Airports, Airlines, Aviation

Icelandair AMS-KEF Review

Today’s Icelandair AMS-KEF review comes from Nelleke Van der Voort. It’s a two part review since she actually flew from REK-KEF-DEN, with the second installment coming next week.

Nelleke is a Technical IT Director at Travelport, where she works with tripchi CEO CJ. We both work on the Universal API product.

Here’s Nelleke!

Nelleke van der Voort
Nelleke van der Voort

With more than 20 years of development and consulting experience in Travel Industry related IT, Nelleke brings expertise with international, high availability and high performing systems.

Nelleke has successfully delivered projects from small to very large on Mainframe, Windows and Java platforms.

She has worked in four countries, with people of dozens of nationalities and has a keen interest in the global reach of products.

Icelandair AMS–KEF Review: Background/Tickets

I had to extend my stay in Europe by a week due to an emergency. Making a last minute change to an intercontinental flight is very expensive, and even with my BA miles (> 200,000) they could not do anything for me that would cost less than $1,000 plus a bunch a miles, 2 stopovers and extra flights to get Stateside. I could have gotten business class for that, which is nice on BA, but not worth the hassle of find a hotel room in NYC for the night on the way.

So I decided to check my mom’s favorite airline, Icelandair, which I have never flown before – and they got me a one way flight for under EUR 1000 in their Economy Comfort Class. So not cheap, but better than many others.

  • Research: Meta and com
  • Aircraft did play a factor in the booking
  • Price played an important role. Picked best date from the tranche of lower prices.
  • Rewards program not a factor
  • €980 one way

Flight 1 – Amsterdam to Reykjavik (Keflavik Airport) (AMS – KEF)

Icelandair AMS–KEF Review – Departure Airport/Check In/Boarding Process

I took train to the airport and always find that the NS Station in Schiphol is very convenient.

For my Icelandair AMS–KEF Review, I of course flew out of the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) is a continuously growing and updated, but still does not feel overwhelming. Distances to walk can be long depending on your gate. Shopping is excellent: Duty Free, Souvenirs, and Luxury items are especially good. I am very familiar with it, so I know my way around and have an established routine. Signage is pretty good for those that are new and don’t know their way already, and it’s relatively easy to walk between terminals.

Reykjavik Wi-Fi
Reykjavik Wi-Fi

Since tripchi doesn’t yet include the AMS airport, I recommend getting the Schiphol airport app. It has lots of info on the airport and if your airline does not have an app you can use this to get info on your flight. They have free Wi-Fi , but you have to reconnect every time you turn on your device (they had problems this day and I could not always connect.).

Security has recently changed at Schiphol from Gate Screening to Central Screening (like most airports). It was efficient and clean. Unfortunately they have also installed the new body scanners of which I am not a fan. It took less than 10 minutes from entering the area to getting out.

The airport was fairly busy as this is peak traveling time due to summer vacations. But being a Wednesday it was not quite as crazy as Saturdays. Side note: if you are leaving from Schiphol during the Dutch summer vacation, allow yourself at least 3 hours.

I checked in on my iPhone and stored the boarding passes in my passbook, and because I had an economy comfort ticket I could skip the longish line for bag drop. Interesting note: Icelandair (IATA code: FI) has two flights from AMS-REK, that are five minutes apart, so there were two flights to handle with only a handful agents. This led to some confusion.

Icelandair grants lounge access to Economy Comfort flyers. The check in staff did not know that, but I found the location on the Schiphol app, and went in without trouble. I spent my time in the lounge, working. Nice and roomy and quiet, but surprisingly bad coffee for the Netherlands. Did have free mini syrup wafers though 😉

Icelandair AMS-KEF Review Flight Details

  • Route: Amsterdam to Reykjavik (Keflavik Airport) (AMS – KEF)
  • Airline: Icelandair : FI 501
  • Departure Gate: D66
  • Arrival Gate: A/B (bus)
  • Scheduled: 14:00
  • Actual Flight time: 14:15
  • Boarding time: 13:45
  • Scheduled Arrival Time: 15:10
  • Actual Arrival Time: 15:11
  • Air Time: 2h21m
  • Baggage Claim: N/A
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 757-200, Tail Number TF-FII
  • Flight length: 2h55m
  • Distance traveled: 1265 miles
  • Class: Economy Comfort.
  • Seat: 6A
  • Load factor: >95% full

Icelandair AMS–KEF Review: Interior/takeoff

  • Seat arrangement: 10 rows Saga class, rest economy
  • Overhead bin space : decent
  • Feel of cabin : normal for 757
  • Pushback 15 minutes late, Captain explained the basics (estimated flight time), smooth takeoff
  • Fun security video, based around an adventure trip and hike (see tripchi’s latest blog on best airline safety videos here)

Flight view

Icelandair AMS–KEF Review: Seat

There are not many economy comfort seats, so I used Seatguru to pick mine. The aircraft did not have short-haul Economy Comfort seats, so we were in Business (Saga) Class seats. J. These were like US Domestic first class seats, not like beds. They were nice and wide, with a table tray in arm, and had good pitch and recline. There was a 20 cm screen, with a decent selection of entertainment and flight information (FLIFO). However, the screen sensitivity was low.

Icelandair REK - KEF - DEN Review: Upgraded Seat
Icelandair REK – KEF – DEN Review: Upgraded Seat

Icelandair AMS–KEF Review: Meal/Purchased food/Drinks

Icelandair does not provide food for free in Economy, even for its long-haul flights. In Economy Comfort you can get 1 free item. You can pre-order in advance, which I had, but the cabin crew did not seem to know about that. The meal choices can be found here.

I choose Skyr and Muesli. Skyr is an interesting Icelandic dairy product that is similar to drained yoghurt. It was pretty nice.

Skyr and Muesli
Skyr and Muesli

Drink selection: wine, beer, soft-drinks, some spirits. Soft drinks were free in every class. All drinks but Champagne were free in Economy Comfort. Purchase prices: wine EUR 6, beer EUR 5, spirits EUR 6, Champagne EUR 13

I drank sparkling water.

Icelandair AMS–KEF Review: Crew/Service

The Crew was courteous and professional but not overly friendly. No big wows. They didn’t seem to know about certain features that the airline advertised on their website (like the pre-ordering). The meal service, however, very fast. Also, there was no hard sell of anything, which was appreciated.

I had the chicken for the main meal and it was OK – it came with a lesson.

Chicken Meal With Lesson
Chicken Meal With Lesson


Chicken Meal

Icelandair AMS–KEF Review: Overall

All in all the, flight was smooth flight ans so was the landing (the nice weather helped). We also arrived on time despite the late boarding. The seat was comfortable.

The service was adequate but was no frills and no-nonsense. I gave it a solid B.

Look for Part 2 – KEF to DEN – next week!

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