THE FLIGHT: AEU0502 between London Gatwick and Keflavik International Airport (for Reykjavik), Iceland. The Boeing 737-700 was ‘operated by Astraeus’ departing 10.50.
THE CHECK-IN: There’s a balance between arriving early and hanging around in the airport, versus leaving it late and hopefully going from check-in to boarding without retail distractions along the way. We went for the former, which meant a queueless check-in and speedy security with time to enjoy a coffee and croissant before boarding.
THE BOARDING PROCESS: Boarding was said to be open from an hour beforehand but actual boarding from a fairly remote gate was much later than that.
THE SEAT: Although Iceland Express is a low-cost carrier the airline does allot seats which avoids the unseemly scramble familiar to regular LCC passengers. We were given seats in the exit row and the crew were assiduous in ensuring that we understood and were happy to comply with the emergency procedures. Seats were unusually comfortable for an LCC.
THE SERVICE: Icelandic newspapers were brought round followed by the opportunity to invest 1500ISK (approximately £10) in a hand-held entertainment system which includes movies and music. This was soon followed by the food and drink service which included a reasonable range of snacks and Starbucks coffee – two coffees and a bottled water were £7. After this came the duty-free trolley following the announcement of several special offers. The flight crew were friendly and efficient and spoke, needless to say, faultless English. The one surprise was the complete lack of announcements from the flight deck.
THE DETAILS: Iceland Express operates three-times-weekly between London Gatwick and Reykjavik, with late morning departures on Mondays and Saturdays and an evening departure on Sundays. From June 1 to August 31 the airline also operates services from Belfast, Dublin and Edinburgh. Iceland Express also has onward services to New York Newark (year-round) and, in the summer months, Boston, Chicago and Winnipeg.
A good quality product. It’s a one-class airline and buy-on-board for food, drink and entertainment but otherwise a world away from traditional low-cost carriers. The flight departed ten minutes late – in spite of the early boarding – but landed bang on time in what is arguably the world’s most pleasant airport. (Certainly the best airport in Europe according to the 2009 Airports Council International passenger quality survey.)
Managing editor, Selling Short Breaks & Holidays