had a little Icelandic lullaby and the headrests had translation for words like thank you. I'm not a fan of airplane food but their selection made me a believer! I had a the hot chicken meal and fruit. The flightprices are much lower than other airlines and they offer a multiday layover option. We flew san Diego to seattle to Keflavik. Stayed 3 nights in Reykjavik. Flew to Helsinki. And well be heading to the states with a stop in Reykjavik then a stop in Seattle in a few days. The flight was $1300. I booked 2 months in advance. I would definitely fly Icelandair again!

Posted by Teresa
Seattle
464 posts

Hmmm ... I'm really going to seriously consider Icelandair next time I go to Europe. Considered them for my trip this autumn but I couldn't quite make the timing work for my schedule what with the "forced" layover. There's always a next time, however! Thanks for the review. :)

Posted by andrea
san diego, ca, USA
44 posts

Hi teresa, Glad I could help. I forgot to mention... Icelandair - at least Keflavik - has an extremely user friendly check in system. There are at least double the number of kiosks you would see for any other flight. These kiosks however are more conveniently located against the walls and print out baggage tags. Luggage drop off is extremely fast. Once at the desk, your luggage is placed on one conveyor belt, which slides over to another conveyor belt. I've travelled around the world and never had such an efficient experience. Airports tend to be the most difficult part of travel for me personally.

Posted by andrea
san diego, ca, USA
44 posts

Hi Melanie, Yes it was definitely in coach! Andrea

Posted by Melanie
Centreville, VA, USA
7 posts

Andrea:
I am booked on a flight in June on Iceland Airlines. Please tell me that the amazing service which you wrote about is offered in coach-economy. I thought that website said we did not even get a meal. Any thoughts are appreciated!

Posted by Connie
Everett, WA
827 posts

Thanks for the great report. We are flying Icelandair in September. We will have 3 nights in Iceland and then continue on to Amsterdam. It is nice to read some first hand information since this web site generally doesn't get that much info about this "almost Europe" country. One thing about Icelandair that I really appreciated was their one way prices. Because we were using air miles (from another airline) to come home, we only needed tickets to fly over. We tried the US airlines, but their one way tickets cost more than round trip! Icelandair charged us exactly half of a round trip ticket. We purchased the tickets in January for $420 each one way. Add in the fact that they let you layover for up to 7 days at no additional cost and you can't beat it. I thought I would miss SAS when they left Seattle, but Icelandair has been a wonderful replacement. Good to hear they are pleasant to fly as well.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
671 posts

We've flown Icelandair to Europe twice in recent years, a good experience. Booking several months ahead has gotten us exit row seats. Food isn't free but it's good. You stop in Reykjavik for about an hour early in the morning, where your immigration clearance covers all the European countries in the Schengen area. As Andrea said, they don't charge for a layover, and they have hotel packages that look attractive (we haven't done though). Iceland is beautiful and interesting, I'd avoid the winter though. They fly from most big cities in the northern US, but not always daily. In summer they also fly from Orlando and some other southern places. They connect to most big cities in northern Europe, especially Scandinavia but also as far south as Barcelona and Milan. Overall it takes longer than nonstop, but you get to stretch your legs in Reykjavik and save a lot of $$. Our only problem has been seismic. Iceland has active volcanic areas and twice eruptions have prevented our return through Iceland (springs 2010 and 2011). We hesitate to mention this for fear of being identified as the cause of these eruptions, if Icelandair figures out the pattern they may not sell us tickets again! But in both cases they booked us on nonstops with other airlines the same day as our flights, getting us home several hours sooner one year and an hour later the next. So I recommend Icelandair, but if you see us on the flight over, make other arrangements for your flight home! Thanks for an interesting trip report, Andrea. Hope you enjoyed your Seattle stopover.