Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, I'm currently not flying at all, so I figured this is a good time to update and create some of my long overdue flight reports. Today's flight was one I took in June 2019 when flying to Reykjavik for work. The interesting bit is that for short, intra-European hops, I usually book Economy since most airlines don't offer an attractive J product for the price you pay. The was was true for Icelandair, and I was fully prepared for a sardine-like experience in the back of a Boeing 757.
However when checking in, I found out that there were two interesting changes. First, our metal was a leased Boeing 767 from EuroAtlantic Airways. Icelandair had leased this aircraft to fill the void due to the delays with the Boeing 737 MAX. Second, I was offered an upgrade to their Saga business class for €145. Curious to try our this product, I accepted. Now, €145 is more than I would be willing to pay for an upgrade on a 2hr45m flight in a lot of situations, but my curiosity won. Besides, I still had a lot of work to do and the prospect of doing that in a lounge was tempting. So in the end, I figured that if I included the money I would otherwise spend on food at Schiphol, the price actually wasn't that bad.
I hope you enjoy my FR from over a year ago!
An afternoon flight is always great, since I don't have to hurry to get to Amsterdam. The airport is well connected to the rail network so I took the train to get to Schiphol.
Check-in and security were quick at Schiphol. As usual, I didn't take any pictures at security. It was crowded and I always feel like I'm invading the privacy of other passengers and security personnel so I rarely take pictures when I'm at security.
I moved to the terminal and tried to find the Aspire lounge 26. This was a great bonus too, I had never been to this lounge, as I'm usually on SkyTeam metal.
I found the lounge quickly even though it feels like it is tugged away in a corner of the Airfield. The lounge is not that large, but it wasn't busy either, so that didn't bother me. The seats are good, power outlets are sufficient and WiFi is good. Actually, this lounge is quite OK.
I figured it was wine'o'clock.
The food selection is limited, but suffices.
Plenty of healthy choices. The salad bar was fresh and well cooled.
I washed away the wine with coffee - I still had work to do. The coffee machine is good and produces a nice brew.
This is a nice touch: There was a Heineken 0.0% non-alcoholic beer tap! I drink this stuff a lot at home, as far as non-alcoholic beers go, I like this one. Nice touch to see this in a lounge.
Really slow day. A lot of seating is still free. There are magazines in the top left corner.
The orchids are a nice touch
The food really is limited to some salads and bread rolls. Don't expect to get a full meal here. I don't mind, this is all I need since there will be dinner service on the plane as well.
What a difference compared to the KLM lounge!
Time passed quickly and I found myself on the way to our gate. I joined my co-worker who would be traveling with me. He also got offered the business class upgrade, but he's not an AVGeek like myself, so he declined. I think he later regretted it since the Y-seating in the 767 is terrible with a 29" pitch.
Clearly not a KLM gate with full service. We were directed to a ground-level gate with almost no facilities.
I guess Schiphol charges extra if an airline wants to use a gate with a ceiling…
It wasn't too long before our bird arrived. I'm sorry but I can't remember the registration of the plane. The full-white livery clearly gives away that this is a leased aircraft, operated by Icelandair.
With no respect for priority, boarding commenced. Basically, everybody stormed the gate agent and that was it. I don't mind but I saw several older people, people with disabilities and young children. I'm always impressed by how rigorous boarding for people with disabilities and traveling with young children is enforced in the USA. Alas, not here. It was a free-for-all.
I found my seat without a lot of trouble. One clear difference between Icelandair and KLM was the cabin crew. The Icelandair cabin crew pointed guests to their seats in an automated fashion, without any passion or enthusiasm. The seat was quickly found and as it turns out, this aircraft is equipped with full lie-flat seats. Not bad for a 3 hr flight!!
The cabin has a 1-2-1 layout.
The inflight entertainment screen has a decent size and is wide screen.
The seat has seen better days. The wear & tear clearly shows.
The seat controls are intuitive to use, but show that this seat has been used intensely.
A stylish reading light provides illumination when the cabin lights are dimmed.
Unfortunately, the screen quality is not too good. Again, I don't complain, since a full service lie-flat seat is a luxury for a three hour flight. But, I try to make my reviews honest. And honestly, for a 2019 J-product, the screen was not very good.
The storage space in this seat is huge!
Decent size Ottoman.
Service started with some Icelandic, fresh, spring water. Nice touch!
The noise cancellation headphones were of poor quality, but I suspect underneath, these are the same ones that KLM or Air France uses.
With all the blinds closed, the screen is doable. You can clearly see the moires-effect on this picture. Remember, all blinds need to be closed in order to view the screen.
The safety presentation was done by the flight crew. Notice the EXIT sign betraying the Portuguese origin of the aircraft.
Nice view of the KLM Flight Observation deck with the F-100
Transavia B737-800 and AirBridge Cargo B747
Whenever you see endless farming fields and a fence nearby at Schiphol, you know it's going to be a Polderbaan take-off!
Stunning view of the coastline! I think this is the entrance of the Amsterdam Rijncanal
The storage space around the seat is impressive. It does feel quite private.
Icelandair serves a decent Champagne on board, which I enjoyed.
I hope this picture conveys the glare and moiree issues of the IFE-screen.
The wine selection is not bad
The legroom situation. Please note the storage under the IFE. So you really get a lot of personal storage space!
Some olives were handed out for starters.
…with a (paper) hot towel.
Apparently, Iceland is known for the Gin they produce, so I opted for a Gin Tonic, which was quite nice. And strong! By this time, I was on my third glass of alcohol, but it felt like more, so I decided to stop drinking after this :-)
I didn't photograph the menu selection, so I can't remember what the main course exactly was. But, to sum it up: it wasn't very good. The meat taste was bland but completely covered by the green pesto-like stuff on top, which was horrible. The carrots were overcooked and the potatoes tasted like plastic. Sorry, not a very good meal at all.
Sooner than I expected, the Icelandic coast came in view, again providing me with some stunning opportunities for pictures!
This is my first time in Iceland, but I already know I'm in love with the nature here! What a fantastic approach, it looks like you're landing on Mars! I'm definitely coming back here some time in the future!
Keflavik is in view!
Interesting plane: Cavok Air Antonov An-12B UR-CKL
Almost at the gate!
This flight has an interesting conclusion I believe.
For a SHORT HAUL INTRA-EUROPEAN flight, this was a fantastic experience! Value for money, you will not find this level of quality on any of the big carriers in Europe. Lie-flat seats, full meal service, In-flight entertainment: those are things you won't see on KLM when flying to Madrid. So I was very happy to have spend the extra money. But I don't look at the value-for-money aspect, I look at the entire product offered, and that brings me to my second conclusion....
The plane is intended for LONG-HAUL flights, and this product is outdated and could do with a serious update. The meal is bad, the seat old and the IFE works very poorly.
Hope you enjoyed my report!