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cheeruson

Air to/from Bergen/Reykjavik?

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We are just beginning to look at Iceland's Majestic Landscapes, and are wondering if air connections would be easier in one direction over the other, considering the cities we are dealing with.  Flying from a major US airport, although not on the east coast.  Are there any other issues with the itinerary in one direction vs. the other? 

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We are actually arriving 1 day early to Oslo for our Pre Cruise and also departing 1 day later after we disembark from Reykjavik because of the flight schedule. We do like to get in country a bit early... better safe than sorry... but we were not going to worry about it since we were doing the pre-cruise. BUT Then we realized there are no direct flights from Philadelphia the day we wanted to go... and the same with the day we disembark. So we decided to add on a bit so we have easier flight schedules.  

 

So now... after all that and buying our tickets out of PHL... we may be moving to New Hampshire before the trip... the best laid plans of mice and Liz.

 

Here is our roll call:

 

 

 

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Icelandair flies to Several European cities from several US cities with connections in Reykjavík with a free layover up to 7 days.  It’s a great way to spend a few days in Iceland.

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I'd recommend (and have in other threads) flying to Oslo - there are many more flight options than Bergen. And go at least a couple days early, and do the Norway in a Nutshell 2-day from Oslo to Bergen, spending the night in Flåm. And add extra nights in Oslo and Bergen if your schedule (and budget allow), because there's plenty to do and see in both of those cities, and it's easy to do on tour own.

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We are on the same sailing as Liz.

 

Before I forget, the website for KEF airport lists the flights that come in daily. https://www.isavia.is/en/keflavik-airport/flight-schedule/arrivals?dep=1 Very helpful if you are trying to nail down who flies into/out KEF and from where.

 

I did a lot of looking around before booking our flights. We live in Boston and we have twice daily non-stop flights to KEF on Icelandair --and there is no way of avoiding KEF on this itinerary. I was iffy about flying with them but avoiding them meant doubling our travel time. Plus, there are no direct flights to Bergen, so there will always be at least one stop someplace in Europe to get to Bergen.

 

In the end, I resigned myself to flying Icelandair and I booked a round trip flight BOS-KEF-BOS plus a one-way flight to Bergen. We will fly to KEF, stay over two nights and then fly to Bergen on embarkation day. I booked very early and was able to get extra legroom seats, for a fee. Only time will tell if I made the right decision.

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I've flown with Icelandair several times, mostly in economy but twice in the airline's business (Saga) class.  Saga is great but quite expensive.  Economy service is simply terrible.  The seats are cramped, plus there's no food except for some odd Icelandic dishes (requiring payment of course).  There are much more enjoyable ways to start a trip to Europe.

 

Continuing with the negatives:  Icelandair routes all of its U.S.-Europe flights through KEF.  The airline shaves the scheduled connections to a bare minimum, sometimes to as little as 35-45 minutes.  Most of the time this works; the airline is used to narrow connections, and passengers (and their bags) usually make their connecting flights.

 

But not always.  The problem arises when outbound flights from the U.S. depart late for whatever reason (or outbound flights from Europe depart late on the return).  In those cases, Iceland doesn't hold the connecting flights.  Passengers have to scramble to make connections, as we found out twice this year when we barely made our flights (and lost a checked bag once).  So be aware.

 

On the plus side, Reykjavik is a great little city to visit on a 3-day stopover (included in economy trips to Europe).  Also consider an extended layover.  Years ago, I spent 10 days in the country and drove the entire Ring Road -- an experience to remember.    

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We are doing the same itinerary as "Liz" and Peregrina, just a month later (Bergen to Reykjavik).  I am not sure how much difference the direction of the cruise makes.  We wanted to spend extra time in Reykjavik, because there may always be the chance to visit Norway, but not so much Iceland.  We are adding two extra days on our own after the cruise, which we (you) could have also done pre-cruise.

 

I have booked flights from Los Angeles to Bergen via Amsterdam on KLM, and from Reykjavik to L.A. via Philadelphia on American Airlines, with plenty of time for the connections.  I used Viking Custom Air, so as long as Viking could book the flights, the prices and other particulars of the flights were immaterial.  I know that Peregrina has more experience and booked the flights on her own, but the flights are more frequent and much shorter from the East Coast.

 

Completely off topic:  Peregrina, what will you do with the extra legroom?  You mentioned somewhere that you are too short to reach the back of the dryer on the Viking ships.  At 5'10" I am the shortest in my family (my daughter is an inch taller, my son is 6'8") and legroom is a real issue for all of us.

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The extra legroom is a treat for DH. 

 

Dave, what you say are all the reasons I was reluctant. However, we depart at midnight, we will have a very nice dinner in the airport and bring our own snacks, the flight is just over 5 hours, closer than LAX,  and we don't have a connecting flight to worry about. The only thing we will actually have to contend with are the uncomfortable seats, and I am trying not to think about them. 

 

I looked at other options for the flight home but Icelandic offers the only non-stop. In the end, we opted for getting home faster. We will know in 6 months if we have made the right choice

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We flew in and out of  Reykjavik from JFK on Icelandair. Icelandair is pretty basic in economy but for us the flight was not long. This was a land trip and we rented a car and stayed 12 days. Iceland is spectacular and if your timing and resources allow, you should stay longer and drive the ring road. So many people just stay in  Reykjavik and do day trips and it doesn't do justice to this beautiful country. As previously mentioned, Icelandair allows you to stay up to 7 days in Iceland as part of the layover. All of Icelandair flights lay over in  Reykjavik. There are other carriers that go in and out but timing always seems the issue especially with connecting flights.

 

Bergen is a VERY small airport and there are no direct flights to the U.S. You must make a connection somewhere to fly home or arrive no matter what airline you use. Our Viking cruise ended in Bergen so we elected to fly to Paris from Bergen and spend some time there since we had to make a connection anyhow. The flight from Bergen to Paris on SAS was very inexpensive. However, they fill up fast since there are limited flights out of Bergen. The suggestion to fly to Oslo and do the Norway in a Nutshell is a good idea. Our cruise started in Stockholm so we didn't have a problem getting a direct flight from JFK.

 

Hope this helps. The fjords of Norway were breathtaking and the side roads of Iceland magnificient. Enjoy your trip.

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Whichever way you do the cruise, do not have a connection in Iceland to anywhere else.  We had a two hour layover there and still missed our next flight.  We missed the extra day we planned in Bergen.  We made it to the ship on embarcation day but our luggage did not.  Fortunately we got it one hour before sail away.  Icelandair made good by putting us up in a nice downtown hotel with a great dinner plus private taxi rides from airport but...  The airport personnel said this happens all the time there.  Either flights from the states are delayed on their stateside end or flights in Iceland are cancelled due to their weather.  So get on the ship in Iceland  but give yourself an extra day or fly home from there after cruise when you dont have to worry about a delay.

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We've had two cruises end in Bergen. After an exhausting 3-flight trip home the first time, the second time we did the Bergen to Oslo 2-day extension and flew directly to the US from Oslo. In general, I find Viking pre- and post-cruise extensions overpriced compared with doing it on your own, but this was well worth it. The train ride to Oslo is long, but we found the train, the seating, and the scenery much more enjoyable than the Flam train excursion. Viking treats the train ride itself as an excursion, with a tour guide giving information all along the way. Oslo has the best city-to-airport train we have ever seen. Do not take a taxi or private car. The Flytoget Express train is excellent and simple, departs in each direction every 10 or 20 minutes, and takes you from the main train terminal directly into the airport. The main train terminal is near the new Opera House, which is where you want to stay in Oslo. 

For flights between the US and Reykjavik, take a look at the nonstop on Delta from Minneapolis. They have a premium economy that made it possible to sleep. 

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1 hour ago, Richard2 said:

For flights between the US and Reykjavik, take a look at the nonstop on Delta from Minneapolis. They have a premium economy that made it possible to sleep. 

 

I believe that they have discontinued the premium economy and now offer a few extra-legroom seats for a fee.

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16 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

I believe that they have discontinued the premium economy and now offer a few extra-legroom seats for a fee.

I believe it continues to run at peak times. It's called Delta Premium Select. Seating is 2 X 2. Try DL260 from MSP to KEF in June 2020.

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We took this trip last June, and chose the direction, Reykjavik to Bergen, based upon where we wanted to spend extra time.  Both ports present flight limitations.  We had previously been to both Oslo and Bergen, so spent a couple of extra days in Reykjavik before the cruise.  We took the Icelandair direct flight from Chicago.  The flight itself was fine.  We ate a nice dinner at the airport before boarding.  The seating in economy is probably the most uncomfortable I have ever experienced, but it was tolerable, as the flight was about 6 1/2 hours.  The seats have zero padding, so I sat on the folded blanket that was provided.  It helped - if I was to do it again, I would investigate the blow up seat cushions that I have seen others use.  Originally, when given our  return flight arrangements from Bergen, there was only a 45 minute layover in Reykjavik.  I had our TA move us to the later Reykjavik flight, supposedly a 4 hour layover.  This was a good move, as our flight from Bergen to Reykjavik was about one hour late.  We would have missed the earlier flight.  This caused a lot of angst for fellow Viking travelers, as they were concerned about missing various flights, and they did not all have the option of a second flight out of Reykjavik.  I do not know whether they made their flights.  Our flight from Reykjavik to Chicago was much more comfortable than our flight inbound, as we were in business class. 

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36 minutes ago, Richard2 said:

I believe it continues to run at peak times. It's called Delta Premium Select. Seating is 2 X 2. Try DL260 from MSP to KEF in June 2020.

 

SORRY. MY FAULT.

 

I misread your post. I thought we were still talking about Icelandair, which does not offer Premium Economy--and is the only non-stop choice between BOS & KEF😪.

 

 

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I have flown Icelandair to/fm Europe (both Dulles and JFK) in the past.   It is basic, but no worse than US domestic flights.   We are going on Homelands this Spring, flying Icelandair Dulles- Stockholm with a plane change in KEF and returning to the US with a several day stopover in Iceland, (4pm flight, Bergen-KEF).   If I were returning directly to the US, I would still take Icelandair as you are not backtracking to Oslo or Copenhagen to get a direct flight home.

 

For those contemplating a stopover in Iceland, Viking Air charges a “stopover fee” and uses the same (the only) Bergen - KEF service.  Icelandair does not charge any such fee.  So you do better to buy direct from the airline.  We did so and upgraded to Premium Economy (Yes - they offer this class) while still saving money compared to Viking Air.

 

As to weather delays - more common in the winter; Iceland doesn’t have the late afternoon T storms of the US East Coast.  In the winter however -  I lived in Iceland for 3 yrs (US military) and I remember our mail plane (Loftleidir, the former Icelandair) overflying us quite often as they couldn’t land at KEF due to local weather (winds, snow, whiteouts).

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52 minutes ago, Eastporter said:

For those contemplating a stopover in Iceland, Viking Air charges a “stopover fee” and uses the same (the only) Bergen - KEF service.  Icelandair does not charge any such fee.  So you do better to buy direct from the airline.  We did so and upgraded to Premium Economy (Yes - they offer this class) while still saving money compared to Viking Air.

 

Agreed BUT do the math before you decide. If you got a rare but really good deal on the air with Viking, it might still be cheaper to book through Viking even with the stopover fee.

 

Still, I disagree with you about the availability of Premium Economy. These articles are from March, 2018:

Surprising: Icelandair Is Eliminating Economy Comfort | One ...

Icelandair Is Getting Rid of Premium Economy - The Points Guy

Icelandair has two tiers of seating (Business and Economy) with 5 tiers of pricing. Extra legroom in Economy is available for a fee (bulkhead and exit rows).

 

 

 

 

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Peregrina651

 

I guess I got my nomenclature wrong.   Looking at their website now, you are correct, Icelandair does not offer a "Premium Economy" fare.  I booked seats to Stockholm, return from Bergen, for this coming May/June,  "Economy Standard", but with an upcharge for "with extra legroom".   Seats are not the bulkhead row, but the row behind the bulkhead row.   It too has more legroom (and costs more).  On US domestic flights, "premium" economy  gets you extra legroom, really nothing else.  Even with the upcharge for the extra legroom, the basic Icelandair fare was less than Viking Air's (without even considering Viking's add on for an Iceland stopover).  We purchased  airport transfer services separately from VIking for departure from Bergen ($49 pp).  The Stockholm arrival service was included in the Stockholm extension package.

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On 12/7/2019 at 6:15 AM, TERRIER1 said:

We flew in and out of  Reykjavik from JFK on Icelandair. Icelandair is pretty basic in economy but for us the flight was not long. This was a land trip and we rented a car and stayed 12 days. Iceland is spectacular and if your timing and resources allow, you should stay longer and drive the ring road. So many people just stay in  Reykjavik and do day trips and it doesn't do justice to this beautiful country. As previously mentioned, Icelandair allows you to stay up to 7 days in Iceland as part of the layover. All of Icelandair flights lay over in  Reykjavik. There are other carriers that go in and out but timing always seems the issue especially with connecting flights.

 

Bergen is a VERY small airport and there are no direct flights to the U.S. You must make a connection somewhere to fly home or arrive no matter what airline you use. Our Viking cruise ended in Bergen so we elected to fly to Paris from Bergen and spend some time there since we had to make a connection anyhow. The flight from Bergen to Paris on SAS was very inexpensive. However, they fill up fast since there are limited flights out of Bergen. The suggestion to fly to Oslo and do the Norway in a Nutshell is a good idea. Our cruise started in Stockholm so we didn't have a problem getting a direct flight from JFK.

 

Hope this helps. The fjords of Norway were breathtaking and the side roads of Iceland magnificient. Enjoy your trip.

Another big benefit of Icelandair is you clear EU customs in Reykjavik.  Because the connections are tight they process connecting passengers very quickly.  Once you get to your European destination (other than the UK), you simply pick up your bags and go.  No long lines for passport checks.

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