Flying Iceland Air To Germany, Never Again
Iceland Air has been my go-to airline to Germany for many years.
Nick and I were fortunate to be able to spend three weeks in Germany with my family, including Christmas and New Year’s going from 2013 into the New Year. This was Nick’s third trip to Germany and we again opted to fly with Iceland Air. We enjoyed our flights before, when we were leaving from the MSP airport in Minnesota. Having the one hour lay over in Reykjavik, Iceland breaks up the long flight nicely. This time we left from Charlotte, NC, and it didn’t turn out quite so nice.
The long flight to Frankfurt with Iceland Air
We had a three hour drive from home to get to the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, arriving 2 hours early for check in. Although we booked our flight through Iceland Air we ended up with two different airlines. We had to take a US Airways flight from Charlotte to Washington, after a two hour lay over we were on our way to Iceland.
This is a 6+ hour flight and unfortunately the airline doesn’t provide free meals any longer. Bring food from home, eat at the airport or be prepared to spend $10 on a microwaved ham and cheese sandwich. Yuck!
We finally made it to Reykjavik, Iceland! By this point we were pretty exhausted already. We figured we had about an hour to get through customs and visit the duty free shop to buy a few gift items. I can only figure that we must have landed on the back side of the airport, since we had to walk up some stairs and along a very long hallway, past our gate to Frankfurt where there was a long line of waiting passengers, to get to the duty free shop.
After I made my purchase, I looked around to find Nick and heard an announcement: ‘this is the final boarding call for Flight… to Frankfurt’.
Holy Crap, that’s our flight!!! We looked at each other and started running back down the hallway, shoving people out of our way, yelling “Sorry!” over our shoulders. Well, we made it on the plane and guess what? We ended up waiting for another hour for passengers arriving from a delayed flight. What the heck?
After another 3 1/2 hour flight we landed in Frankfurt, Germany, 2 hours behind schedule.
My parents were at the airport waiting to pick us up and we were anxious to get our luggage and meet them. What luggage? We waited for a good 45 minutes until everyone’s suitcases were claimed and we were left standing with one other couple. I felt so bad for them because they had small children in tow, which were very well behaved, by the way.
Since I speak the language I sent Nick ahead to meet my parents, I knew they would be worried by now, while I stayed in the luggage area to fill out the paperwork to have our lost luggage sent to us. The German airport worker was very friendly, but also very, very slow, which I found a bit unnerving. After another hour of idle chit chat, filling out paperwork and waiting for him to enter the data, I was finally able to meet up with Nick and my parents. Hallelujah! What a trip.
All in all, our trip to Germany took us about 22+ hours.
We then drove another 2 hours to get from the airport to my parents house, which was the best part of this trip. We ended up having to wait for 4 days until our luggage finally caught up with us. In the meantime we bought new underwear and borrowed clothes from my parents, Nick wore my Dad’s pajamas at night. We were worried that we had to buy all of our Christmas presents over again. That would have really sucked.
As always, we had a wonderful stay in Germany.
Guess what? Our return trip from Germany to North Carolina on Iceland Air didn’t go a whole lot better.
Nick had been checking the weather for days, a winter storm with sub zero temps had stranded many passengers in the Washington airport and we figured our flight might be delayed or canceled as well. We received and missed a phone call from Iceland Air the night before we left. Nick called them back and was informed that our US Airways flight was canceled and we would have a 10+ hour overlay in Washington. Oh joy!
Nick figured since we have this long of a delay we might as well stay in Iceland for a day. It would be nice to be able to leave the airport and explore the town of Reykjavik. Unfortunately, he was told that even though we booked through Iceland Air, we are scheduled to fly with two different airlines and can’t make this kind of change.
You would think that Iceland Air would want their passengers to stop in their country for more than an hour.
We were prepared to pay for a shuttle service into town, food, lodging, etc. Too bad, we might never have the chance to travel to Iceland again. With the weather delays in Washington, which are really nobody’s fault, our return trip took even longer.
The next time we visit Germany, which is tentatively planned for Spring 2015, we will try to find a more direct flight. The little bit of money we saved when we booked our flights through Iceland Air didn’t make up for the troubles and lay overs we encountered.
Using Iceland Air to fly to Germany from a Northern state like Minnesota works great, if you live in the South it’s best to look for an alternative airline.
Do you have a favorite airline for traveling to Europe? Please leave us a comment below.