Did you know many airlines offer what’s called a stopover at no additional cost when you fly with them? Say you have a connection in a foreign city, which is a major hub for that airline, before reaching your final destination. Well, you can delay your connecting flight for several days to explore the layover city/country.
I first discovered this sweet stopover thing back in 2010 when I was planning a trip to the UK with Andrew to visit his family. Direct flights to London with British Airways were fantastic, but the price started to creep up to be over $1,000 round trip. We then started seeing bus adverts in Seattle for Icelandair. Not only did they offer service from Seattle to London, but you can stopover in Iceland for up to a week at no additional cost. We were immediately sold not only on their reasonably priced flights, but also on the chance to spend a couple days exploring Reykjavik, someplace where Andrew had always wanted to visit.
This stopover was a genius idea to get visitors to Iceland to help pump money into their flailing economy after the massive economic crisis in 2008. What better way to show the world the Icelandic way of life and the utter beauty of this interesting country?
^^ you, too, could be right here soaking in that hot water at the Blue Lagoon
From the moment we landed at Keflavik International Airport in December of 2010, we were hooked on Iceland. The people are so incredibly friendly, and the scenery is even more breathtaking that I imagined. Virtually everyone I know who has been to Iceland shares that sentiment of immediately falling for this tiny little nordic island.
Andrew and I have done the stopover twice now, and have since decided a short couple of days is not nearly enough time spent in Iceland. We stuck mostly around Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon, and the airport in Keflavik both visits, fighting jet lag and the time zone change. We are desperate to get back and stay for longer so we have time to rent a car and drive around the island, to see the waterfalls, glaciers and horses that I’ve admired in countless photographs since my obsession with Iceland began.
During the past year, I flew to and from London via Icelandair and it felt 50 shades of wrong to not have a stopover planned either direction. I felt sad sitting at Keflavik airport for a few hours between flights, unable to leave the airport and go exploring a country that I have fallen in love with.
If you are planning a visit to Paris, London, Manchester, Oslo, Bergen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Milan or any one of the other dozen destinations they fly to from the US and Canada, you must consider a stopover in Iceland. Currently, these flights are available from Seattle, Anchorage, Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, DC, Orlando, NYC and Boston, as well as a few hubs in Canada. I have no doubt Icelanair will add additional North American locations in the future.
Andrew and I are already plotting a Scandinavian adventure for hopefully the not-so-distant future when we are able to travel again, which will most definitely include a stopover in Iceland – long enough to drive around the entire island. This country is so special to us in many ways and we can’t wait to get back there.
Stopover aside, Icelandair has quickly become my favorite airline. A great fleet, laid back yet kind employees, ample choices of in-flight music, movies, information about the flight and Iceland right at your seat all make for a seamless transatlantic flight. If you are planning a trip to Europe, add a stopover in Iceland and see for yourself what all the hype is about. I promise you won’t be able to stop thinking about how soon you can plan your return.
Have you done a stopover in Iceland?
((although many of these photos are borrowed, the opinions are my own))