Icelandair – economy class

Aircraft Icelandair Boeing 757-200

Route London Heathrow LHR to Keflavîk KEF

Class Economy class, seat 15A

Seat pitch and seat width A very generous-feeling 32 inches and a cramped-feeling 17 ¼ inches respectively

Seat configuration Three-three

Luggage allowance One checked in bag weighing no more than 23kg. Two carry-on bags per person, in addition to one small personal item. The maximum weight allowed for each carry-on bag is 10kg and the total of its 3 dimensions should not exceed 45inches.

Airport and lounge access Heathrow terminal 1 has a number of invitation-only lounges plus the Servisair Lounge, which starts at £19.95 for three hours. Features include complimentary alcoholic and soft drinks, tea, coffee and snacks, internet access, TV and a selection of newspapers and magazines, comfortable chairs in quiet surroundings etc etc.

The terminal itself offers pretty good shopping and a whole heap of restaurants, snack shops and bars. Considering much smaller airlines fly from here, it’s actually significantly better than say terminal 3, which boasts much bigger airlines flying long haul.

Scheduled flight time 2 hours 45 minutes

Punctuality 15 minutes late leaving

Condition of the aircraft Clean and modern. There were a few small signs of wear and tear dotted about and one of the overhead lockers just refused to shut unless you slammed it down with enough force to startle everyone in the surrounding seat rows. But special attention had been made to things like the antimacassars on each seat each had a different Icelandic phrase explained. The blankets were nicely branded and even the thin pillow cover had an Icelandic lullaby printed on it.

In-flight entertainment A number of quality films and television episodes were available despite not having all that much time to really enjoy them. The movie selection included The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, Looper, the very funny comedies Campaign and Due Date and even the excellent Wag the Dog and All The Presidents Men. Plus episodes of Modern Family, Arrested Development, Family Guy and even episodes from the very first season of 24.

The entertainment guide basically consisted of a double-page spread within the in-flight magazine and as such didn’t mention everything that was available, so it was necessary to actually scroll through the Movie and Television menus to see. Once you had selected a film or episode, the next window provided a brief synopsis – a simple and logical service, which you’d be forgiven for taking for granted…until you’ve flown on an antiquated airline like American Airlines.

The Your Flight information section of the IFE was exceptionally detailed and actually looked as though it was in HD, although it’s unlikely that it was. It was also one of those map screens that displays the names of oceanic topographical locations and major shipwreck sites and the year they sank, Biscay Plain and Titanic, 1912 for example. In addition, there were a few documentaries available about Iceland.

The interface was simple to use and easy to understand and the widescreen format 9-inch display was touchscreen operated, eliminating the need for a handset control to be fitted into the armrest. A USB 2.0 port was also fitted to the seatbacks allowing some smartphones and tablets to be charged, but that was the only power supply available.

The 3.5mm headphone port was on the inside of the armrest as is the case on many airlines, so care was needed to not accidentally damage the jack when shuffling about in the seat. Unless you had your own, earphones needed to be purchased at a cost of €6.

Comfort Aside from having to almost physically fight for elbowroom with my neighbouring passenger, the flight was mostly very comfortable. The fold-down tray extended outward allowing for laptop use without too much fear of the passenger in front crushing the screen should they reclined their seat without warning.

The seats themselves were very simple, thin and effective in their design. The entire seatback was plastic, so it’s easier to clean and will never have that age-old, rotten, germ-infested feel that material seatbacks have, rather like those disgusting material seats on the London Underground. Honestly, the interior design that Icelanair has opted for inside this aircraft puts many other airlines to shame. Aside from perhaps a tiny bit more seat width, it would work very effectively over long-haul distances.

Blankets and pillows had to be asked for – the former was thick, soft and very warm, but the latter only had a very thin cover and it was all too easy to imagine the one million other people who’d had their head on it.

Service The cabin crew were extremely polite and efficient and the stewardesses were pretty hot, which is always nice.

Food and beverages Only soft drinks, tea and coffee were complementary, but there was a menu for food that could be purchased during the flight. This included a cheese and ham baguette and Pringles for €6, two or four Hamburger Factory mini burgers for €7 and €11 respectively, satay chicken noodles for €10, Saga Shop Kitchen sandwich for €5 and finally something called a happy marriage cake for €3.

Red wine was also available for €5, a choice of two beers for €4, champagne for €10 and spirits for €5.

We asked for the satay chicken noodles, but unfortunately they weren’t available. So instead we opted for the two Hamburger Factory mini burgers and the cheese and ham baguette and Pringles, plus the red wine, which was a Spanish Roqueta Bodegas Synera Tinto. The hamburgers made a pleasant little snack and were quite yummy. The baguette could be heated or served cold, we chose heated and it was OK, nothing to write home about though. Despite being served at near-freezing temperature, the wine was nice – similar in taste to a full Cabernet Sauvignon.

Flight frequency Twice a day in both directions

Cost of ticket From £545

Website Icelandair

image by Travel Snitch

The seat pitch felt generous, but the width was a cramped-feeling 17 ¼ inches

image by Travel Snitch

The IFE was easy to use and had a wide offering of programs and movies

image by Travel Snitch

There was a generous offering of useful reading material, well-presented in a branded package

image by Travel Snitch

The baguette was...OK and the wine was nice, albeit near-freezing, similar in taste to a Cabernet Sauvignon

image by Travel Snitch

The hamburgers made a pleasant little snack, although they weren't cheap at €7

Scott Snowden

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