Caravellian moment

Airlines have personalities. Singapore and Thai are delightful. Virgin Atlantic is genuinely hip. Lufthansa is desperately dull and tasteless. Air France can’t speak English or keep time, but serve delicious lunches. SAS is mercilessly Scandinavian (don’t for a second try to do anything out of the ordinary – and don’t expect a joke unless the flight attendant is Danish).

Icelandair, where I am sitting right now, is unapologetically provincial, and a throwback to an earlier time of flying. Not only do they fly old SAS planes with blue seat-covers and have stewardesses in blue uniforms with little pillbox hats. They also serve “Egils sodavatn” and a chocolate called Prince HPolo, and the inflight music is relentlessly optimistic (boy, is it fun and vaguely stylish to fly) in a way I haven’t seen outside a Dan Ackroyd parody commercial.

They used to have the smallest business lounge I have ever seen, where you got to know your fellow travellers surprisingly well in the five minutes you got at Keflavik between plane changes, but that has changed – it is now elegant in polished granite and dark wood, and, at least on January 1st, largely empty. Still, it remains fun to see cheesy Christmas decorations in the plane and vaguely threatening signs in Viking language (“Sitjid med sætisælar spenntar”). Now, I hope they have some interesting volcano show going as we pass Iceland…..

Update June 7, 2005: See also…

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68 thoughts on “Caravellian moment

  1. Gudjon

    Now, you need to check your facts. The airplanes Icelandair operates are NOT old SAS planes. In fact, most of them, have been bought straight from the Boeing plant.

  2. Icelander

    Well I must say I was amused when I read your brief description of our one of two international airlines 🙂 And that threatening Viking language – not so crude, infact, since all it stresses is to remind the passenger to sit with seatbelts fastened at all times 🙂 Oh and Prince “Holo” is acctually Prince Polo and made in Polland, and has, somehow, over the years become a kind of national dish in Iceland 🙂 Just figured I’d give you my point of view 🙂 Oh and I also must say that I think Iceland Air is heaven compared to Northwest in the USA… but again that’s just me 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    gegt flott blogg haltu fram a blogga mtti setja inn myndir af djamminu ea eithva bb,
    r

  4. Anonymous

    gegt flott blogg haltu fram a blogga mtti setja inn myndir af djamminu ea eithva bb,
    r

  5. Espen

    Well, r, my Icelandic is very rudimentary, but I think “flott blogg” means something like “good blogg” and “haltu fram a blogga” means something like “keep on blogging” and then I will just have to give up on the rest….

  6. Anonymous

    You blogg sucks big time. There is nothing true that you write about on your blog. Old SAS planes??, are you kidding me. All the planes that Icelandair fly, are almost brand new, bought straight from the Boeing company. So, shut up about talking dirty about my lovely company, i will sue your ass big time motherfucker.

  7. Anonymous

    You blogg sucks big time. There is nothing true that you write about on your blog. Old SAS planes??, are you kidding me. All the planes that Icelandair fly, are almost brand new, bought straight from the Boeing company. So, shut up about talking dirty about my lovely company, i will sue your ass big time motherfucker.

  8. Anonymous

    Shut your mouth asswipe. You dont talk dirty about Icelandair unless you want us to sue your ass. Your blogg sucks big time and long time for quite a while so no smile for a mile. Stick your blog up your uncle ass and dont fly Icelandass. So mo fo, no Icelandic dirty talk, or you will have a long walk to heaven. Hey, have you heard the song Heaven that we song about in the Eurovision song contest three years ago?? Its fantastic! You can sometimes hear it in Icelandair planes, and then everybody starts dancing and screaming and drinking lot of beers. Sometimes you can have sex with the stewardess if they are in the mood. Hilsen from Halldr Pilsen.

  9. Anonymous

    Shut your mouth asswipe. You dont talk dirty about Icelandair unless you want us to sue your ass. Your blogg sucks big time and long time for quite a while so no smile for a mile. Stick your blog up your uncle ass and dont fly Icelandass. So mo fo, no Icelandic dirty talk, or you will have a long walk to heaven. Hey, have you heard the song Heaven that we song about in the Eurovision song contest three years ago?? Its fantastic! You can sometimes hear it in Icelandair planes, and then everybody starts dancing and screaming and drinking lot of beers. Sometimes you can have sex with the stewardess if they are in the mood. Hilsen from Halldr Pilsen.

  10. Sveinn

    Okey… Uhhh.. Halldr Pilsen how old are you anyway? have sex with them since when was that possible and Prince Holo is acctuly Prince Polo and last time when i was on that plane there was Heaven playing and no one just started screaming and dancing and getting drunk and that the stewardess are in the mood to have sex with you… anyway your comment P.S Icelandair dosent suck or is that super good its just average….

  11. Xavier in Iceland

    Hahaha…
    This is so true. Flying Icelandair is so boring. Most of the plains are actually new as someone has stated here before.
    The FA uniforms are so 1970’s and the service is just basic, nothing more to add to that.
    Having flown with Thai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Saudia, Virgin, Southwest etc I can verify every word that Espen has posted. That compaired to those airlines Icelandair is VERY DULL.
    Nuff said.
    Xavier

  12. Andre

    Well, I’ve been in the buisness lounge and i must say i seriously thought about staying there for the weekend instead of going to Netherlands as planned 😛
    Plus the Icelandair got rewarded for beeing one of the best airlines in the world.

  13. Linda

    Hey Espen read this , Shut the fuck up u tourist mother fucker! like we dont have anything to say about your fucking ugly smelly country. ooo u bet! ill bet u are some fat old man that is so fucking fat that he cant even wipe his own ass!

  14. Linda

    Hey Espen read this , Shut the fuck up u tourist mother fucker! like we dont have anything to say about your fucking ugly smelly country. ooo u bet! ill bet u are some fat old man that is so fucking fat that he cant even wipe his own ass!
    P.S.: dont mess with iceland

  15. Axel

    ff, slendingar a grenja :). roskist og ekki gefa svona vonda mynd af slandi. Og j, Icelandair er alveg gtt svosem, hrilega leiinlegar tnlistarstvar samt.

  16. Tryggvi

    I just want to say sorry for all of those icelandic idiots here…
    we are not all that stupid… so hope you forgive us and come back to Iceland someday… it’s lovely!
    Icelandair is definately not one of the best airlines in the world but it’s fairly above average, I have used many crappier airlines in my travelling days, e.g. Azurra Air, SpanAir and more…
    so the result is that Icelandair is “ok” but not as fancy as you would like it to be (with the pricez and all)
    LATER

  17. Espen

    Well, I seem to have touched a raw nerve somewhere. Fascinating – most experts see the concept of the “flagship” airline as dying, but here we see a reason why it will be with us for quite a while.
    As for the derogatory comments, they reflect the authors more than me. After all, big words uttered by people hiding behind false names are not something to be taken seriously.

  18. Anonymous

    slandair og slendingar sucka, g skammast mn fyrir a vera slendingur. Fuck Iceland

  19. Anonymous

    slandair og slendingar sucka, g skammast mn fyrir a vera slendingur. Fuck Iceland

  20. Chriss

    I tell u wat Espen. Somebody put a link 2 ur homepage @ another homepage (www.b2.is) and as Icelander don’t have much 2 do they like commentin this old blogg lol. They r so touchy as u can c! “don’t mess wiv iceland” etc. In iceland u r not allowed 2 av bad oppinions bout iceland. I av 2 admit dat Im an icelander livin abroad n when I meet ppl here all they say is “ooojjj” “ogedslega skritid” “allt miklu betra heima”… they r basically very negative towards everything different from their country. That explains why icelandic ppl don’t respect oppinions… I mean wats up wiv a man havin an another oppinion then u?! its not like its gonna help writin a comment here… just have to accept dat not everybody luv ur country n their r sum things bout iceland dat dont please ppl dat r used 2 other things….

  21. Anonymous

    I also apalogise for you Icelanders who are dramatically hurt and injured by comments from one Norwegan man about our airline company!!!! The airline company is avarege and thats ok! We are a small country og 300.000 people and why want more? Im flattered that we are compaired to the other airline companies who serve a whole lot more of people than we do and are considered very very good.
    Maybe we just think that our airplanes serve their purpose and we choose not to spend our money on making the airport more fancy than it has to be…

  22. Anonymous

    I also apalogise for you Icelanders who are dramatically hurt and injured by comments from one Norwegan man about our airline company!!!! The airline company is avarege and thats ok! We are a small country og 300.000 people and why want more? Im flattered that we are compaired to the other airline companies who serve a whole lot more of people than we do and are considered very very good.
    Maybe we just think that our airplanes serve their purpose and we choose not to spend our money on making the airport more fancy than it has to be…

  23. Anonymous

    Makes me sad to see Icelanders make such fools of themselves… and on behalf of our country, no less.
    Lots of immature rants here. And here I thought Americans were cought up in nationalism… they’re beginners when compared to the arrogant Icelandic youth. I’m glad we don’t have any armed forces or Iceland would soon be starring in the sequel to “The Mouse that Roared” (look it up if you don’t get the reference).
    Icelandair is pretty lame on an international scale, but they have one thing over the rest, and that’s the fact that they don’t charge you extra for the movies.

  24. Anonymous

    Makes me sad to see Icelanders make such fools of themselves… and on behalf of our country, no less.
    Lots of immature rants here. And here I thought Americans were cought up in nationalism… they’re beginners when compared to the arrogant Icelandic youth. I’m glad we don’t have any armed forces or Iceland would soon be starring in the sequel to “The Mouse that Roared” (look it up if you don’t get the reference).
    Icelandair is pretty lame on an international scale, but they have one thing over the rest, and that’s the fact that they don’t charge you extra for the movies.

  25. Ace a.k.a. XydaR

    That’s a nice comment there Margrt. I happen to have the exact same oppinion as you in this matter. So Epsen… keep up the good work on makeing dumb icelandic people mad. 🙂 It’s not an accomplish becouse it isn’t hard but… keep it up anyway. 😀

  26. Ace

    Btw… sorry for the shitty writeing… long time since i talk to wrote something in english (engrish 🙂 )… but moast people can understand this and that’s what i’m trying to do. Aren’t we all trying to make at least one person understand us. I will like to think so. 😛

  27. maggy

    goodness Ace, that has to be the worst english written that I have ever read but what I failed to see what your comment was about even though I think I can understand your “english”.
    Of course everything that these silly Icelanders are saying is horse shit and should be taken as such. I have been a passenger with many airlines and the small hearted and mabey small minded non-international Icelander that I am still loves to fly with my old fashioned Icelandair precicely because it is what it is, unpretentious

  28. Kalli

    Jja. etta er n fyndi. Annarsvegar flk a lta eins og smbrn og hinsvegar flk sem er a ykjast vera betra a me v a segja flkin or. Af hverju erum vi a skrifa hrna aftur? J……. komum sleik.

  29. Proud Icelander

    Those Icelanders are not stupid…they are proud!!! It is like if some one would say to you: Your mother sucks!!! You love your mother and you stand up for her and say “fuck you” to the one who said that your mothe sucked!!!
    Is that beeing stupid? To stand up for what you love???…..
    …It is stupid not to!!!!!!!!

  30. btg

    Rauhrir eiga eftir a sigra heiminn. Id just like to apologize for my fellow Icelanders and I compelely agree on you that Icelandair is Ok, witch is quite good compaired to bigger airlines that are considerably worse.
    Heija Norge

  31. Anonymous

    To Proud Icelander:
    You cannot be proud of something over which you had no control.
    You can be proud of your accomplishments, but you cannot be proud of how or where you were born.
    That goes for “proud Americans” as well…
    and gay pride… (if you’re trying so hard to convince the world it’s not a choice, how can you be proud of what you are?)
    You can love your country, and you can stand up for your country, but you cannot be proud of having been born there… it wasn’t your doing and it wasn’t an accomplishment.

  32. Anonymous

    To Proud Icelander:
    You cannot be proud of something over which you had no control.
    You can be proud of your accomplishments, but you cannot be proud of how or where you were born.
    That goes for “proud Americans” as well…
    and gay pride… (if you’re trying so hard to convince the world it’s not a choice, how can you be proud of what you are?)
    You can love your country, and you can stand up for your country, but you cannot be proud of having been born there… it wasn’t your doing and it wasn’t an accomplishment.

  33. Anonymous

    i eru islegir allir me tlu.
    Hva er svona merkilegt vi etta helvtis flugflag? a er gjrsamlega bi a taka ykkur rassgati. Sji hva gerist ef Icelandexpress rllar hausinn. a myndi kosta um og yfir hundra sund a skreppa til kben.
    G ELSKA ALLA!

  34. Anonymous

    i eru islegir allir me tlu.
    Hva er svona merkilegt vi etta helvtis flugflag? a er gjrsamlega bi a taka ykkur rassgati. Sji hva gerist ef Icelandexpress rllar hausinn. a myndi kosta um og yfir hundra sund a skreppa til kben.
    G ELSKA ALLA!

  35. shtblastostosoid

    ahahahahHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH….hann er 0rugglega rauhrur….classic!

  36. Nattevagten

    Any comments on
    WIG WAM
    In my dreams
    They are old fashion and we like it here in the land of fire and ice.
    Regards

  37. Gulla

    Hi there, I liked your description of Icelandair 🙂 you should really come to Icceland and hear the real crude Viking language we have 🙂

  38. Anonymous

    I’d like to say that you’r oppinion about Icelandair does not come as a surprise to me, personally I think most of the stuardess are rude and yes a bit old fashion in the way they dress.. But what matters is that you got to your destenation (hopefully in an estemated time) and the plaine didn’t fall apart despite being old..
    I really hope that you don’t take Icelanders to be rude though.. We are just protective about our country, there for some of us have to use bad language and make all kinds of threats that don’t make any sense at all. But after all you can’t blame us, we are but small country and have been tought that we CAN to do big things like others dispite the population number..
    I really hope that you will visit Iceland some day and enjoy it.

  39. Anonymous

    I’d like to say that you’r oppinion about Icelandair does not come as a surprise to me, personally I think most of the stuardess are rude and yes a bit old fashion in the way they dress.. But what matters is that you got to your destenation (hopefully in an estemated time) and the plaine didn’t fall apart despite being old..
    I really hope that you don’t take Icelanders to be rude though.. We are just protective about our country, there for some of us have to use bad language and make all kinds of threats that don’t make any sense at all. But after all you can’t blame us, we are but small country and have been tought that we CAN to do big things like others dispite the population number..
    I really hope that you will visit Iceland some day and enjoy it.

  40. Anonymous

    Eg ver a segja a g er a skammast mn sm a vera slendingur vi a a lesa etta m flk ekki hafa snar skoanir g meina vi vitum a Icelandair er eitt besta flugflag heiminum afhverju og eir eru bara srir a hafa ekki svona gott flugflag

  41. Anonymous

    Eg ver a segja a g er a skammast mn sm a vera slendingur vi a a lesa etta m flk ekki hafa snar skoanir g meina vi vitum a Icelandair er eitt besta flugflag heiminum afhverju og eir eru bara srir a hafa ekki svona gott flugflag

  42. Biggi

    Svo er flk a tala um hve roska og heimskt flk fr bandrkjunum er? Af hverju virist vera svona miki af 14 ra krkkum sem eru nbin a lra ensku sem vill gera sig a ffli me v a babla bara eitthva kjafti? etta er ekki jarstolt. A geta teki gagnrni og gert eitthva vi hana er jarstolt. A harneita og kasta bltsyrum framan gagnrnendurna og saka um mislegt er ekkert nema heimska. rsoskist aeins og fyrir alla muni ekki segja neitt erlendum sum nema i su orin 18 ea su ngu rosku til a hafa uppi vitrnar umrur.
    This is just a remnant of a too big ego and nationalistic pride which has just become silly. Also most of those people that comment like they are 14 year old kids which have just learned engelsk are probably that. 🙂

  43. Andri

    hey there Espen
    i haven’t really travelled with many airlines in my life, as a matter of fact, i’ve only travelled with Icelandair and and Air Iceland (wich is only the domestic part of Icelandair, and was once under the same name) and i have to say i think the service and planes are quite diffrent from each other.
    In international flight, Icelandair has two types of plains B757-200 and B757-300. The B757-200 plains are quite old, and it seems to me that often there are quite “bitchy” stewerdresses (i hope that is spelled right) in them. But the B757-300 are newer than the others, and the stewerdresses seem to me to be a lot nicer there than in the 200’s
    In domestic flight, there are three types of plains, there is a Fokker-50, Metro-27 (I THINK) and Twin Otter. The Fokker is the largest of those three, quite small though, it has fair service and fair seats, wich is fine, as the longest flights you get in those is 45 minutes UNLESS you go to Fore Islands (hope it’s spelled correctly) and Greenland, and i don’t know the time there. The Metro’s are very small, you can’t stand upright, and you should bring earplugs, just in case, because they are VERY, VERY loud, there is no service in those.
    I don’t know anything about the TO’s.

  44. Man

    Jaherna… eintm brn hrna inn… etta eru n hans skoanir mlunum, g hef flogi n me icelandair og finnst a fnt.. mttu eir hafa ungar og huggulegar flugfreyjur 😛 En hann m n hafa pnu skoanir greyji, en Normenn eru fnir allavega egar g fr anga.. var manni teki fagnandi og mjg kurteisir eir.
    essi comment voru n ekki eins nirandi eins og blaamaurinn fr Englandi sem fjallai um Bla lni 🙂

  45. Jon

    Its pathetic how icelanders just cant take any hint of criticism. icelandair do fly a LOT of older planes. the hostesses are rude and you generally have to sit with your garbage for half the flight. icelandair is more on a par with aeroflot or and eastern block airline. but then iceland is really a bit of a backward eastern block like country. the only people who dont see that is icelanders. iceland is overated and so is icelandair.

  46. Sandra

    hei Espen!
    ok, jeg har bodde i Norge 1 r da jeg var yngre, likte det der men n bor jeg p Island og liker det egentlig ikke s mye.. desverre 😦
    Og du kanskje kan se hvorfor p alle de kommentene du har ftt, alle tenker at Island er best i verden og at alt er best p Island! Men snn er det ikke, jeg kom hjem fra Mexico i gr og jeg m si at jeg likte meg egentlig bedre der en p Island!
    Folk p Island er ikke s vennlig som folk i utlandet og det er mange ting jeg kan si som er ikke er gode for Island… Men selv om jeg liker det ikke s veldig s bor jeg her fortsatt (vet ikke helt hvorfor!)
    Men uansett, s liker jeg det du skrev om IcelandAir… det er helt sant!!
    Hilsen en islandsk nordmann 😉

  47. Francine

    I love Icelandair, I love Iceland, and I love Pragi – Francine Brussels (remembering 14 augustus 2005)

  48. Magga

    I know I am like, really, really ,really ,really late, but damn. My dad is a pilot for Icelandair and I happen to have met loads of airhostesses [I don’t know how to write that] and they are nice as ‘Insert something that you like’. Maybe they get tired of doing the same thing all over again. I don’t know. OR maybe they are just rude ‘Bitches’. Either way, we are such a small population and Icelandair works just fine for us. We don’t need anything bigger or better than that so it’s satisfying for us. And wow, Icelanders couldn’t get any more big headed. Surely you are proud but sometimes you should keep your mouth shut. And for the Icelandic Iceland haters. Well then go, I wouldn’t miss you. Let they guy/girl have his/hers opinions. I don’t like alot if things and sure I rant in my blog, never had anyone yell at me for it. Maybe you just did that cause it’s a foreigner?
    And why did you [By you I mean that person that wrote that not the person that has the blog] say that there are just ’14 year old that don’t have good English’ that type here and make fool of themselves. I am 15 and I think I write in proper English. I write better than my own grandfather so it could be 60 year old internet nerds from Iceland that are typing most on here. =] Take a chill pill like many people say….

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