Browsing Tag: Icelandair

Reykjavík’s Old Harbor, home of commercial fishing outfits, whale watching tours, and workboats alike.

Reykjavík’s Old Harbor – just one of the many beautiful views of Iceland. Image: Nicholas Smith / AirlineReporter.com

Being based in Seattle, Icelandair’s nonstop flights bring Reykjavík about as close as the flight to Miami. The question that everyone keeps asking me, though, is “why would you visit Iceland?”

Iceland’s terrain and activities match Seattle’s “weather be damned” love affair with the outdoors to the tee.  The trans-continental island’s atmosphere is unrelentingly Myst-esque; clean, fresh, bright, and utterly colorful.  The temperate climate, driven by the warm Irminger Current, keeps the island nation splendid throughout the year. The looks are reason enough to visit, but adventure doesn’t come from looks alone.

WheelTug testing at Prague Airport using a Germania 737-700 in July, 2012 Courtesy: WheelTug

WheelTug testing at Prague Airport using a Germania 737-700 in June, 2012. Yes, it’s moving!
Courtesy: WheelTug

You may have read my recent report on the Honeywell/Safran Electric Ground Taxi System, or EGTS.  But as we’ve seen countless times with many technologies, there’s rarely just one solution to a challenge.  We’ve had the 707 & DC-8 duo,  L-1011 & DC-10s, 737 & A320s, PCs & Macs, iThingys & Everything Else… you get the idea.  Interesting, though, that the market usually settles down to 2 options. So it should be no surprise that there’s another E-Taxi system, one that takes a different approach to meeting the same objectives of saving fuel, time, and other operational costs.

Gibraltar-based WheelTug decided to figure out a way to power the nose gear in their E-Taxi solution, and not the main gear. Their reasons? Easier and quicker installation; no interference with braking and anti-skid systems; shorter cable runs to the equipment bay under the cockpit; and it’s lighter, on the single nose gear rather than two main gear. But there isn’t much space available on the nose gear and in the wheel well. To make it all work, WheelTug looked to an old idea updated with new technology – the “wheel-hub” electric motor.

Icelandair Boeing 757 in Seattle (SEA).

Icelandair Boeing 757 in Seattle (SEA).

On May 16th, 2013, Icelandair flew its inaugural flight from Anchorage (ANC) to Keflavík (KEF) in Iceland. I was not able to swing a trip up to ANC for the festivities, but I was able to take their flight from Seattle (SEA) and join in with the celebration in Iceland. This is my review of flying Icelandair to Iceland and back. Notice: Icelandair covered my trip to/from Iceland. All opinions are my own.

I have flown internationally before and the standard international travel excitement led me to show up way too early. I arrived at noon and still had thirty minutes until Icelandair’s ticket counter opened. Since the airline doesn’t fly every few minutes, they don’t staff their counters at all hours of the day and night — which makes sense. I tend to forget this since I mainly travel with larger carriers and have little problem getting to the airport super early.

Promptly at noon, an Icelandair ticket agent had the place running, checked in my bag, and had me on my way. They recently adopted online check-in and ticketing and it worked perfectly. No paper, no fuss.

Icelandair Boeing 757 in Anchorage. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Icelandair Boeing 757 (named Katia – reg TF-FIV) in Anchorage. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Who wants to fly from cold to not as cold? Now you easily can with Icelandair starting service from Anchorage to Iceland. Well, most passengers do not stop in Iceland, but continue with Icelandair to Europe. I had the opportunity to check out the inaugural flight celebrations recently on the ground in Anchorage.

An excitement filled the air when I walked through the doors at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) as a new day was beginning with new service launching to Keflavik International Airport (KEF) with Icelandair. Anchorage has become the eighth US destination for Icelandair.