A flight on Hekla Aurora, Icelandair’s northern lights themed plane


I may not have seen the northern lights during my recent trip to Iceland, but my return flight on Icelandair’s northern lights inspired plane, “Hekla Aurora”, just about made up for the disappointment.

As I waited to board my flight from Keflavik back to Birmingham, I reflected on my short break in Iceland. It had it all – great food, scenery, memorable daytrips to the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon and even the weather played ball as it was snowy but not too cold. The only thing that would have enhanced my trip would have been a sighting of the famous northern lights (or aurora borealis).

So imagine my surprise and delight when I found out I was to be on Icelandair’s new northern lights-themed special edition plane, Hekla Aurora. I counted myself very lucky, as the airline has a fleet of 21 Boeing 757s that fly from the island’s only international airport at Keflavik to 39 destinations across North America and Europe. 21/1 shots don’t normally come off for me!

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Each plane is named after one of the country’s volcanoes – in December 2014 the Hekla plane (named after one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes) flew to Norwich and was given a makeover to become Hekla Aurora, with its northern lights livery. The outside of the plane is midnight blue, with bright greens and sky blues shimmering above snowy peaked volcanoes. It’s definitely an improvement on the airline’s regular livery of white, blue and yellow which is not a million miles away from that of Ryanair.

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As my camera’s battery had long since died, I fumbled dopily with my iPhone and took some pretty poor photos of the outside before sleepwalking on board (it was a 7.50am departure).

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As I shuffled to my seat, I noticed the plane’s interior shimmered with pink, purple, green and blue mood lighting as if the northern lights were dancing away above me. The airline say this recreates the atmosphere you get when you see the northern lights, although I wouldn’t know about that :(. Dreamy music by local bands is played before take-off, adding to the laid-back vibe.

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The idea behind Hekla Aurora is to promote Icelandair’s #MyStopover campaign. You can fly between Europe and USA/Canada with a stopover in Iceland, and stay for up to seven days at no extra cost. Our flight from Birmingham took just 2 hours 30 minutes, and it takes 5-6 hours to get to New York, so is a good way to break the journey up and see a magical little country on the way.

The downside to this is that I can see Iceland becoming swamped with tourists pretty soon (some may say it already is). It was already a pretty popular destination but now it makes sense for anyone coming from North America to spend a few days based in the tiny capital, Reykjavik, before moving on to see the rest of Europe. The queue for the bag-drop for Icelandair’s morning flights at Keflavik was horrendous, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it through security to my departure gate on time at one point.

You can watch a cool video here on Icelandair’s website, which shows the making of Hekla Aurora and shows the finished article in flight and from the inside. You can also see where this special plane is scheduled to fly next. Icelandair has no plans yet to stop flying Hekla Aurora, so hurry up and get booking.

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Categories: IcelandTags: , , , ,

28 comments

  1. Now thats what I call a plane…………they are little rascals these Icelanders!

  2. Back so soon? It was only yesterday I was admiring you and Kat in your snowsuits 🙂 Sounds like a great trip, Richard. I’m half a-feared of sharing this in case we make those queues in Security even longer 😦 But what a great idea, and a great experience, I’m sure. Welcome home!

  3. Amazing plane. We missed seeing the northern lights, too, during a Sept. visit. But at least you got the plane ride.

  4. I suspect you may be right about Iceland becoming ever more popular and crowded! Nice plane.

  5. That’s so cool! Far better than a regular flight, even I could get on board with that! (I’m not the happiest flyer). I’ve have the luck to see the aurora from an aeroplane, on an night flight from Vancouver to UK, over Greenland: that was pretty spectacular!
    I like this stopover idea, I think I’d want longer than 7 days though, Iceland looks amazing!

  6. Very cool plane! We had about 8-9 days there last summer, and I could have stayed longer, too. And ahem – were you consuming that Gull on a 7:50 am flight?! Hardcore. Haha – wasn’t the beer great there? My favorite was Brio.

  7. The plane is so so cool ! It’s a great idea. I agree with you on the other point, I think tourism in Iceland will be more and more popular, and I hope it won’t be detrimental to the sensitive vegetation of the area.

  8. The lights are better on the plane than the sky!

  9. That might be a plane I wouldn’t mind so much…

  10. Love a bit of quirky and that fits the bill! Sorry to hear to you didn’t catch the lights – neither did I but to be honest Iceland was so fantastic it didn’t matter! Next time eh!

  11. Interesting looking plane. The lights and music inside must have got you in the mood for getting to Iceland. A much more interesting way to get to a destination than the usual, dull planes you usually get.

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