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For most of the past week I’ve been in Iceland, a beautiful country with very friendly people who are fluent in English. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, one that I highly recommend.
I used WOW Airlines’ very low fares from Baltimore (BWI) to Reykjavik (KEF) and back, with Southwest Airlines award travel from Austin to Baltimore and back.
The flight from BWI to KEF was delayed by about 3 hours due to a strike by Icelandic air traffic controllers. This strike apparently occurs every few days. Upon arrival I took the Flybus shuttle to the Radisson Blu Saga hotel, which had a room available even at 10 AM. This had been booked last year, when Club Carlson had a ‘2 nights for the cost in points of one’ sale going.
After the first 2 nights at the Radisson Blu Saga, I transferred to the Radisson Blu 1919 hotel for the same deal. The two hotels are about 1/2 mile apart.
My days in Reykjavik were filled with a must-do Golden Circle tour, a hop-on-hop-off (HOHO) bus tour of Reykjavik, hot-tubbing at one of the local public geothermal pools (Vesturbaejarlaug, an alternative to the tourist-favored Blue Lagoon), attending a theatrical comedy called “How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes”, taking the ferry to Vithey island nature preserve, and walking all over town.
Among the must-sees in town, easily reachable by the HOHO bus, are the dramatic spire-like church Hallgrimskirkja, the Harpa music hall and the Pearl geothermal facility.
I’m not an adventurous eater, so I chose American favorites like hot dogs and Subway for several meals. For those so inclined, there are restaurants that advertise fried puffin and whale steaks. Other available delicacies are foal meat, boiled sheep’s head and “ALL parts of sheep except the fur.”
The weather was sunny and warm some days, and overcast and long-sleeve-shirt cool other days. It rained only on my last day there, during the Flybus ride from Reykjavik out to KEF.
If you are considering a trip to Iceland in order to view the Aurora Borealis, note that it is only visible at night and there is no night during the summer. However, during my nighttime flight from BWI to KEF there was a period when we were over northern Canada and the sky was still dark. During that time I believe I saw a weak aurora…it was dim but had moving areas that indicated it wasn’t merely high-altitude clouds.
WOW Air is a reputable airline based in Iceland, that sometimes offers $99 fares from the U.S. to that nation. That deal has returned to their website.
As with other ultra low cost airlines (think Spirit, RyanAir), there are lots of fees that serve to increase the price. These include seat selection, food, checked baggage, and “overweight” carry-on luggage.
WOW Air flies modern aircraft with a purple-color theme. They depart from Baltimore, Boston and Los Angeles in the United States, and fly through Iceland (airport code KEF) to a variety of airports in Europe.
Some sample fares: Washington, D.C. to Reykjavik $99, Boston to Frankfurt $189, Los Angeles to Amsterdam $199.
Return fares are higher, but still inexpensive when compared to the better-known airlines.
Some friends of mine flew WOW Air last June and gave a thumbs-up. I plan to follow their lead later this year.
The free weight limit for carry-ons is only 11 pounds, so my plan is to use a 2-ounce gym bag made of ripstop nylon for the purpose. There is no provision for a second “personal” item like a purse or laptop bag.