Ten years ago, only two airlines flew to/from Keflavik: Icelandair and Iceland Express. Now there are about 30 airlines flying to/from Iceland. Ten years ago there were maybe three flights a day to London. This winter there are 13 of them almost all days, including flights to LHR, LGW, LTN, STN and LCY. Ten years ago a return flight costing 300 euros was a good deal. Now I paid around 50 euros for this three-hour one-way flight - outstanding value.
While I actually had to go to a hotel next to Gatwick I choose this BA flight to LCY. Not only was it cheaper and at a more convenient time than flying Easyjet to Gatwick but it also seemed to be much more fun. It was also a good opportunity to try London City Airport.
I considered booking business class as it was only about 250 euros one-way which is not much for a three-hour flight (strangely enough British Airways charges around 450 euros to Heathrow, while Icelandair's much better Saga Class costs about 600 euros one-way). But what's the difference between economy and business on British Airway’s flight from Keflavík to London City? Business class check-in is available but I checked-in on-line. Checked-in luggage is included, but I only had hand luggage. There is no priority security at Keflavik (not needed at this time of the day) and there is no lounge access. Both economy and business seating are the same on this route: 2+2. The only differences are priority boarding which is not a major issue for such a small aircraft, a better meal and more miles and tier points. I estimate that business class upgrade is worth only around 80 euros for this one-way flight. KEF has a lot of flights between 6 am and 8 am, and also between 3pm and 6pm, and after midnight in the summer but there were only two BA flight between 1pm and 2pm - one to Heathrow and one to London City airport - so the airport was fairly empty.
I checked in online but went anyway to the check-in desk to ask if it was possible to buy a good value upgrade - but no paid upgrade was offered at all. As you can see there was almost no queue at check-in.
I didn’t have high expectations about on-board food so I decided to have lunch at the airport. While there are a few eating options after security I usually eat right next to the arrival area. The food here is normally better than airside although still not really good. There was however a special offer for Moroccan meat balls which was really tasty.
After eating I went up to proceed to security.
There was almost no queue at security so I was through in five minutes. After security you have to go through a huge duty free shop. The main area of the terminal looks nice with a good choice of cafés and shops.
There were only 28 passengers on this flight (although there were more on the inbound leg), so boarding was very fast. The E190 has a 2+2 configuration in 25 rows. I choose 12B in the emergency exit row - huge legroom which I really appreciated throughout the flight.
Push-back was on time at 13.17. Take-off was at 13.28 from runway 28. There was a nice view over the surrounding area and the airport itself after take-off but only for a short time due to low ceiling.
Meal service started about 20 minutes after take-off. Complimentary food and drinks are offered on BA flights to and from London City Airport even on economy class, although there are plans to discontinue this from next year and replace it with a buy onboard service. No problem to have a sparkling water and a coke and some actually quite good South African white wine plus three different snacks! Yes, packaged snacks only but three of them and reasonably good quality.
The crew was nice enough to show me the Club Europe (business class) meal. A hot breakfast is served in the morning and a hot dinner in the evening but only cold lunch at midday. Premium drinks are also available all day in Club Europe. This was business class lunch on this flight:
The rest of the flight was uneventful. We had an easy landing at 16.04 and there was some good plane spotting as we taxied to the apron.
After deplaning by stairs there was a very short walk of maybe 30 seconds to the terminal building, followed by another 30 seconds walk to immigration. I was through passport control in about two minutes. The luggage claim area was right after immigration. I was in the main part of terminal in not more than four minutes after I left the aircraft, and only two more minutes to be at the DLR station. I was very, very impressed about how efficient our arrival was. This photo shows the check-in area.
Reykjavík - KEF
London - LCY
This flight was actually almost as good as a short-haul business class flight. No waiting time at check-in, security or boarding. The terminal was fairly empty at this time of the day. I had an emergency exit row seat with a huge legroom. The flight was on an Embraer 190 which I prefer to an A320 or B787. Meal and drink service was included and, although only packaged snack was available, it was plentiful (note that BA plans to discontinue the free meal service on the London City Airport flights). The crew was friendly. The flight was on time. Oh, and the flight was very cheap.
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