Icelandair To Operate 1000+ Mile Q400 Turboprop Flight To Manchester

Icelandair is gearing up to steal the world’s ‘worst flight’ award from Lufthansa, by operating a Q400 turboprop aircraft to Manchester.

Iceland Air Connect Q400, to be used for these flights. Photo: Wikipedia

Originally reported by Airline Routes via Twitter, the Dash-8 Q400 will be used twice weekly from the middle of next month until September, serving both Manchester and Dublin.



What are the details?

Icelandair is planning to use leased Bombardier Dash-8 Q400s to open up new routes to both Dublin and Manchester.

The two new routes that will be opened by Icelandair Q400s. Photo: GC Mapper

These routes will be operational twice a week, and are designed to increase capacity for the summer season. Running from 15th July until 14th September, the carrier is clearly targeting the holiday crowd.

They will specifically be using Air Iceland Connect aircraft, a subsidiary of the main Icelandic airline. The Q400 in service is normally used for routes to outlying islands, as well as to other areas in Iceland. They have three Q400s in their fleet currently.

Is it a bad flight?

Previously, we discussed how a Boeing 737 being used on a 17 hour flight is pretty bad. But a Q400 over this distance, how does it compare?

There are around 70 seats on a normally configured Q400, with two small bathrooms. They are in a 2 – 2 configuration, with no premium seating (and 32 inches of pitch on these economy seats). There is no entertainment, no in-seat power, no modern jet-aircraft humidity control and a very small tray table.

You can read our review of a Q400 only airline, Canada’s Porter, here.

The flying time between Manchester Airport (MAN) and Keflavík International Airport (KEF) is around three hours, according to Google Flights. This is for both the current Boeing 767 service and the Q400. However, the Q400 is around 150 km/h slower than a normal jet aircraft, so in reality, it will probably take around 30 minutes longer.

The Bombardier is quite a small aircraft with very loud (and vibrating) turboprop engines, at least compared to a jet aircraft.

Plus, the journey will take place almost entirely over the deep North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, where frequent storms will shake the poor Q400 to its rivets. With a lower operating attitude than a normal jet aircraft (27,000 ft / 8229 m for the Q400 vs the 41,000 ft / 12,500 m of a 737) the aircraft will be more susceptible to weather and turbulence.

A airBaltic Q400. Photo: Wikimedia

What has been the internet’s reaction?

The internet’s reaction has been quite shocking, with many saying they would not even consider going anywhere near these flights.

Others questioned the point of these new flights.

The deployment of these small aircraft is related to the current grounding of the 737 MAX and of course is only temporary.

What do you think? Will you fly on these aircraft on these routes?


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But to be fair to the airline, (correct me if I’m wrong), but they had scheduled for 9, 737 Max jets for the summer. It is hard for A (fairly) small airline to replace those routes, They have leased 2, 767s and one 757 To compensate for the lost routes, and just a week ago they now wet- leased an A319. They are now losing more money than last year, even with tha fall of their main competition, Wow air. Icelandair only have trained pilots for the 757, 767 and the 737 Max, but for their subsidairy they also operate… Read more »

Joanna Bailey

It does seem that the impact of the 737 MAX grounding has spread far further and deeper than anyone could have predicted. I think many airlines expected it to be back in service in time for the summer season. I agree that the 737-800 is probably a rare beast to find for lease right now, so they probably had no choice but to stick the Q400 on this route. Still, it’s a fair old hike on a turboprop.


Looks like Air Tahiti are in the running for the longest turbo prop flight from Papeete to Gambier Island – the direct flight with an ATR72 is 3 hours 45. I quite like the ATR but it’d be a bit cramped for this kind of flight time!

Joanna Bailey

That does sound like a long time on a tiny aircraft, not sure I’d fancy it!


Window seat on ATR would at least be more comfortable than Q400

Joanna Bailey

Why do you say that?

Alex B

Air Iceland Connect previously operated flights to Belfast and Aberdeen from Keflavik with their Q400s, which ended last year. This is bound to be because of the 737 MAX fiasco and that Icelandair might as well make use of the Q400s to help fill the drop in capacity with aircraft that otherwise do not see much service apart from operating the occasional domestic route within Iceland. Do agree though, this will be one uncomfortable flight. Q400s are good for flights up to an hour, any longer and the droning noise of the engines does become very irritating… Flybe operate the… Read more »


3+ hours on a turboprop clunker? I’d rather swim.


These Q400s have reclining seats and LED lighting.


As Qfan says, these Q400’s have reclining seats and LED lightning. This article is full of incorrect statements which I guess is based on experience from other carriers using Q400s.
Why not do some research instead of assuming everything is the same and use words like worst flight award

They also have additional soundproofing system so they are not loud, and got good feedback from passengers that flew comfortably on the Belfast and Aberdeen route.