Flight Review: Iceland Express – New York – Reykjavik – London

Flight Review: Iceland Express - New York - Reykjavik - London
[Ed Force One – Iceland Express with Iron Maiden livery at Keflavik Airport]

Flight: Iceland Express 5W 514 Date: 25 Aug 2011 From: Newark(EWR) To: Reykjavik (KEF)
Flight: Iceland Express 5W 511 Date: 30 Aug 2011 From: Reykjavik (KEF) To: London (LGW)

[Edit: Iceland Express ceased operations in 2011, and in 2012 WOW air acquired Iceland Express’ operations and network. This review remains as an archived record of Iceland Express.]

Cheap flights to Iceland and flying with a rockstar pilot

Iceland have two airlines that operate internationally from Keflavík (near Reykjavik): the full service airline Icelandair, and low cost airline Iceland Express. I booked with Iceland Express purely on price. While Icelandair have a frequent Flyer program, it’s not part of an alliance so it is useless for those not from Iceland.

Iceland Express fly to destinations in Europe and North America, so it is possible to include Iceland as a Transatlantic stopover. If you book in advance this may be the cheapest flight between New York and London, and you get the bonus of visiting Iceland while you’re at it. Flight segments can be booked on the same ticket, connecting in Keflavík or, as I did, take a few days off in between flights.

Iceland Express

Iceland Express is based in Reykjavik but it is owned by Astraeus Airlines from Britain, thus your flight may say “operated by Astraeus”. As it is a budget airline there is no inflight entertainment or free meals. The flight times are short enough so these services aren’t missed.

Celebrity Pilot

This year Iceland Express have Bruce Dickinson as a pilot. Bruce who? I hear some of you ask. Bruce Dickinson also happens to be the lead singer for Iron Maiden. Don’t let that put you off though, as he is a licensed commercial airline pilot with years of experience, as well as being the Marketing Director for Astraeus.

Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden
[Bruce Dickinson circa 1983 (from An Evolutionary Study Of Bruce Dickinson’s Hair).]

My flight from New York to London was on Ed Force One, which is an Astraeus owned jet with Iron Maiden livery. When I saw I was going to be flying on this jet I was so excited. I thought it might have been the bands private jet, and I had visions of a jacuzzi, lounge chairs and whatever else goes on in private jets of rock stars. Sadly it was the usual 3×3 seat configuration and no backstage rider menu.

From Reykjavik to London Mr Dickinson was a passenger on the flight, commuting back home to England after flying the overnight flight from New York. If you didn’t know who he was you wouldn’t pick him for a rock star. With his trimmed hair and smart Iceland Express suit, he really does look like a pilot.

To see Bruce in uniform check out this travel Q&A with Bruce Dickinson by Lonely Planet’s Robert Reid.

Another Stopover Option

Visit the Blue Lagoon
[Visit the Blue Lagoon]

If you have booked two connecting flights and there is a few hours in between flights it is possible to visit the famous Blue Lagoon, as it is only 20 minutes from the airport. There are special buses that run from the airport to the Blue Lagoon, so if you have time it sure beats sitting around in the terminal (with no wifi).

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  1. Hi James! I have nominated you to receive Versatile Blogger Award. I think you worth having it. But there’s no pressure at all. The award is yours to take. You don’t need to make a post about it if you don’t want to.

  2. My parents flew with this airline, and they actually didn’t mind the lack of “luxuries”. Actually, my dad claims to have been able to lie across 3 seats and sleep the entire flight! No one bothered him to ask which meal he needed, since none were provided. This was Copenhagen-Boston, round trip. Besides some minor delays, there was nothing at all wrong with flying with them. Remember, if you cut costs, you can’t expect things to run 100% perfectly. Hopefully there is no hit upon safety, I think federal regulations prevent that.

  3. pity his airline went tits up. Wonder where he’s working now.

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