If you’re flying in or out of Scandinavia, odds are you will transit through Copenhagen’s Airport, also known as Kastrup.
Depending on your ticket you may well find yourself with a few hours to burn. But don’t worry… If you play it right, you can have a ball of a time, even without leaving the airport.
Lesson #1 – don’t leave the Schengen transit area until you absolutely have to
At Kastrup, the Schengen transit area is the same as the domestic area in countries like Australia and the US. This is where you arrive and depart on domestic flights within the European Union, give or take a couple of countries.
So when an international flight awaits and the international transit area beckons, with its glorious tax-free shops, cafes, restaurants and the like, go straight to the promised land and collect $200 at customs. Right?
Do not – I repeat – do absolutely not even think about spending your eight-hour stopover in the international area. There’s nothing there. Nothing I tells ya!!
(Not entirely true of course, but in an international airport, I count a duty-free liquor store, a kiosk and a few coffee carts as nothing.)
No my friend, the Schengen transit area is where you want to be at Copenhagen Airport. There are tons of shops, eateries and nooks and crannies to hide away in.
Lounges, no problem – there are multiple ones. (With one shining brightly among them. We’ll get to that later.)
Bars with all the delightful Danish beer you could want are plentiful.
And there are lots of people and activity if all you want is to sit down and watch the bustle.
But don’t cut it too close, because…
Lesson #2 – don’t leave passport control to the last minute
Weirdly I’ve never had to queue for long when going through passport control into Denmark and Schengen.
Going the other way is another story altogether. Which is a bit dangerous considering how much more enjoyable life is in the Schengen transit hall.
If you travel on an EU or Schengen passport, the process of checking out of Europe is pretty quick. But for you other citizens of the world, leave a lot of time for passport control.
It’s not uncommon for the line to go back thirty metres in about six lanes, plus another 50-100 metres of single-file queuing. It’s an impressive line! And if you don’t leave enough time for it, then bye-bye plane.
But then again, if you did miss your plane then all the more time to say…
Lesson #3 – hello SAS Lounges!!!
Scandinavia has always been a rather egalitarian part of the world. So it’s very fitting that you can pay your way into the best lounge at Copenhagen Airport.
SAS business class passengers and various other half-gods gets in for free. But they even let the cattle class riffraff like me in, for an agreeable fee, as long as you’re flying with SAS or Wideroe that day.
And it’s not just Copenhagen, by the way. SAS have lounges at Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki too.
Trust me, that fee is soooo worth it if you have more than about three hours to burn!
Here are some of the inclusions…
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner, buffet style, all day long
- Beer and wine, all day long
- Juice and soft drink, all day… You starting to get the drift?
- Quiet room with Scandinavian-designed recliners
- Chips and snacks
- Mobile phone recharging
- Computer access
- A super relaxed atmosphere, even when the lounge is pretty full
Just remember, while you are getting the fifth helping of gingerbread pellets, to peek out the lounge windows when it gets closer to passport control time. If the line goes past the lounge it is baaaaad.
Share your tips
Last time I travelled through Copenhagen I had a nine-hour stopover there. But I had a ball of a time. All by myself! So much so, I’m a bit sorry I only have three hours there next time.
What are some of your tips when travelling through Copenhagen?