| Friday, August 10, 2007
| Why I Hate Iceland Air
|This is all of the negativity from the entire trip - wrapped into two days of travel. I promise, this was not a negative trip. We had a blast. Except for the following two days: July 28/29th (departure) and August 9th (homecoming).
Not all of the unhappy things that happened on Iceland Air were Iceland Air's fault. Only about 90% of the things.
We left our house at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 28th. Beloved had confirmed our flight, and it was all "on time" they said. On time meant 9:30 p.m.
We arrived at the airport and checked in. The woman lazily and without much tone to her voice told us, "your flight is delayed until 11:45." As if she was telling me I had something stuck in my teeth, or something. I said, "what does that mean for our connection?" She said (same voice) "We do not anticipate any missed connections." and then she removed something from her teeth. Or perhaps killed a bug as it crawled across the counter. She really didn't give a shit about what she was saying to us ... that much is certain.
We then went to an airport bar/grill place, and got the world's shittiest burgers. (See? Not Iceland Air's Fault!!)
I started to feel on edge. It was 9 p.m., and I thought we'd be boarding. Instead, we were stuck in a tiny, crappy terminal with about 300 other international passengers going to various places. There had been major thunderstorms earlier in the day, so it didn't seem so preposterous that there was a backlog due to earlier delays. But it wasn't fun.
I did all the math in my head, and figured that she was probably right. We wouldn't miss our connection, because first of all, they could go faster. Planes can always go faster. Second of all, if we were going to miss our connection, it would be by approximately 10 minutes - it seemed clear that many people on the Boston-Iceland flight were then going to be continuing on to Paris on the same airline, so they would likely hold the 7:30 a.m. flight to Paris in order to allow all of us onto the plane.
Finally, we got on the plane, and took off at close to midnight. I spent some time listening to "40 minute French" and learned pretty much nothing. Then I (surprisingly) slept.
We landed in Reykjavík at 7:40 a.m., which was the time that our plane was due to take off. We flew through the passport checkpoint, and up the stairs. I saw a monitor that said the flight to Paris was delayed until 8 a.m. - I thought that meant they were waiting for us. We went to the gate.
The door was closed and locked. The gate was dark. There was no plane.
It was 8:01 a.m.
Reykjavík is the only airport on an island in the middle of the northern Atlantic. Iceland Air seems to be the only airline servicing the airport.
So when we were told that no, there were no other flights to Paris that day, it was a little ....
No. not yet. Then, it was just scary. What were we going to do? The woman at that desk (who also, I think, had something much more pressing than helping the 400 people who were coming off the flight from Boston to find that their flights had left without them to tend to - like a strand of hair that kept escaping from under her hat or something) told us that it would be some time before they could figure out "whether they could find us alternate arrangements."
That's when I was fucking infuriated. There was a question? An open question as to whether or not she was going to get us off her flat, ugly, rocky, island?
Beloved was expending all of his energy toward calming me down at this point. He was rubbing my neck, and saying soft soothing words into my ear. He didn't want me on edge and bitchy already. We weren't sure what would be happening throughout the day, and I probably didn't need to blow a gasket at that moment.
So I decided that her choice of words (whether it was "if" or "whether" - I can't remember) was due to a language barrier, and sat down and closed my eyes.
10 minutes later, we were given a new itinerary, along with the news that we were going to Gothenberg, Sweden. From there, we would be put on an Air France flight to Paris. We were now due to arrive in Paris at 7:30 p.m. local time, rather than 1:05 p.m. local time.
Of course, the flight to Sweden was also delayed.
In Sweden, things were sticky again, as the airline switch meant we had to exit the ticketed passenger portion of the airport, and get in line at the ticketing desk, just as if we had just been dropped off at the curb. There was much question and disagreement as to whether we needed to get our bags first. One official-person told us yes, another told us no. I told Beloved we should NOT get them until after we got our ticket processed, because if we stood around waiting for the incompetent Iceland Air folks to unload our bags, we could miss the flight (again) and end up having to spend the night in Sweden. I didn't want to spend the night in Sweden.
The Air France counter in Gothenberg was very lightly staffed. There were two people manning it, who often had to consult with each other at length before picking grit out of their eyes, let alone process a passenger's ticket. One of the American boys who had been put through the same nonsense that we had since Boston started to get quite agitated as the Air France women would sit with binoculars looking for Business Class customers who they could whisk to the front of the line in front of those of us who had been waiting for 45 minutes and were about to pee our pants in fear that we were going to miss another flight. He actually started to yell ---
Oddly, he started to yell about something about his mother's dead body which was sitting in a morgue in Paris.
I have no doubt that his mother is alive and well somewhere in New Jersey.
Along with his weird idea that visions of a body rotting in a morgue would get these women to move faster, he had this concept of himself as a father-hen, or something, that needed to spread its wings over all of those who were stuck in freaking Sweden with him when they were supposed to be going from Boston to Paris, and so he hovered a bit.
This made me uncomfortable, since his ranting about his mother's dead body had the tendency to attract armed police officers to the balcony above the ticketing counter for the entire time he was in line. Right in front of us. Talking to us! Stop talking to us! They think you're some kind of dead-body-loving terrorist! I want to go to Paris!
We ended up on the plane to Paris. It was fine. Air France gives tasty and interesting snacks on planes. There were dried apricots, apples and prunes on a stick. (Yeah, on a stick. I don't think they used the stick to cook them, b/c they weren't cooked, but they were on a stick.) There were cheeses. I think perhaps chocolate, too.
I'm not fully certain, because something that stupid Iceland Air fed me had caused a good bit of discontent in my intestines, and I spent the flight running to and from the bathroom.
Oh, joy and rapture.
Yesterday's complaints were much less severe.
Iceland Air seems to think that the other airlines are silly, and have tossed out the pointless conventions of air travel. Such as, oh, tiered boarding of planes. Why should they, will someone please explain, force the passengers seated in the front of the plane to be the last to board? It would definitely be much smarter - MUCH smarter, to have the people in row 10 board alongside those in row 40. That way, the people in Row 10 can spend time putting their bags up, and getting their kids in order while the people in Row 40 wait in the aisle next to row 6, along with those in row 20, and row 30. Makes perfect sense.
I mean, really? Why have any organization at all? What, exactly, is the benefit to loading a plane in a timely manner?
And another good idea. Let's have people line up to board, and then let them into a "staging area." We can attract them from their seats in the terminal with the illusion of getting on the plane, take their boarding passes, and then lock them into a corral of sorts, where there are no seats, and where there is room for about 30 people less than actually are standing there! Then, let's keep them there for, oh, perhaps 30 more minutes? Then when we let them on the plane pell mell roly poly, they'll be all sweaty and grouchy and confused. That'll show those stupid "flight attendants" who think they're so special just because they get to fly all day. HA!
Also, their seats weren't exactly bolted to the floor of the plane. Isn't that weird? Perhaps, maybe, a little illegal? We had a couple of frat boys in the row in front of us (who had a penchant for fish sandwiches), and every time they hoisted their asses off their seats to yank their thong out of their butt crack, their entire row of seats threatened to crush the bones in our legs.
Iceland was still flat, ugly and rocky. And rainy. I'm sure it has some positive attributes. But it isn't Paris, Amsterdam or Boston, and therefore, was not somewhere I wanted to be.
I did see a movie in the past year which was partly set in Reykjavík, and at the time, I thought the city looked relatively interesting. That thought is gone. Lost. permanently.
I would also like to use this travel rant to make a proposal. I propose that all people who buy an airline ticket be required to take a few measurements prior to being sold their ticket. If their shoulders, ass, gut or thighs exceed, in inches, the breadth of the seat, they will be charged for two seats. They can even HAVE both seats.
Because it's just not FAIR that when a professional wrestler lumbers down the aisle and sits down in our row so that we are then forced to sit with our legs intertwined in a non-romantic fashion, b/c wrestler-guy needs to put his damned legs somewhere - and that somewhere is up against Beloved's tray table. Then Beloved needs to put his damned legs somewhere, and that ends up being up against MY tray table. Then my legs are against the wall, and I can't stretch them or anything. And Wrestler-dude has shoulders that go into the aisle by like 6 inches, so every time a "flight attendant" comes by, he leans even further into Beloved's seat, so Beloved is practically on my lap.
I just - HATE - Iceland Air.
And their seats were broken. One seat up the aisle a bit had packing tape wrapped around the tray table and the seat in front of it.
My air conditioning nozzle was broken off, and someone had stuffed a plastic baggie into the hole. I took it out (once I realized it wasn't part of the a/c), but I still couldn't get any cool air to save my life.
And the landing sucked. The pilot actually slammed on the brakes, and made the tires screech. On an airplane!!!
Next time: Non Stop, on Virgin Atlantic. Or some other airline that treats passengers nicely and not like sheep being shoved from one field to another.
Labels: airplanes, airports, sheep
|posted by Zuska @ 5:17 PM
Yo, sweetie, the dude with the dead mother rotting in Paris was holding a German passport (I saw it clearly) but had obviously been brought up by someone from the US by his demeanor. And you didn't even mention that he had bad tattoos, as in badly done, allover his arms and shoulders, with unclear lines and all. What a gobshite he was!
Holy shit. I would NOT have been able to pull it together, neck massage or not. What a nightmare!
Wow and to think I used to want to fly Iceland Air and to even visit Iceland. This gives me some food for thought about that!