Friday, March 26, 2010


For those who wanted some details about how easy it was to visit Iceland, here is what I have to say about that.

Keflavik airport is new. They subscribe to the whole "personal reponsibility" code as well -- which means it is a "silent" airport. They feel all the public announcements are noisy and distracting and they believe you can actually relax at an airport. I like it.

The shopping and food areas are nicely laid out, gives you an upscale feel. The public areas are not where the gates are (kind of like Heathrow but much nicer, quiet and less chaotic) and are surrounded by wine bars, cafe tables, modern comfortable chairs and coffee tables.

Screens tell you where your gates are and how long the walk will be to get there. It is up to you to keep up with the status of your flight.

They have a branch of Landsbanki at the arrivals and departures area and that is where I would recommend getting your currency exchanged. They don't charge a fee and it is easy. They will take any monies, including change back at the end of your trip.

It is also useful to map out where their branches are around the city and country, just in case. Ditto with your country's consulate. And it goes without saying, a few copies of your passport placed in different luggage/bags is a good thing to do.

When you make it to your gate on departure, you are actually sitting outside of it. When they check you in, you are checked into another room where you wait to be allowed up an escalater to the departure ramp. Again, it is up to you to pick up the required entry forms back to the US etc. which are sitting at the counter.

Upon arrival, something new for me, is the security check before the passport/police check. I do not remember having to go through that before. After all, I've been screened already twice and have never left the secured area of an airport. So that was why we all waited in line at the bottom of an escalator...they were backed up already.

This time it was more than taking out your bag of liquids and laptop. They wanted all cords and electronics out, after you take off the standard shoes, belt, watch etc. This created chaos because I (and many others) weren't expecting it so it took a long time and each person needed 4 of those plastic trays each.

I asked the agent just in case if he really did mean all electronics and he assured me he did. So I said I was going to have to empty my laptop bag because everything in there was electronic. Out came my laptop, cell phone, chargers, plug adapters, noise cancelling headphones, ipod, camera and about 5 cords. It was one big mess.

Meanwhile he had moved my knapsack into the x-ray before I got my liquids out which automatically signed me up for a hand search through my bag. What do you say when they say you were supposed to take this out separate? Yes, I know all about this but I didn't have a chance to....I don't think she knew we were rushed and was wondering why she was searching so many pieces of luggage that morning or why this plane load of people were so ignorant...the fellow behind me was next.

Getting to Reykjavik is easy. You take their Flybus which is coordinated with every departing and arriving international flight -- pretty smart! With the additional screening, I missed what was to be my bus which left 40 min after my flight arrival. By the time I got to the bus after getting currency exchanged, I was on the next bus -- no big deal.

Buy your ticket from the automated machine with a credit card. It is much faster than the line up with the agent who is more interested in selling tours.

I was expecting to go through a number of those full body scanners on this trip but didn't see any. I'm not complaining and like most people I know, I don't care what scanner I need to go through as long as I get to my flight on time.


  1. Thanks for the detail. It's much easier to envision what to expect when you write it out step by step. I've never encountered security check again after landing. I guess they're stricter than here.

  2. Hi Sandra;

    I'm thinking it is new since the last bomb threat on the KLM flight. We are going to be on that exact flight and route coming home from Germany. It will be interesting to see if things are really ramped up in Amsterdam.