Band trapped by snowstorm on Icelandair plane for 10 hours delight passengers

Cabin Fever: Musicians stuck in plane for 10 hours gig for bored passengers. Video / Iceland Air

A group of musicians trapped on an Icelandic plane in stormy conditions gave an impromptu concert to break the boredom.

Passengers arriving at Keflavík Airport this weekend faced up to 10 hours delay on the runway as strong winds and freezing rain battered Iceland’s west coast.

With the coldest winter since 1918 and a “Yellow Weather Alert” declared by the Icelandic Met Office, residents were warned to stay clear of snow and icicles built up on roofs as the storm system arrived on the island.

Hundreds of passengers arriving at Reykjavik’s international airport could not deplane for hours until the 115 kmph winds eased.


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Travelers on an Icelandair plane arrived from Toronto faced the prospect of a ten hour delay – spending twice as long on the tarmac as they did in the air.

After a rescue team had been turned back to the terminal the situation was looking dire.

Fortunately, among the passengers was a band and their instruments. Joking with the cabin crew that they could serenade their fellow passengers to ease the boredom, the plane’s captain though it was a great idea.

When the plane’s pilot Óskar Tryggvi Svavarsson heard there were musicians on board, he invited them to play. Anything to shorten the wait.


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“We started chatting. I just told them to ‘let her rip’. It was just nice to get something to lighten the mood on board,” Svavarsson told a local news agency.

And they did.

Singer Jessica Pearson said that the situation was “just crazy” and her band were a little delirious after hours of travel.

“After sitting for 5 hours, the captain gave us the go ahead to pull out our instruments and play some tunes! (On 24 hrs of no sleep),” she wrote on Facebook.

The trapped audience were extremely receptive. One passenger even joined in with impromptu percussion, playing “the spoons” with his Icelandair cutlery.

“When people finally got off the plane after being there for seventeen hours, everyone was smiling. I was really happy with how it went,” said pilot Óskar.

The airline said that even by North Atlantic standards the weather was severe, and thanked the passengers for their patience.

“As an Icelandic airline, we know bad weather. We’ve been well trained by Iceland’s nature to safely tackle such challenges, but sometimes patience is key – and we’re very grateful for our passengers’ patience and understanding this weekend,” said Icelandair.

“Many aircraft faced delays to disembark at Keflavík airport due to high winds and ice, and on our flight from Toronto some great artists asked if they could play music for their fellow passengers to pass the time. Thanks to Jessica Pearson and the East Wind for putting a new spin on in-flight entertainment!”


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Icelandic Airports have had a bumpy start to the year. After winter storms caused a three-day delay to US flights before Christmas, Icelandic air traffic service provider Isavia issued a warning to travelers flying into Reykjavik this month advising travelers to check road conditions and airline notices before departing.


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