On 11th November 2007 we flew to Reykjavik and this was a British Airways flight so there was a level of sophistication to which we have become unaccustomed in our travels with the budget airlines and here are just a few things that British Airways do better than Ryanair; on this flight there were comfortable leather seats, flight attendants in smart uniforms, ample legroom for stretching out, a bag of breakfast, complimentary drinks and a pretty blonde Icelandic girl in the seat next to me and whilst we were in the air we had nothing but good things to say about the airline.
Things changed however when we arrived in Reykjavik and here is something that Ryanair do better than British Airways; they remember to put your luggage on board the same aircraft as you and deliver it to the same airport at the same time.
Arrival in Reykjavik started well enough with duty free being helpfully opened for arriving passengers and I was able to purchase moderately priced beer to see me through the three days and while I saw to this important purchase Kim waited for the luggage to arrive on the baggage carousel. And she waited for quite a while longer than usual because although my bag came through quickly, there was no sign of hers. We watched the conveyor belt complete about five full cycles and a pink suitcase go round at least four when it began to dawn on us that the bag probably wasn’t going to come through the little hole in the wall where the bags came from. I optimistically went to have a look through the rubber flaps to see if it had fallen off airside but of course it hadn’t. Staff at the desk confirmed that unfortunately the bag was still in London but assured us that it would arrive the next day and be delivered directly to our hotel. This was British Airways and they seemed to display a degree of confidence and efficiency about their handling of the situation so we were certain that this promise would be fulfilled.
After completing forms about the missing luggage we were obliged to explain the situation to the Icelandic customs officer who was a bit unnecessarily sharp with us and who seemed to be showing an unnerving amount of interest in our alcohol supplies that were the equivalent of eight bottles of red wine and six litres of beer. I don’t know if we had too much but he waved us through anyway with a charmless sneer and we went through to the arrivals hall to pick up our hire car after completing the hiring formalities discovered that it was cunningly hidden at the very back of a car park with hopelessly inadequate signage to assist. Welcome to Iceland!
We had landed through a thick grey sky heavy with rain and outside the weather was wet and uninviting. It wasn’t heavy rain, just that low cloud and mizzle that is cold, damp and depressing. Reykjavik was about a fifty-kilometre drive and it was across a barren lunar type landscape with black granite rocks and no vegetation at all except for the vibrant green moss that was clinging to the boulders. This was an unfamiliar terrain unlike anything that I had seen before and it reminded me of a tray of freshly baked muffins that had risen quickly due to the heat and had split and cracked as though some mighty force from below and heaved them up through the earth’s crust, which of course it had.
We found the Hotel Bjork with no difficulty at all and once we had checked in and found our room I emptied my bag and hung up my clothes and Kim watched me with a long face. Then the seriousness of the situation finally hit me – my razor was in Kim’s bag – absolutely bloody brilliant! How was I going to have a shave! Together we went through the contents of mine to share them out between us and Kim accepted my spare hat and pair of gloves but rejected the offer of my spare pair of underpants.