Capital of Iceland - Reykjavik’s non-stop service

April 7th, 2009 - 10:45 pm ICT by GD  

The news that Iceland will initiate non-stop services from Seattle in July brings back memories of a time when hopping onto a flight that touched down at Iceland was a traveler’s cheap ticket to Europe.

Numerous American college students took their first step abroad, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, when Icelandic Airlines did not operate any direct flights during 1960s. The flights halted for refueling in the city of Reykjavik, then continued to Luxembourg.

Nowadays, passengers who board flights onto this remote island country in the North Atlantic, are more likely to be carrying briefcases rather than backpacks.

The manager of Five Stars of Scandinavia, an Olympia travel agency, Natalie Chambers said, “It feels like first-class accommodations, even when you’re in a coach,”. For a brief period of time, the airline will bring back cheap round-trip fares, or at least cheap compared to today’s standards. Very few seats are going as low as $646, with taxes, for outbound travel through August 30 and will return by the end of September for tickets booked by next Friday.

Iceland was one of the world’s richest countries until its banking industry collapsed last year. Now its government has gone bankrupt. The unemployment rate is 13%, and its currency, 120 krona to one U.S. dollar vs. 70 krona just a year ago.

Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson indicated in the parliament, that the capital controls brought in last year to bolster the currency were not functioning sufficiently, and hampered the build-up of Iceland’s foreign reserves. Sigfusson further said that although the measures were urgent and necessary, the present poor financial situation could not be avoided.

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