I just got back from an Iceland vacation from New York. Many things about it were wonderful. There was amazing scenery everywhere. Everything was clean and pristine, and the roads were in amazingly good shape, particularly for a rural country in a cold climate. The food was unbelievably good. Every time we started getting hungry and looking for where to eat, we were looking at the prices and wondering how people could afford to live there. Each time the food arrived with the exception of the crepe place we went to in Reykjavik, we thought "Wow, even though this is double the amount we would pay for food back home, it's still a bargain because you could never get anything this good!". Gamla vínhúsið and the Public House Gastropub. Almost everyone we met was really friendly and incredibly patient with stupid questions from tourists like us.
Another really impressive thing as that almost everyone there spoke perfect English, better than most Americans, with the notable exception of Icelandair, which wasn't so great at it. You would think a company whose sole purpose is bringing people to and from other countries would be better at this. Between the strong accents, the low volume of announcements, and the noise of the plane, it was hard to make out a word they said. In many cases, we couldn't tell they had gotten to the English part of the announcement until they were halfway through it!
But that is the least of the problems with the airline. I never in my life thought I would see an airport worse than the local NYC airports JFK and LGA until I got to KEF. Walking from the plane to the terminal, rather than having the plane go to the gate, is pretty unusual for an international airport in a modern westernized country. The signage within the airport is not very good, with the pictures of suitcases on the signs being small and easy to miss. The amount of walking through the airport to get to the shuttle and pick up the rental car is rather high for there not to be a shuttle between sections of the airport in 2016. But these issues on arrival are nothing compared to the planes themselves and the issues on departure.
The one positive thing about the planes is that they are immaculately clean, pretty sure they are brand new. BUT, the interior needs to be gutted, because it isn't really useful in its current state. For both flights, they took 767s that would normally have 6 seats per row with an aisle down the middle and reconfigured them to have 7 seats and 2 wide aisles per row, with 2 seats on either side and 3 seats in between the aisles. They also squeezed in about 15 extra rows. The resulting seat size is absolutely insane. I measured the seat on my phone as 13" wide (33cm). They should be giving everyone the kids ticket price because there is no way in hell these seats are made for adults. Or maybe get rid of the seats entirely and have everyone stand the whole flight. It's probably safer because I don't think you can sit there for 6 hours without back injury. I took a few pictures on the flight to illustrate how insane this is. I am 6'0", 210-215 lbs (183cm, roughly 96kg), overweight but not a complete fatass. https://imgur.com/a/g1yfZ
The regular seats on JetBlue, one of the more popular budget airlines here, are about the same size as Saga class. The $50 seats on Spirit Air, another budget flight, are literally wider than two of these Icelandair seats, with a hell of a lot more legroom. If I bought a seat for each ass cheek, these new planes would still be cramped!
In addition, the lousy excuse for a cushion is so thin and stiff it may as well be made of wrought iron. To make matters worse, the seat back only has the "cushion" on the edges, with the center recessed to create pressure points on the sides of your back. The headrests have nothing to keep them lifted, so if you push them up they just fall back to neck/shoulder height in a second. The ride up to the glaciers for snowmobiling is incredibly comfortable compared to the planes. The temperature for most of the flight in both directions is in the upper 80s F (~30C). I think most airlines are insanely hot like this nowadays, but most of them have little vent nozzles above each seat for individual passengers to try to get more air. No such thing on Icelandair. The chocolate I purchased in the duty free shops melted from the heat on the plane. It's a good thing they give you a blanket anyway though because at least it can be used as a seat cushion.
The departure process is a complete clusterfuck. I think they have every flight back to North America leaving between 16:30 and 17:00. The gate area at the airport literally ends up more crowded than the NYC subway during rush hour. If you have any fire codes I'm fairly certain Keflavik terminal D is in violation. Because of the resulting chaos the planes actually leave closer to 18:00.