After flying Icelandair’s workhorse Boeing 757 aircraft on a number of occasions I flew one of its four larger Boeing 767 between Amsterdam and Reykjavik and enjoyed the economy experience on this shorter flight.
As with all Icelandair aircraft that are named for Icelandic volcanoes this aircraft bears the name Eldgjá after an 8 kilometer-long volcanic fissure in south Iceland.
photo by author
The twin-aisle Boeing 767-300 jets are configured to seat 262 passengers – 80 more than the Boeing 757 -and with the increased passenger capacity the airline uses them on its most popular European routes including Amsterdam and Copenhagen and to key North American destinations New York, Chicago and Boston. Eldgjá was given a cabin retrofit before it entered Icelandair service in February, 2017 after almost two decades flying for Air New Zealand .
As I usually travel solo one of the things I’ve always appreciate about flying the Boeing 767 is that it features a two-seat on either side of a center three-seat section so occupying a window seat means I only have to step past one other passenger instead of two as is the case with a narrow-body aircraft with a single center aisle and three seats on either side as the layout on both the Boeing 737 and 757.
The economy seat pitch – the space between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front of it – ranges from 31 – 33 inches on Icelandair’s Boeing 767 while the seat width is 17.8 inches and in an era of shrinking personal space on board these measurements make for a more comfortable in-flight experience on the 3-hour flight Amsterdam – Reykjavik but would be even more appreciated on longer flights.
photo by author
Every seat has an inflight entertainment monitor with access to a choice of television, movies and music but note that “B” and “F” seats have a black box for the entertainment unit located beneath the seat which reduces foot and storage space. A USB port also allows charging of devices.
photo by author
The airline boasts of having 49,380 minutes of entertainment available to view which includes newer movie releases such as Tomb Raider and Black Panther and older films including The Lion King and Pulp Fiction along with televisions series, documentaries and Iceland travel videos. Bring you own ear buds as earphones are sold for EUR 8 or CAD$12 by flight attendants shortly after take-off.
Icelandair flights do not include free meals bur rather a choice of buy-on-board food from the Saga Kitchen including pizza, sandwiches and small pair of burgers from Reykjavik-based ‘Hamburger Factory’. Prices are fairly high for in-flight fare but you can save a few Euros if you take one of the combo deals with food & beer or save 20% by purchasing your onboard meal up to 48-hours prior to departure. Payment for snacks, beer or food is by credit card only but members of the Saga Club frequent flyer program may redeem their points but since point levels cannot be verified while in-flight a credit card is also needed in case the member’s account has an insufficient number of points to pay for the purchase. I used some of my accumulated points to pay for food and it worked fairly smoothly except in one case where my credit card was charged in error. Membership cards are sent out after an account earns its first points and this card should be presented to the flight attendant with a clear statement that you wish to redeem Saga Club points for a food purchase.
The Icelandair boarding process is by row numbers from back-to-front of the aircraft instead of the zone system introduced by all major North American airlines in recent years. For flyers like me travelling on ‘Economy Light’ fares which do not include checked bags it was nice not to have to be concerned about finding overhead bin space when in a late boarding zone as is the case with most other airlines. The whole boarding process wasn’t as smooth as it could’ve been as the announcements made at the gate at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport weren’t loud enough to be clearly heard above the chatter of the masses squeezed into a narrow boarding gate.
Many flights arriving into Keflavik International Airport near Reykjavik do not pull up to a jetway so passengers walk down stairs to waiting buses for the short ride to the terminal. Since Icelandic weather can be breezy and cool I’d recommend having a sweater or coat handy for this fresh air disembarkation process.
photo by author
The Icelandair economy service on this flight matched those on my past journeys to and from Europe so there’s much to like as the crew is friendly, the in-flight entertainment and food service solid if a tad pricey, the seat comfortable and no extra fees for advance seat assignment. My ticket Edmonton – Amsterdam via Reykjavik was half the price of the non-stop KLM flight on the same route so Icelandair offers high value for a pleasant economy flying experience and would happily save money while flying them on a future trip to Europe.