The stunningly beautiful Westfjords are one of the most remote regions of Iceland. They often feel like Iceland in the 90's: many roads are impassable in the winter, there are few tourists most of the year and few signs in English. The main industry remains fishing.
The distance between Reykjavík and Ísafjörður, the largest town in the area (pop. 2700), is about 450 kms. It takes six to seven hours by car in the summer but the road is often closed in the winter. Flying takes only 40 minutes and is a much better option even if about one third of the flights are cancelled due to bad weather in the wintertime.
Icelandair flies there from Reykjavík Domestic Airport once or twice a day using 37 seater Q200 aircraft. Yes, Icelandair and not Air Iceland Connect. For many years Icelandair flew from Keflavík International Airport to Europe and North America using mostly B757 and B767 aircraft and Air Iceland, later Air Iceland Connect flew from Reykjavík Airport to domestic destinations (Akureyri, Egilsstaðir and Ísafjörður) using Q200 and Q400 aircraft. They were the same company with different brands but Icelandair rebranded its domestic airline in March 2021.
Some of the airplanes have been repainted to Icelandair's livery while some others are keeping the previous Air Iceland Connect livery at the moment.
I used my Icelandair frequent flyer miles to pay for this flight. The regular price for a return flight would have been around 20,000 Icelandic króna or 140 euros.
While Keflavík International Airport is located 50 km from Reykjavík the Domestic Airport is right next to downtown Reykjavík. It takes 20 minutes to walk there or a 5 minute drive. The sign at the small terminal building has been changed from Air Iceland Connect to Icelandair.
Iceland has by far the least covid cases in Europe and domestic flights run more or less at the same frequency as in 2019.
It's OK to arrive to the airport about 30 minutes prior to departure if you're checked in and you only have small hand luggage. Note that regular sized hand luggage must be checked in.
The cafeteria is closed temporarily but there's free coffee.
Boarding starts 20 minutes before departure. It's a two minute walk to the aircraft.
Our aircraft for this flight was a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-200 (Q200), registration number TF-FXK, built in 1996.
The plane has a configuration of 2+2 in the first 8 row and 5 seats in the last row, so the total seating capacity is 37. This flight was almost completely full with only one empty seat. The seats are quite new and are in very good condition although they're quite narrow due to the aircraft's fuselage. I flew to Greenland with the same plane in 2017. Check out my flight report (click here) to see the difference between the old and the new seats.
If you sit in the first row: seat 1A has restricted legroom and only one window; seat 1C has more legroom than Emirates' First Class; 1D and 1F on the right side have good legroom and two windows. Legroom is quite good even in the other rows.
Brakes were released at 09:13 for a scheduled departure of 09:00. We took of from runway 01 shortly after and had good views of the other side of the airport.
Flying over downtown Reykjavík.
The Harpa Concert Hall and Sæbraut road on the shores of Faxaflói bay.
Mount Esja just north of Reykjavík.
View over Hvalfjörður (Whale Fjord). The only fjord near Reykjavík had a British naval base during World War II. There's now a 5,770 meter long tunnel under the fjord. The deepest part of the tunnel is 165 meters below sea level.
The town of Borgarnes 72 kms from Reykjavík by road.
There was no service during this short flight but the beautiful views more than made up for it.
Approaching Ísafjörður. The airport is deep in the fjord and planes need to fly quite close to the mountains
We landed at 09:54 for a scheduled arrival time of 09:40.
The plane at Ísafjörður airport.
There was a lot of snow on the streets of Ísafjörður.
The tunnel called Vestfjarðagöng is 9,113 meters long. It has a three-way intersection and most of the tunnel is single lane only. It's quite an experience to drive through it.
Beautiful mountains near road 60.
On the road to Flateyri.
The view from Flateyri.
It was a very nice flight with beautiful views.