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Icelandair might want to watch the news

December 13, 2007 | Advertising,Airlines,Iceland,PR


A 33-year-old woman from Iceland, Erla Ósk Arnardóttir, blogged about being detained by U.S. security when arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York recently. Alda at The Iceland Weather Report tells the story. The gist is that the woman overstayed her welcome in the United States in 1995. Even though she had traveled to the United States since then with no problems, this time, she was detained, shackled and driven to a prison cell in New Jersey, interrogated and finally — after 14 23 hours — put on a flight back home.

Update: Thanks to a link from Iceland Review in my comments, here is an article in English. Iceland Review also has an update to the story, saying that Iceland’s Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir met with U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Carol van Voorst and demanded an apology from U.S. authorities.

Other coverage

About the only thing about Iceland in the news here is the story of a teen-ager who posed as Iceland’s president and almost got put through to a telephone meeting with President George W. Bush. Police in Iceland intervened, though, and took him in for questioning. It makes me wonder if the two stories are related. Was U.S. security on “high alert” for anything out of Iceland because of the teen-ager’s prank? That doesn’t explain or justify anything … I just wonder.

Anyway. Morgunblaðið has a video with interviews from a government official and the woman who was detained. Go watch it. Maybe you won’t understand the news report, but keep an eye on the advertisements before and after the clip.

Memo to Icelandair PR department: Dude. Drop everything and check your online ads. Travel to New York? Really?

Update: The Wall Street Journal published an article, Land of the Spree, Dec. 15, 2007.

How do you say ‘Victoria’s Secret’ in Icelandic? With the dollar having hit new lows against currencies around the globe, America is becoming the world’s discount store.

The reporter spoke with two women from Iceland.

Josefina and Carolina Hallström flew to New York for a few days of shopping on Icelandair from Stockholm. The pair, ages 21 and 25, were on the lookout for a Victoria’s Secret store. “We go for the lotions and perfumes,” said Carolina, as she lugged a shopping bag with eight pairs of shoes in it (she’d already pitched the boxes). The underwear retailer’s annual fashion show airs in Sweden, even though there aren’t any stores there, she says. Plus, “shampoo is also much cheaper here.”

The article even mentioned Iceland again with shoppers arriving at the Mall of America in Minnesota on direct flights from Iceland.

But not a word about anyone from Iceland getting detained in New York. Hmm.

Posted by Becky @ 3:11 pm  

2 Responses to “Icelandair might want to watch the news”

  1. unnthor Torfason Says:


  2. Alda Says:

    I know, those ads are unbelievable! Hilarious, really. I mean – who does their marketing??

    (Actually they’re in the process of changing CEOs at this very moment, so perhaps nobody has time to attend to these matters.)

    Actually, she wasn’t put on a flight back home until 23 hours later. She spent another nine hours in the prison after being taken there.

    As for the connection between the two, I think it’s highly unlikely. I mean, why would they have stopped only her? And after all, this sort of treatment seems to be widespread at US immigration – although this, I warrant, was particularly bad.

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