Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a . . . glacier? Actually, it’s a glacier plane. A glacier-themed plane, to be more exact. The aircraft, a Boeing 757-200 from Icelandair designed to look like the Vatnajökull (pronounced Vat-nah-yuh-kutl) glacier, took to the skies earlier this month as a regular part of the carrier’s consist.
The plane flew over its namesake glacier on an inaugural flight May 13, and now is flying over the Atlantic Ocean every day.
Consider the aircraft a work of art. The exterior has been decorated with imagery of the glacier from which it takes its name—a nearly 3,100-square-mile river of ice that has six active volcanoes beneath it and is considered the largest glacial mass in Europe. The outside was painted by a team of artists in a form of airbrushing, an intricate process that took 24 days to complete.
(Along the way, the design crew used 12 Pantone colors and nearly 52 gallons of paint.)
This glacial theme continues inside the main cabin, with blue ambient LED lights designed to replicate the blue of a glacial crevasse and headrests decorated with white-and-turquoise designs.
According to a press release, even the drink carts have been transformed into mobile ice chunks, with white adornments all around. What’s more, the plane’s cups, napkins, and sick bags are decorated with glacier prints. Icelandair put together a video that captures the re-imagining process.
The Vatnajökull plane isn’t the first member of Icelandair’s fleet to be transformed into works of art; in 2015, the carrier rebranded another of its aircraft as the Hekla Aurora and airbrushed the exterior of that plane in a similar fashion to resemble the Northern Lights. All of the other Icelandair planes are named after Iceland volcanoes.
Icelandair CEO Birkir Hólm Guðnason noted that the Vatnajökull plane was commissioned to celebrate the airline’s 80th anniversary and is meant to introduce visitors to Iceland before they even land.
“Traveling is one of life’s great pleasures,” he says. “A trip on this plane will ensure customers experience time well-travelled, as [passengers can] sit back and experience Iceland’s most extreme elements from the comfort of their own seats.”
While flying on the Vatnajökull plane is undoubtedly cool, it isn’t as cool (literally and figuratively) as experiencing the real thing.