Photo Of The Day: Flying To Iceland

photo of the day
Today’s Photo of the Day may seem a bit pedestrian: it’s a cup of (likely) mediocre airplane coffee. But the napkin comes with a fun fact about Icelandic settler Ingólfur Arnarson, whose trip from Norway took four days, and there were no napkins. Too bad he couldn’t fly Iceland Air, like Flickr user shapes of dreams, who snapped this on her way to Reykjavik. Bonus points for her stylish nail color, which she dubs Blue Lagoon. It’s a fun way to learn a little about your destination while enjoying one of air travel‘s last freebies.

Know any other clever airlines? Share your favorite travel photos with us in the Gadling Flickr pool for a future Photo of the Day.

Labor Day island getaways from Wanderfly

labor day islandLabor Day is fast approaching along with the official end of summer. If you haven’t had enough sun yet, maybe it’s time for one more weekend of lying on the beach, fruity cocktail and fun book in hand? We asked our friends at Wanderfly.com, a web travel tool that helps you choose a vacation spot, for some Labor Day island getaways offering deals for the long weekend.

Domestic: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head is a 45-minute drive from Savannah, Georgia (one of our favorite romantic destinations), with miles of public Atlantic beaches, dolphin cruises, and renowned golf courses. Not bringing your private yacht? ResortQuest will pay for your gas ($150 credit card) on Labor Day stays of 3 nights or more, plus free tennis and discounted golf.

Caribbean: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Feeling decisive? If you can book by tomorrow, you can save 35% on stays at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas. They’ll also throw in a free sunset sail and cocktails at their beach bar. Summer is the low season for most Caribbean islands, but a tropical weekend knows no season. Check out more of Wanderfly’s picks for St. Thomas here.

Europe: Iceland
So Iceland might not be known for sandy beaches or fruity cocktails, but relaxing in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon works pretty well too. Iceland Air is offering a free stopover in Iceland on flights booked to European cities such as Stockholm and Amsterdam. Just have time for one destination? Reykjavik is only about 5 hours from the East Coast with direct flights from New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and Orlando, as well as Minneapolis and Seattle.

If you’ve had enough sun, Wanderfly has plenty of other travel ideas. Visit their site and tell them what you’re looking for (with interests from art to extreme adventure) and how much you want to spend and they’ll give you personalized recommendations. Stay tuned for more Labor Day travel ideas on Gadling.

Hilton Head Island photo courtesy Flickr user Lee Coursey.

Iceland Air introduces new crew uniforms – in the weirdest airline video ever

Watch this video, and prepare to enter the Twilight Zone of weird airline video clips. According to our source, the video was created by employees of Iceland Air for the 2010 crew ball, as a way to show the lineup of 2011 uniforms.

I’ll admit that my Icelandic isn’t good enough to have a clue what they are talking about, but the pleasant mix of dancing crew members and European music makes for a really neat clip.

Could you imagine United Airlines or Delta producing a video even remotely amusing?

Icelandair launches service from Washington’s Dulles Airport

D.C. has been hot, hot, hot, recently – or should we say ice cold? Beginning on May 17, 2011, Icelandair will launch their eighth North American gateway with seasonal service from Washington Dulles International Airport. From May through mid-September, the airline will offer four weekly flights.

Early bird fares begin as low as $429 round trip, perhaps giving travelers reason to hop the pond and hit up the Blue Lagoon.

“Icelandair is very familiar with the Baltimore-Washington market and looks forward to serving the metropolitan area that Icelandair called home for nearly 15 years,” said Thorsteinn Egilsson, General Manager – The Americas. “Dulles Airport will offer convenient connectivity for U.S. travelers and will serve the large International market surrounding Washington, D.C. The launch of service from Washington, D.C. will serve our passengers traveling to Iceland and beyond well into the future and we look forward to welcoming them aboard.”

Currently, the airline services more than 20 destinations in Europe, making Iceland an ideal stopping point for travelers looking to spend a few days (perhaps in an ice cave?) before heading off to other cities. Conveniently, Icelandair allows passengers to stopover in the country with no additional airfare, further adding to its attractiveness.

[Image courtesy of Icelandair]

Germans give Iceland a reason to brag, Italians not so much

The past few years haven’t been all that kind to Iceland. After practicing a uniquely aggressive form of finance – maybe it should have been called “Viking derivatives” – the country felt massively the effects of the global financial crisis, screwing things up for British depositors who were parking their cash in these arctic savings accounts to score double-digit interest rates for (supposedly) no risk. Then, the country had to deal with the implications of a volcanic eruption this past spring. It’s hard to find a silver lining in that volcanic cloud.

Nonetheless, the tourist season is being declared a success. Spinning adversity into triumph, Icelandair CEO Birkir Hólm Gudnason believes the volcano‘s blast could have a long-term upside for the country’s tourism business.

Meanwhile, the hoteliers are finding ways to be bullish in the near term. Laufey Helgadóttir claims to be happy with the summer, saying it could be better than last year, thanks in large parts to German tourists who are sticking to their travel plans. Italians, unfortunately, seem to be canceling. Notes Helgadóttir: “[W]e won’t complain after this tourist summer.”

[photo by Deivis via Flickr]