10 Tips to Help You Get Through Keflavik Airport

You’ve heard so much about Iceland and you’ve finally splurged on a trip to see the Northern Lights. If you’re traveling to Iceland, you’ll most likely be flying into Keflavik Airport, the country’s international airport. Keflavik (KEF) Airport is located approximately 31 miles from Reykjavik and is a modern airport full of amenities and conveniences, including free WiFi. If you’re looking for a few great Iceland travel tips, read on. Here are 10 tips to help you get through Keflavik.

1. You Might Need To Take A Bus To The Terminal

Sometimes arriving into Iceland may mean leaving your airplane via stairs down to the tarmac and boarding a bus to take you to the terminal. Watch as you step down and try to leave room on the bus for others to board by not blocking the entrance way.

2. If Your Final Destination Is Iceland

Keflavik Airport
Keflavík Airport South Building interior” by Frank Hebbert is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When you get off your plane to enter the airport, follow the signs for “arrivals.” You’ll eventually need to go up an escalator and through passport control. Look for the correct line according to your passport and present your passport when it’s your turn.

3. Stay To The Left Before Entering The Departures Hall

From here you’ll need to walk down a long hallway until you almost come upon a large open area where people are sitting, shopping, and/or eating. This is the departures hall. To the left of this you’ll see signs for baggage claim, which is where you’ll need to go to collect your bags.

4. Duty Free At Baggage Claim

If you need to pick anything up prior to leaving the airport (i.e., alcohol as it is quite expensive in Iceland) as well as an ATM machine. Collect your bags and exit baggage claim. Here you’ll find not only the various rental car company desks, but also a ticket booth for Gray Line Iceland or FlyBus. Both airport coaches are specifically for taking visitors into Reykjavik.

5. If You’re Passing Through Iceland

Keflavik Airport
photo from airliners.net

If you are flying through Iceland with Keflavik airport as your connecting airport on your way back to the United States, you’ll still need to pass through passport control. You need only locate your connecting gate, follow the signage for passport control, and then walk over to that gate. Everyone worries that they won’t have enough time to do this, but you shouldn’t worry. This is one of the most efficient airports I fly through and it takes very little time to pass through.

6. Shop While Waiting At Keflavik Airport

Keflavik Airport
Keflavik Airport

If you have time, whether with a connecting flight or on your return flight home, do go shopping as Keflavik Airport has amazing shops (including the Blue Lagoon store) and restaurants.

7. If You Go Through To The Departure Hall – Pay Attention To Time

Should you pass through this area with a connecting flight, pay attention to the time.  I can’t stress this enough! In order to get to your gate, you’ll need to stand in the queue (line) for passport control once again. Depending on the number of flights out of Keflavik at the time of your flight, this can be a long wait. Even if you’re used to going to your gate a few minutes before boarding is expected, don’t do this at Keflavik  Airport as you might miss your flight.

8. Not Sure What Line You Should Be In? Ask

There’s always airport employees around and other traveling passengers will gladly help. There’s nothing worse than people cutting the line, jumping the queue, and/or pushing their way through without being nice.

On my recent flight home through Keflavik Airport, the passport control line was so long. After waiting what seemed like hours, but was probably 15 minutes, a young American couple kind of pushed their way along to the front of one of the lines. Why? Who knows, but the long line turned into four lines and they either a) didn’t notice the long line or b) didn’t care. I, of course, was close enough to ask the young woman if she noticed that there was a line that she had bypassed and she flippantly stated she didn’t see the line. Whatever…

9. Expect Long Lines At The Gate

Keflavik Airport
Departure gates at Keflavik Airport

Your airline will announce which gate you’ll depart from and when you should go down to your gate. However, don’t expect it to look like an American departure gate. Instead, you might be a little surprised if you haven’t experienced this before. More likely than not you’ll see people queued up even before any boarding announcement has been made. Best words of advice I can give you? Get in line as soon as you make your way down to the gate. If it gets ugly as it sometimes does, don’t worry. Sit to the side and wait to board at the end of the line because after all, everyone is getting on the same plane.

10. Have Your Boarding Pass and Passport Ready

Keflavik Airport
Gate for return flight at Keflavik Airport

Eventually the gate agent will open the gate and you’ll need to present your boarding pass and passport to pass through this area. This isn’t based on seat assignment, status with the airline, or anything else. Think of it as first come, first served. Once through, the gate agent may close the line off until the crew on the plane allows those customers to board. It is slow and tedious and may seem disorganized, but this is normal procedures and it is what it is so instead of fighting it, the easiest thing to do is simply to accept it. While this isn’t an American method of boarding, it’s fairly common elsewhere in the world.

Keflavik Airport

Now that you know and are prepared, I know you’ll enjoy your trip to Iceland!  But while you’re at the airport, be sure to use #wheninKEF and share what you’re doing at Keflavik Airport.

Did you enjoy your trip to Iceland? Have you flown through Keflavik Airport? Share your experience, questions, concerns in the comments below. Don’t forget to check out my other travel tips and tricks here on the Travel Shop Girl website.

83 thoughts on “10 Tips to Help You Get Through Keflavik Airport

  1. Easiest airport to get around. I often take time to have some Skyr yogurt, when I’m on a layover, waiting for my flight to visit family in Amsterdam. Iceland Air is also the ONLY airline I’ll fly when traveling to visit family in the Netherlands.

    1. Thanks for sharing Karen! I agree that it is super easy to get around once you get the hang of it and if you’re not half asleep. 🙂

  2. “If you are flying through Iceland with Keflavik airport as your connecting airport, you don’t need to pass through passport control. ”
    This needs some revision. Passport control is used where people are crossing borders. Iceland is in Schengen, and that means if you are arriving from a country not in Schengen and travelling to one in Schengen, i.e. Spain, Germany, France you will go through passport control. So for instance, a man travelling from the U.S. and catching another flight from Iceland to Spain will go through passport inspection. The converse is also true, so if this person is travelling back the same way, same thing will happen.

    1. Max,
      I totally get what you are saying. For times when I have flown through Keflavik onto the United States, I’ve not had to go through passport control. But yes – flying through Keflavik to another country you are absolutely correct and I will amend the post to reflect that you do need to go through passport control. Don’t know what I was thinking but thank you for catching that error.

      1. If you do not disembark, and fly from Spain to the U.S. with the same plane, then you are correct. But if you are flying with different aircraft from one of the Schengen’s 26 countries in Europe to the USA with another you are bound to face passport control. Maybe you can name some concrete examples of flights you have managed without passport control?
        Max recently posted…Heimagerður spjaldtölvustandurMy Profile

    2. I have a question, I am about to buy a ticket but I am a bit concern about the wait time. I will be flying from US through Iceland to Germany. I will only have 50 mins to get to my connecting fly in Iceland. Is that enough time??

      1. That’s more than enough time I think. The airport is small enough that you’ll be able to get from your first flight to the connecting flight easily, especially if it’s the same airline. If not, you might have to walk a short way, but you’ll be fine. No worries! Marian

  3. My question is about my short connecting time in Keflavik — 50 minutes! Is that enough time to get to my gate? I will be flying from the U.S. to Copenhagen and connecting in Keflavik on Icelandair for less than an hour. I’m always nervous especially with short connecting flights. Comments?

    1. Patricia great question. There’s only one terminal at KEF so you’ll get off your plane and just go to the gate for your next flight. You don’t need to pass through security or customs so don’t follow all the people going up the escalator as that is where they’re going. You’ll get off your flight and arrive into the arrive where there are lots of seats and monitors. Look for the monitor with your flight and wait in the line for that flight. Worse case scenario is to follow those people toward the escalator BUT turn left as they go up. You’ll see a flight service desk right there and you can always ask for help. Enjoy your trip to Iceland, one of my most favorite places in the world. BTW here’s a link to a map of the airport if you want to look at it ahead of time: http://www.kefairport.is/resources/Files/PDF/Flugstodskjar-enska-11-1s.pdf

      Thanks again for stopping by. Take a look at my other Iceland posts and enjoy your trip!

        1. Same to you Patricia! You’ll have such a great time in Iceland. Come back and let me know what you did if you don’t mind. Happy holidays to you, too!

  4. What would you recommend the earliest you would leave Reykjavik on either Flybus or Gray Line bus to make your flight. For example: I’m going to spend a few days in Reykjavik, then have a flight at 1130 to head to London, but wasn’t sure how early I really need to plan/book the bus back to KEF.

    1. Hi Katie,

      Fun! I’ve done that flight and it’s a quick little flight to London, my other favorite destination. Not sure what day you’ll be going, but when you book with Flybus, they’ll tell you when they’ll pick you up at your hotel so you won’t have to worry. If you can book online in advance, do it otherwise you can at the airport. It doesn’t take a long time, but you never know on a busy day what security or the lines to check in are like. Regardless of that, I’d definitely plan to arrive at the airport two hours in advance. Be one of the last ones to put your bag on the coach and choose a seat at the front of the coach so that you can jump off, grab your bag, and get in the queue at the ticket counters.

      Enjoy your trip!!! Marian

  5. Reading about KEF from a number of different sources, it seems like it can be pretty chaotic. We have an overnight layover on a Wow air flight and decided to stay in Keflavik proper, rather than add in the time of going to Reykjavik.

    Based on what we’re seeing on the KEF website and elsewhere, it sounds like we need to arrive at airport no later than 4:15am for a 6:15 flight. Will that be soon enough?

    1. Mike great question! I just happened to be online right now booking my flight to Iceland in July. 🙂

      Here is a link on the Keflavik airport site that shows how many other flights are departing on your departure day. Not sure when you are leaving, but this gives you a pretty good idea: http://www.kefairport.is/English/Timetables/Departures/

      Considering the number of flights departing, I would still hold tight to the two hours early rule only because getting through security after checking your bags can get tight.

      Hope that helps! Marian

  6. Hey!
    I’ll be on that same flight as the one in your picture, to Boston. Do those flights generally fly from the same gate? If yes, do you remember yours and did you have any problems finding it?
    I’m a little nervous since I have only 10 minutes between arrival and boarding time. Thank you for your answer!

    1. Hi Liz – I’m fairly certain that the late afternoon flight to Boston leaves from the same gate as it’s the one I’ve always left from when flying back to Boston. As long as you’re leaving from the same terminal, you should be ok. I’ve only had one connection through KEF that was nowhere near my departing gate. You’ll see people heading toward the escalator — don’t follow them. Stay on the lower level and to the right and you’ll see the gate on your right. Good luck! Let me know how it all worked out when you get back.

  7. Hi… I am trying to book a time at Blue Lagoon, as our first stop. I was wondering what the time estimate is to get off plane, get baggage, get the car, and drive to blue lagoon ?

    1. Hi John,

      I would definitely give yourself several hours. Why? Because you don’t really know if there are any delays with your flight, problems getting off the plane, problems getting the car, etc. Also, not sure why you’d want to go there first. I mean the Blue Lagoon is fantastic, but is that really the first thing you want to see when arriving in this amazing country? I always recommend it as your last stop on the way to the airport. Hope you have a great trip! Marian

  8. Hi
    We will be getting off a cruise ship in Reykjavik in the morning. Our plane, Icelandic Air, does not depart to Seattle until 5:30 p,.m. There is a 5 hour tour of Reykajavik offered by the cruise line that will take us to the airport. It states that in order to take this tour your flight must be later than 4:30 p.m. Does this mean the tour buses get you to the airport two hours in advance of 4:30?
    Do you have another suggestion to spend the time ( we will have luggage). Also, is the Reykajavik Airport as responsive to someone in a wheelchair as all airlines in the USA are?

    1. Hi Jeanette,

      Sounds like you have a great trip planned. I would contact the cruise line and confirm that the tour will get you to the airport by 3:30pm. My guess is that it will otherwise they wouldn’t offer it, but it’s always best to double check. Keflavik airport is modern and they are more than capable of dealing with someone in a wheelchair. You’ll find that it’s not a huge airport, but modern, bright, and convenient. Please let me know how you make out with your trip. Marian

      1. Hi Marian
        Back from a wonderful trip. Iceland is truly a hidden jewel. The airport was the worst part of the entire trip. Very little help for the handicap. Wheelchairs were available, but no pushers…you had better travel with someone who could do the pushing. There were four flights departing at our gate all within a 30 minute window…little seating, very confusing. I got the impression that the airport and Reykjavik has not been able to keep up to the torrential downpour of tourists coming to see their awesome country. We travelled in “high” season so that may have made a big difference as to the allowance of time needed (two hours would be the minimum).

        1. Hi Jeannette,

          Actually Keflavik airport just underwent an expansion and now there’s even more room and more gates. I do find it comparable to most European airports and have arrived at my gate at various times of the day, different days of the week, and different months of the year to find it equally crowded. Unlike American airports where you have space to spread out and sit while you wait, it’s just different. There are airport desks in this area where you could ask for assistance should you need it. Many times I go up to the Saga Lounge from IcelandAir and arrive at the gate maybe 30 minutes before departure and do just fine. I don’t understand why you would want to get to the gate two hours before a flight to just sit and wait. Good luck with your travels! Marian

  9. Hello, hello!

    Thank you for all of the helpful info posted in the original article – much appreciated it!

    I am looking for advice about an overnight layover I have at the end of August. I arrive from Washington, DC at 23:40 on Friday night, but my connecting flight to Frankfurt doesn’t leave until 07:40 the next morning. I have read that KEF frowns about overnighting in the airport. If I leave the airport after I land, do I have to pick up my luggage? Or does it stay checked? I might be able to get 5 hours of sleep or so if I can go straight to a nearby hotel, but waiting for luggage and such would turn it into 3 hours at an expensive hotel…

    And insight would be helpful. Thanks!


    1. Hi Joe,

      Those long layovers can kill, huh? You won’t have to wait long at KEF since there are only a few belts for luggage at baggage claim. You can definitely be out fairly fast and then you can walk over to one of the nearby airport hotels. Do a google maps of Keflavik Airport, click on “nearby,” then “hotels” and you’ll see that there are several only a few minutes away on foot. If you’re flying IcelandAir and are either Saga class or Economy Comfort, you are eligible to go to the Saga Lounge, which since updated is huge and you could easily nap there. If it were me, I’d definitely go to one of the nearby hotels just to nap, shower, and change. Let me know how you make out. Marian

  10. Hi there!
    I will be coming home to the US from Germany, with a 1 hour layover in Iceland. If I have a checked-on bag, do I have to pick it up and claim it again before going to my connecting flight? If so, do you think i’ll have enough time?

    1. Hi Bailey,

      Just happened to be in front of my computer when your comment came through. If you are flying the same airline, your bags will go through to the US. If you’re flying with two different airlines, like WOW Air from Germany to KEF and then Icelandair to the US, you’d need to get your bag and check it in again with the second airline. If you’re reservation was made with two different airlines, like Icelandair and SAS, the bags will continue on without needing to check in. My guess is that you’re flying the same airline so you won’t need to worry about your bag at all. Just grab a seat near your departing gate and get ready to queue up in advance of departure as it’s done far earlier than you’d ever expect. Good luck and enjoy your trip! Marian

  11. Hi Marian!
    Great post! My boyfriend and I are flying very soon to Iceland. Since we have different nationalities, my question is are we doing the passport control together? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Vanesa,

      Thanks so much! When passing through Keflavik airport, you’ll see the EU Schengen lines and the non-EU lines. The lines move quickly so even if you’re not in the same line, you can pass through fairly fast and meet each other on the other side. Hope that helps! Enjoy your trip to Iceland! Marian

  12. Hi. We are US citizens currently in Iceland. We are travelling to London tomorrow. Will we need to go thru passport control? You say 2 hours is a good lead time, right? Thank you!

    1. Hi Margie,

      You should be fine and have plenty of time to get through passport control as there are multiple lines that move quickly. I’ve had to do it several times and the longest wait I’ve ever had with lines stretching far outside of passport control (this was only once — never happened again) and I was in and out in under 20 minutes. Usually it’s less than 5 minutes. Just have your passport ready to go once you’re in line. Good luck and come back here and let me know how it was for you. I’ll be at KEF next week doing the same thing. 🙂 Marian

  13. have been reading about transfers and would like some advice about doing the transfer our flights are Toronto to Iceland to Stockholm and return. our lay-over times are 1hr15 min. e/b and 1hr35min. w/b. any advice would be helpful. James.

    1. Hi James,

      If you’re flying the same airline, you’ll have enough time so don’t worry. Keflavik airport runs like a well oiled machine so you’ll pass through passport control and then go to your gate. Boarding isn’t done until the last minute so you can probably stop off in one of the shops and grab food, a drink, souvenir, etc. and then go to the gate and wait. You’ll see people line up early so you can take a spot in the queue along with them. Then when they do open the gate, you’ll pass through, show your passport and ticket, and wait again. There are always employees available if you should have any questions. I’m flying through Keflavik tonight so I can report again firsthand how things went – follow along on Twitter and then back here when I write an update. Good luck with your trip! Marian

      1. thanks Marian, one other question. When boarding the plane do they board by class (we are flying Saga), thank you for doing what you do, glad of the help. James

        1. Hi again James!

          You’ll find that outside of the US, Business and First won’t board before coach. While at some airports you might find a separate queue, that’s not always the case. There are two ways to approach boarding at Keflavik. Either go early and queue up and miss out time in the new Saga lounge, which is phenomenal BTW or go after boarding has begun and avoid the lines altogether. Sometimes you’ll be able to board in a separate line if you fly Saga or Premium Economy, but most of the time you’ll see that it’s just one huge line waiting to board. Glad I can be of help and I hope you enjoy your experience with IcelandAir and at Keflavik airport. Enjoy your trip! Marian

  14. Hi Marian!

    Wonderful post with lots of helpful pictures. I always find pictures to be helpful, especially with airports and traveling to places you’ve never been!

    I am traveling with Icelandair to Glasgow next June. We have a 1 hour layover at Keflavik Airport and I’m hoping that’s enough time. Am I correct that Keflavik only has one terminal?

    Also I have done research on the Schengen vs. non-Schengen countries thing. From what I’ve gathered, since we are flying from a non-Schengen country (U.S.) to another non-Schengen country (Scotland), with a layover in Keflavik (where I obviously do not plan to leave the terminal), will we have to clear passport control, customs, or immigration? I don’t think we will, based on what I’ve read. Just trying to plan ahead so we don’t miss our connection 🙂

    Both our flights (ORD to KEF & KEF to GLA) are with Icelandair. Do you think the gates might be nearby?

    I’m so excited for the trip!

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Thanks so much! I love Iceland and certainly want to try to help others find it easier through the airport.

      Having said that and having just been through Keflavik — I definitely need to update the post. In the meantime, you are correct. You will need to clear passport control, but not customs. Deplane and look for your gate (while walking) on the overhead monitors. You’ll see that your gate will require you to clear passport control, which is up the escalator. You’ll go through and then head to your gate. You probably booked with Icelandair, so the 1 hour layover should be fine. I’ve never had that much of a delay, if any with them.

      The airport is small enough that you’ll understand when you’re there how small it is in comparison to ORD. 🙂 You’ll have time to shop for food or souvenirs and then head to your gate to join others already starting a queue. BTW – loved Glasgow, too so enjoy. If you’re getting a car, try to get out and drive to see the Kelpies. Google them to see why they’re pretty cool. I mean there’s far more to do than just that in Glasgow, but that was a fun find for me.

      Excited for you to try Icelandair out. I think you’ll enjoy the trip and maybe try a visit to Iceland, too. Enjoy! Marian

  15. Hi Marian

    I have looked down the posts, but I’m just checking I’m understanding it right. We are a group flying from Birmingham (UK) via KEF to Washington DC – Icelandair all the way. We have a 1hr 40 minutes stopover. I think we need to do passport control but our bags will be checked through? Do we go through a scanner – will we need to drink up/throw out any drinks we still have from the first flight? I hope you can help
    Thanks Angela

    1. If you’re flying all the way through with the same airline, then yes your bags will go all the way through. Once off the plane in Keflavik, you’ll need to go through passport control. They’ll just check your passport and unless you’re chosen for a random security check, no bag checks. Then you can head to your gate after passing through the duty free shops and food area. 1 hour and 40 minutes is more than sufficient time so you and all of your friends will have more than enough time to get through. Have fun! Marian

  16. Hi

    thanks, that’s great info

    will they be able to carry drinks through from 1st plane to second plane?

    1. To be honest, I generally don’t carry drinks through passport control so if they have something, they should probably put it in their bag and only focus on their passport. You probably mean a bottle of water or a soda, right? Passport control is separate from security but they can and may do random security checks in which case, they will take it from you. Best bet is to not have any on you at this point and just buy something after passport control. Hope that helps! Marian

  17. Hello and thank you for your willingness to help travelers with little or no experience connecting through Iceland. I am scheduled to fly via WOW from San Francisco to Amsterdam with a 2-hour layover in Iceland. I believe our luggage will be checked through to Amsterdam but will we need to go through passport control at the airport in Iceland? Will 2 hours be sufficient? Thanks again for your help!

    1. Bill – thank you for the kind words and I’m so glad you’ve found this post helpful. I flew WOW Air from Boston to Amsterdam recently as well so check out that post, too. Two hours is more than enough time as you’ll pass quickly from the plane into the terminal and through passport control. Then you’ll have plenty of time to get to your gate. Everything is located all in one area and passport control is probably one of the fastest and organized of anywhere I’ve visited. Let me know how you make out when you get back. Marian

      1. Hi Marian,

        Thanks again for your insights on how to navigate through Keflavik. We took our trip last April (2018) and everything went smoothly, even though we left SFO an hour late. Our flight to AMS was briefly delayed to accommodate the passengers arriving late. We processed through passport control quite easily and quickly.

        1. Hi Bill! So glad you found it helpful. KEF may be a smaller airport than most, but it is very efficient. I also seem to breeze right through. Hope you had a great trip. Marian

  18. Hi! Maybe you can help me decide if this is enough time. I created my own layover with REK to Oslo (it was SO much cheaper to do it this way). My plan is, we get in from USA to REK at 9:15am using American Airlines. I want to get on a flight to Oslo (SAS airlines) that leaves at 11:35am. Do you think I have enough time for this layover? I know we’ll have to go through passport control (maybe twice?) and recheck our bags. I’ve never done this before…so, I’m a bit nervous about having about a 2:20 hour layover. Thank you in advance!!

    1. Kari – Hi and sounds like you have an awesome trip planned! I think that the 2 hours+ is more than enough time for your layover. The airport is small enough and you’ll see that when you arrive. So don’t worry, plan your trip and activities, and enjoy! Marian

      1. Thank you thank you!!! You made me no longer worry about missing your next flight 🙂

  19. I’m flying through Iceland in July with my grandson. 1 day stopover. I have booked a tour that picks up at 8:30a in Reykjavik. My flight arrives at 6:30a, same day… Now I am in a bit of a panic. I don’t think I will be able to make it to my pickup site in time. What do you think?

    1. Barbara – I’d say you’re cutting it pretty close. You don’t really know if there will be any delays and you don’t mention how you are getting from the airport to Reykjavik. Plus then the tour pick up and of course, jet lag. You might want to reconsider booking for the following day and not the day of your arrival. Marian

  20. Good afternoon,
    My husband and I are connecting through KEF from Paris (ORY) back to the US, and we usually buy a few bottles of wine to bring back home with us from duty free. My Questions are: 1) With our 1 hr 15 min connection , will that be enough time to get through passport control and to our gate? And 2) do we have to re-check through customs/security and then we’re all good, or do they toss our bottles that are wrapped by another airport?

    We usually fly direct so we haven’t encountered this issue before. Thank you!

    1. Hi Katie,

      I would think that would be more than enough time, but keep in mind that the time of day and day of week can affect your experience. As far as the wine, if your flight is direct from KEF to the US without another connection, you should be fine. You didn’t mention so I guess that’s the case, but I’m not sure. If you have another connection, then it could be different. Marian

      1. Thank you Marian! I’m so relieved it’ll be enough time. Yes, we’ll be flying from ORY to KEF, then KEF to IAD (Virginia is final stop). We weren’t sure if they’ll allow us to carry duty free bottles onto the second connecting Icelandair flight (we’re taking the same carrier for both legs).

  21. I read where KEF recently underwent expansion and am looking at a flight on WOW airlines that goes from Berlin to KEF with a 50 min layover to catch WOW flight back to San Francisco. Do we go thru passport control? Is 50 minutes enough time to make it to our gate with the new expansion? Thanks for great info!

    1. Hi there,

      The airport is an easy one to get through and I don’t see any issue with you getting through and to your gate. Have fun!

  22. We arrive KEF airport at 6am in August and have a 1 day overnight in the country on Icelandair ticket continuing to Berlin the next morning at 6am. In February I read an article from the airport staff about this summer 2018. The article told customers “come to the airport early (from midnight ’til morning this summer) saying “avoid the peak arrival time at 5-6am. Come early and the shops and restaurants will be open”. In addition it mentioned that there is a 4 hour bus tour roundtrip from/to airport that leaves every morning at 7:30am and returns about 11:30am. We would like to take that tour. We could then go from airport to our B&B near KEF and have evening to rest. We will return to KEF from B&B in time for 6am flight to Berlin. I cannot find that original note or website. Do you know about it? or the 4 hour tour?

    1. Pat,

      Sorry for the late response, but I’ve been traveling. The airport at that time won’t be busy, busy. Yes, there will be other flights, but it won’t be crazy. I don’t know of such a tour, but you could check with any of the bus companies that provide airport transfers and see if they have anything like GrayLine Iceland or FlyBus. I will tell you that I fly all the time and change time zones and one of the flights that I have regularly taken that causes me to have the worst jet lag is the one from Boston to Iceland. It’s only a 4 1/2 hour – 5 hour flight and when I arrive I’m exhausted and need to sleep. I can’t function at all. So be careful about overscheduling yourself as you might not be awake enough to handle any kind of tour. Just a thought. Marian

  23. You have some very informative posts above. Hoping you can help me with my dilemma. I am flying from seattle to KEF arriving at 0910 via Delta airlines. My plan is to buy a one way ticket to Norway leaving at 1145 with SAS (i will be traveling to finland, then back to iceland for the final leg). Is this enough time? How many times will i have to go through passport control and customs? Does this mean, i have to pick my checked bag from delta and recheck in with SAS?

    1. Christine,

      Sounds like you’re going to have a great trip. You’ll definitely have enough time between flights. I’ve not changed airlines in KEF, but I have at others and have had to recheck my bag. I would check with the airlines on that one. If you don’t have to recheck then you won’t need to go through passport control but once. Sorry for the late reply, but I’ve been traveling a lot lately. Marian

  24. Thanks for having this site—I was going to ask a question but just went back thru them and nfound it. We are arriving from US and staying for 3 full days and our flight out is at 7:45AM—wow, we will have to catch an early bus to the airport-heading to Glasgow

    1. Hi Susan,

      Considering KEF is about an hour from Reykjavik and you have an international flight, yes — you definitely need to be up bright and early to go back to the airport. Sorry for the late reply, but I’ve been traveling as well. Marian

  25. My plan leaves at 7:35 am, how early should I be at the airport?

    1. For any international flight, it’s always best to arrive two hours early. If you’re flying during an especially busy time, like a weekend or evening flight, I’d arrive even earlier. Since you have a morning flight, I think two hours is safe. Sorry for the late reply, but I’m also traveling at the moment. 🙂

      1. We are going to Glasgow—but glad to know we can leave a little later—since there are two of us I think we will take a taxi from Fosshotel Baron

  26. Hi Marian!
    We are arriving in Iceland on WOW airlines in mid October at 5am local time.I have booked a 4×4 rental car from Hertz rental at the Kflvk airport. I have booked a golden circle tour that we need to meet at Holtavegur Grey Line tours Bus terminal at 8:30 am. Do you think that will be enough time? Are the rental car companies open at 5am? Thank so much!

    1. Kelly,

      Looks like Hertz is open 24 hours at KEF so you’ll be fine. It will take very little time to deplane at that hour, pass through immigration, collect your bags and the car and be on the road. I think you’ll have more than enough time. My biggest suggestion is to sleep on the coach during the tour as you will be seriously affected by the jetlag. Don’t ask why, but you’ll see. Let me know how you’re trip goes. Enjoy Iceland! Marian

  27. We are flying from Boston to KEF with a short connection to Paris (CDG) all on Icelandair. I am confined to a wheelchair.

    A couple questions.

    Can I do a gate check for my electric wheelchair to get in in KEF? I would be much more independent in my own wheelchair.

    Will we need to pick up our check through luggage in KEF and go through customs? Will we need to go through passport control?

    1. Linda,

      My guess is that you can gate check your electric wheelchair as many people do gate check. I would email or call Icelandair to double check. If you’re flying through KEF on Icelandair, then no you don’t need to pick up your checked luggage as it will continue on for you to your final destination. Enjoy your trip! Marian

  28. I am planning a return flight Glasgow to Portland Oregon for next year but return flight only gives 40 mins in Reykjavik.is that enough time?

    1. Penny,

      If you’re flying the same airline and don’t plan on exiting the airport, you’ll be fine. For example, if you’re flying IcelandAir and going from one IcelandAir flight to the next, you’ll just need to walk a bit to the next gate and get ready to board. You’ll be fine. Good luck! Marian

  29. Marian,

    I have read through your good advice. Thank you! I wanted to get your feedback on our plan. We are flying from USA to KEF arriving at 8:30 am in June. We then have a completely separate reservation on Icelandair to Paris two and half hours later . Can we make it if we have checked bags? And do we have to return to the arrivals area of the airport to check these bags onto our next flight?

    Thanks for your insight!

    1. Hi Anne,

      Your bags will be checked through for you so you won’t need to worry at all. You’ll have enough time to grab some food and do a little shopping before you board your next flight. Have fun!

  30. Hi there –

    We are flying from London to KEF and then to Portland, Oregon. Both flights are on IcelandAir but I found that if I book them on one ticket it will cost me an additional $300 so it seems to make more sense to book them separately. My concern is we will only have a 1 hour and 40 minute layover and will have to go through passport control and then pick up our bags and recheck them and then go to the gate. Based on previous comments of how long security can take will we be pushing it if our bags need to be rechecked?

    Thanks so much for your help!

    1. Kristen,

      I have found that KEF is one of the easiest airports to go through anywhere in the world. So don’t expect long delays as there are hardly ever any. I would confirm with the gate agent when you check in that your bags are going all the way through to Oregon. Regardless of whether you booked them at the same time or not, it’s with the same carrier so that means they should go all the way through.

  31. Hi Marian,

    I have booked a flight with United Airlines ariving in June on a Sunday at 8:20 a.m. I just am taking a small carryon bag and am a US citizen. My easyjet departure flight to the UK leaves at 9:10 a.m., but I just realized that the gate closes about 25-30 min prior to departure. Do you think I can be able to make the connection? Will I need to go through passport control? Thanks for any replys!

    1. Justin,

      You’ll deplane and go up through passport control, but believe me it’s really fast. I think with just a carry on you’ll be fine. Unlike other airports, the gates at KEF are close together so you won’t have far to go to get there. Good luck! Marian

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