Lost luggage with Icelandair

By David Smith
This item appears on page 26 of the May 2018 issue.

I have flown Icelandair (800/223-5500, www.icelandair.us) several times over the years. In general, Iceland is a safe destination (not to mention close). These days, in tourist season, Keflavík International Airport is swamped with so many flight connections that gates, tarmac buses, rental car facilities and concourse foot traffic are chaotic. 

I always try to allow as much connection time as possible. On my Sept. 20, 2017, flight from Portland, Oregon, to London via Reykjavik, Iceland, I allowed two hours’ connection time in Reykjavik and, navigating the crowds, did make my flight. My luggage, however, did not.

At London’s Heathrow Airport, Icelandair is not part of the consortium in which lost luggage is delivered and tracked ASAP. The only representative I could contact was one on the phone (an attendant for other airlines’ lost luggage provided me with the phone number), and I was a long time on hold. The rep stated that my luggage would arrive on the next flight that night.

When the luggage did appear, no one from the airline was on site to collect it, so it was contracted to a delivery the next day — a 28-hour delay. 

I always allow a day for things like this and for time zone changes, but the 28 hours caused me to have to spend an extra night in a hotel and required me to rebook an ongoing flight a day later — not cheap. (At least I wasn’t missing a cruise departure!) I saved all the contact info and receipts.

Filing a claim on Icelandair’s website was difficult, but I got help with that over the phone. I filed the claim about a month after the incident.

Icelandair reimbursed me nearly $700 for the hotel and my ongoing flight expenses. It showed up in the form of a credit on my Visa card account on Dec. 5.

I realize this is beyond what an airline should do, and I can only thank Icelandair’s Customer Relations department for their efforts.

Everyone with Icelandair and at Keflavík Airport was helpful and calm. I think they’re used to the chaos. 


Bend, OR
ITN emailed a copy of Mr. Smith’s letter to Icelandair but received no response.