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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.