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Guide to KEF / Reykjavik-Keflavik Airport, Iceland)

Old Aug 7, 2018, 11:58 am
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Last edit by: JDiver
Guide to KEF / Keflavik International Airport

Airport: KEF / BKIF / Keflavíkurflugvöllur / Keflavik International Airport is the main Airport serving the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik, on the exposed flat Reykjanesskagi / Reykjanes Peninsula, southwest of Reykjavik. It was built in the early 1940s, and still holds an Air Base.

KEF is the hub for Icelandair and WOW airlines, and the main international airport for Iceland. Flybus connects both airports (see below). KEF is very popular year ‘round because of Icelandair and WOW low cost through connecting flights. It is not a modern airport, but it is reasonably small and easy to get around.

NOTE: RKV / BIRK, Reykjavik City Airport, is a small airport within the City serving mostly domestic, Faroes and Greenland flights.

Nearby Keflavik (actually Reykjanesbær since it’s merging with nearby Njarðvík and Hafnir) is mostly an industrial town of ~15,000.

The Blue Lagoon (link), popular with tourists, is also situated on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Food, souvenirs, thermal bathing.

Airport maps: see post #1.

Airport website link to English version.

Location: KEF is 50 km (31 mi) southwest of Reykjavík itself, about 0:45 by Car or bus.

Hours: KEF is generally a 24 hour airport for most services, but security is closed 0130 - 0330 (AM). Sleeping over in the airport is prohibited, according to signage, though it seems not to be enforced rigidly. It is busiest during the morning international arrival and afternoon international departure tranches of flights. See flight status listings here.

Services: Flugstöð Leifs Eiríkssonar / Leif Ericsson Terminal is the main passenger terminal, and offers six eateries from fast food, juice to restaurants (link), currency exchange, cash machines, tax free shopping (link - some items are priced lower that shops in town, and tax free shopping is available to arriving and departing passengers). Ticket counters, departure gate concourses can get very crowded during the heaviest departure times.

Baggage delivery can take longer (up to an hour); some exchange money and shop prior to collecting baggage.

Baggage storage: 500m from the Departure side of the terminal, located between Enterprise and Avis car rentals. €8 per bag (€10bikes, etc.) per day to one week, reduced rate after. Hours vary seasonally, 24 hrs May 15 - Sep 01.

Childrens’ entertainment: scattered throughout Airport. Free strollers available.

Showers: South Building, First Floor. Hours and rates are not known.

Smoking: In esignated area beside the restrooms in the Departure Hall.

WiFi Free in airport. Connect to the “Kefairport-FreeWifi” network and log in to access.

See the excellent listings at www.sleepinginairports.net here for further information.

Special assistance / people with disabilities link.

Connecting: If you have through ticketing on the same airline, it should be quick and easy, particularly if traveling from non-Schengen to non-Schengen. Icelandair has scheduled and fulfilled close connections for many years and is reasonably good at it. If traveling to a Schengen country, you will process immigration here, though your hold baggage will generally be collected at your final destination. Passport control is quick, and an hour connection is quite common.

The countries to which this most applies, which have regular flight connections with Iceland, are the United States and Britain. With the introduction of the Schengen acquis, passengers to or from these countries will pass through a border check and must present passports both when they enter and leave the country. This applies also if passengers do not leave the airport terminal building but instead take a connecting flight with only a short stay in the Leifur Eiriksson Terminal.
See this page on Immigration and Entry Rules from Icelandair.

Bonus: Icelandair in particular sells lower fares and allows connecting passengers up to several days in Iceland at no additional cost.

Lounges: “Icelandair has a very nice looking lounge called the "Saga Lounge" that features padded rest loungers and showers. However, the lounge is only accessible to Icelandair Saga Class and Economy Comfort flyers, Saga Gold and Silver members, as well as certain American Express, Mastercard, Alaska Airlines and Lufthansa Elite/Gold Status flyers.” (This is not a Priority Pass Lounge.)

Hotels, airport sleeping: see sleepinginairport.net page here. The nearest hotels are nearby on this stark peninsula. From sleepinginairports.net:

Airport Hotel Aurora Star - (2 minute walk from the airport) Located 100m from the airport terminal.

Alex Guesthouse - (2 minutes from the airport) Free scheduled transfer to the airport is available every 30 minutes between 4:00AM and 6:30AM and every hour from 8:15AM - 2:15PM (except no service at 12:15PM). For service to the hotel call +354 421-2800 from the airport, and someone from the hotel will pick you up at the “MEETING POINT” sign in Arrivals Hall.

Park Inn by Radisson Reykjavik Keflavik Airport - (5 minutes from the airport) Airport transfers are available to the airport only, every 30 minutes between 4:00AM and 8:00AM with one more shuttle at 12.00PM. Outside of these hours or from the airport to the airport a taxi is suggested.

Bed & Breakfast Keflavik Airport - (8 minutes from the airport) Free airport shuttle is available upon request.

Check TripAdvisor for further information. Google for the properties’ websites or use an OTA.

Layover: See this new page at sleepinginairports.net for layover activities and tours.

Transportation to / from Reykjavik link to airport transport page:

Taxi will cost in excess of USD $130. Hire cars can be hired at ~$200.

Bus: there are two main frequent companies vying for your business, FlyBus and Gray Line. Both arrive at city bus terminals, where you might remain on th bus to major destinations (Hilton Nordica, about 2km east of the center of Reykjavik), or you’ll transfer to vans. These will often drop you at stops near your destination / hotel, as they are often unable or prohibited from actually ripping yuoffat the door due to street layout. The challenges are transferring to shuttle vans at the terminal or from the stop toyour destination in inclement weather. Most busses offer free WiFi, and have large capacity baggage bins underneath.

Flybus link: The Flybus is located right outside the arrival hall at Keflavík International Airport. The bus leaves every 35-40 minutes after the arrival of each flight. Departures are listed on Airport displays and there is a staffed kiosk. Tickets can be purchased online or from the kiosk. Upon request, the bus will stop by Hotel Viking in Hafnarfjörður and Aktu taktu in Garðabær. Adults 16+ years (5.500 ISK), Teenagers 12-15 years (2.750 ISK), Children 0-11 years (Free) to the Reykjavík Bus Terminal (BSI). Buy a Flybus+ ticket to include transfer to hotels. Adults (6.950 ISK), Teenagers (3.475 ISK). Discounts for return tickets.

Airport Direct link: Orange busses. One way from from 2.390 ISK, hotel connection 950 ISK more. Round trip lightly discounted. Airport Direct also offers a premium service using only 8 person shuttles; this service is always door to door, meaning straight to your accommodation from Keflavík. No change of buses is required. 5,490 ISK single per passenger (~$51.00).

Gray Line / Airport Express link: €23 Airport to Hotel or v.v., €18 to Terminal only. Round trip lightly discounted. Automobile transfers from €155. Tours can be arranged, including transfer with stop at Blue Lagoon.

Public Strætó Bus link: The lowest cost is the public bus service, called Strætó, runs scheduled routes to and from Reykjavík, Reykjanesbær town and environs. See the Strætó bus stop at the terminal. Numerous stops mean it takes longer; transfers to other lines serving your destination are possible, about 1:20 to the BSI bus terminal also used by Fly us. No baggage bins.

As well, https://www.re.is offers bus tours, including from KEF to the Blue Lagoon.

Rental cars: Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar dba Bilaleiga Akureyrar.

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Guide to KEF / Reykjavik-Keflavik Airport, Iceland)

Old Aug 7, 2018, 9:38 am
  #1  
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Guide to KEF / Reykjavik-Keflavik Airport, Iceland)

Information moved to Wikipost to make it easy for members to update, edit, add, etc.

Airport maps:
Attached Images      
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Last edited by JDiver; Aug 7, 2018 at 12:23 pm Reason: Move content to Wikipost at top of page.
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Old Aug 7, 2018, 11:20 am
  #2  
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Climate: See these charts, or below.

Currency: ISK / Icelandic Krona. XE converter page (changeable, but set to ISK -> USD).
(7 Aug 2018: 1 USD =106.786ISK, 1 EUR =123.740ISK, 1 GBP =138.186ISK)

Midnight Sun” - What times are daylight or dark? See here.

Northern Lights / Aurora Borealis: most common in winter, particularly during periods of high solar flare activity. Requires clear night time.
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Last edited by JDiver; Aug 7, 2018 at 12:21 pm
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Old Aug 7, 2018, 2:51 pm
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Thank you JDiver for creating a guide.

To add...There are several good aurora forecasting apps that will give you the KP index and cloud cover for upcoming hours and days for a given location. My Aurora and Aurora Alerts are both helpful. It's not real comfortable to be out in cold temps with your neck bent in half so these really help narrow when to be out.
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Old Aug 7, 2018, 9:37 pm
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Thank you JDiver for the Wikipost! Very comprehensive.
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Old May 22, 2019, 8:12 am
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For cheaper shopping, to resupply, buy the clothing that one didn’t bring or that was in the lost baggage, purchase food items, etc. COSTCO is between KEF and Reykjavik.

Costco Wholesale Vorhuis
Kauptún 3, 210 Gardabaer, Iceland


South of Reykjavik, if you’re renting a car at KEF ideal to stop en route to Reykjavik. Or starting out southbound on the Ring Road.
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Old May 27, 2019, 12:53 am
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The 10-11 supermarket (turn right out of Arrivals) sells SIM cards, if you need to buy one quickly.

Pure Food Hall sells Icelandic honey, for a rare (and expensive) treat.
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Old May 27, 2019, 3:35 am
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fantastic guide

This airport guide is very useful-long overdue. IME, KEF in 2017 was so bad I wrote them about my experience. Some of the info is now dated but I thought it would be useful to share:

Silvía Jónsdóttir <[email protected]>

Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 10:32 AM
Dear Sir

Thank you for your suggestions.

The airport is 30 years old but we are expanding and improving as fast as we are able. There are several charging stations throughout the airport. I am sorry that the employee did not know. I will look into that.

When we have finished expanding we hope to have room for some off the things you suggested. But right now we are to small compared to the number off people going through.

Again thank you for your suggestions. J

Með kveðju,

Kind regards
Silvía Jónsdóttir
Þónustustjóri Farþegaþjónustu

Project Manager Passenger Service

Sími: +354 425 6000
Beint: +354 425 6053
Farsími: +354 691 7949



Keflavíkurflugvöllur

[email protected]
www.isavia.is

I visited Keflavik for my WOW flight 251 to YUL on 28 September. I am writing to suggest improvements to enhance passenger services:
  1. there are no pay per use showers @ KEF. I saw passengers who had not showered in a week while hiking in Iceland, cleaning dirt off their boots in the lower level washroom. They smelled awful;
  2. there are no lounges accessible for Priority Pass members. The only lounge (Iceland Air) is limited to LH passengers;
  3. there are no quiet areas in the terminal where passengers can rest between flights. KEF has many connecting travelers, and the airport has very few seating options.
I went into the security area at around 1 pm. The restaurant options were surprisingly limited for a connecting airport i.e. no Quiznos, no Subway, and all of the food options were much more expensive than in town. I could not see any Icelandic options e.g. no lamb, no meat soup, for example. The stores were also very expensive e.g. the wool sweater I bought at Ice Wear was 8900 KR - I paid 4950 KR at their store near IKEA. To drive this point home, I heard a store clerk tell an Asian tourist they had no specials. (BTW, that is a great way to discourage shopping). Please issue an RFP for affordable Icelandic food options at KEF.

In the security area, I asked at the information desk where I could access a cell phone charging station? The employee did not understand the question! In any event, you don't have any. I can tell you that my other airports provide these e.g. SIN, HKG.

My gate was not yet posted. At 3:20 pm, it became clear why? The flights to North America all departed from Terminal D, and it was not open until 3 pm. When it did open, it was a madhouse:
  1. huge lines;
  2. all of the restaurants were full and the airport installed barriers which made it impossible to walk through this area;
  3. the signs for the washrooms were misleading. I could not find any - so I waited until I was on my plane;
  4. there were no power points in the waiting areas.
  5. the waiting area seating was very limited.
  6. no frequent flyer lounges (the only one is back in Terminal C);
  7. no English language newspapers were for sale in the shops;
  8. no pay-per-use computers were provided for use by passengers during a long wait .
Taking a bus to my WOW flight was a blessing i.e. to escape the crowding. But why are you using buses? The airport is brand new. Did you not plan well for the number of gates?

Please pass on my suggestions to your management team. If they implemented half of the improvements I suggest, the passenger experience at KEF will be improved.
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Old Jun 27, 2019, 12:45 pm
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Does KEF immigration look kindly on non-Schengen to non-Schengen transfer pax presenting at immigration so we can take a quick look around the main building airside shops before returning to the D gates? I wouldn't want to leave the secured area, but by all reports the D gates get a little claustrophobic, and also my new passport is sorely lacking in stamps.
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Old Jun 27, 2019, 12:58 pm
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I have a couple of questions:

1. Could someone kindly inform as to the location of ATMs after leaving the customs area and entering the arrival hall?

2. Does anyone have a recommendation for a SIM card that can be sent to the USA for use while in Iceland?

Thank you.
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Old Jun 27, 2019, 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted by VT_hawkeye
Does KEF immigration look kindly on non-Schengen to non-Schengen transfer pax presenting at immigration so we can take a quick look around the main building airside shops before returning to the D gates? I wouldn't want to leave the secured area, but by all reports the D gates get a little claustrophobic, and also my new passport is sorely lacking in stamps.
Which kind of passport?

Seeing a US passport, they don’t usually care. Some may ask for how long you are staying, but even that is the exception in my experience. If you give an answer and it seems feasible that you would make your connection, they almost certainly should be fine with it.
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Old Jun 28, 2019, 2:52 pm
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Originally Posted by 747FC
I have a couple of questions:

1. Could someone kindly inform as to the location of ATMs after leaving the customs area and entering the arrival hall?

2. Does anyone have a recommendation for a SIM card that can be sent to the USA for use while in Iceland?

Thank you.
Iirc you can find ATMs near the baggage carousels and more ATMs next to the bank outside the Customs area. Be aware Visa and MasterCard branded cards are accepted widely, even in taxicabs, whereas ISK aren’t very convertible outside of Iceland. Even USD and EUR seemed to be welcomed if you want to tip a guide, etc.

WiFi is widely available, and we’ve used WhatsApp (HangOuts, Skype, etc.) for efficient and economical global calling - including our times in Iceland.
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Old Jun 28, 2019, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver
Iirc you can find ATMs near the baggage carousels and more ATMs next to the bank outside the Customs area. Be aware Visa and MasterCard branded cards are accepted widely, even in taxicabs, whereas ISK aren’t very convertible outside of Iceland. Even USD and EUR seemed to be welcomed if you want to tip a guide, etc.

WiFi is widely available, and we’ve used WhatsApp (HangOuts, Skype, etc.) for efficient and economical global calling - including our times in Iceland.
Thanks.
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Old Sep 19, 2019, 9:33 am
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a few comments/additions, based on a summer 2019 trip:
  1. while a pair of ATMs are located in the baggage claim area, i never needed any ISK and in fact never even saw any. i drove around the island, and never encountered anyone who did not accept credit cards.
  2. if you intend to claim any tax refund, the line is really long but moves quickly. there are tables along the wall where you can fill in missing info.
  3. airport wifi is free and easy to use.
  4. queuing for departure gates is a nightmare! i think my flight was in D hall, along with 3 other flights boarding at roughly the same time. there is no seating to speak of, and no line control. it was really just a throng of hundreds of people. i had one member of my family wait near our gate for announcements and come to get the rest of us when our group was called - announcements were hard to hear and they tended to announce over each other for the different flights. it also didn't help that they were doing passport/BP checks in the hallway (not in the gate area itself), adding to the crowd and confusion.
  5. aurora forecasts: try these sites - https://www.gi.alaska.edu/monitors/aurora-forecast and https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/a...inute-forecast. i never got to see any, but i didn't have high hopes given it was august. i've heard that march is the best time to see it.
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 4:50 pm
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I agree with 1, 2, and 3. We just returned a couple days ago from KEF and we found seating close to the Gate D queues. We found the announcements to be quite understandable and the TV screens backed up that info.

MUCH more civilized than our last visit, 3 years ago.

We failed in our Aurora quest as well. 3 cloudy nights, 3 clear nights with no lights.

There are still a few "remote gates" at KEF. We watched sad folks walking thru heavy rain with their carryons and climbing stairs to planes parked a few yards away from the terminal.
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