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Airport connection times thru KEF Iceland

Hi all, I’ve searched Iceland and Denmark forums and not seeing an answer. We are flying Chicago to Copenhagen thru KEF Iceland with a 1 hour 15 min layover. Does anyone have recent experience with getting through passport control. 2 adults with 3 ‘mobile children’. Thank you,

Posted by
4353 posts

KEF is all about Icelandair and making sure the people and bags connect. There's not much else going on there. They will ensure that you and your bags make the connection.

Posted by
82 posts

I flew Iceland air from Chicago - Reykjavik -Rome in August. It was $900 cheaper per person when I bought the tickets, as opposed to straight ORD-FCO.
We only had carryons. On the way over our flight was 45 minutes late getting out of Chicago. Our layover was supposed to be an hour and 25 minutes, but with getting in a little late and having to go through immigration, we just made our gate with a little bit of time to spare.
On the way back, I had been monitoring our weeks prior flights out of Rome to Reykjavík. Only one out of the six left and landed even remotely close to on time, so I was very nervous. We did leave Rome on time, landed in Reykjavík on time. Immigration took 20 minutes and our layover was 50 minutes. Everybody was getting “last call” for boarding texts before we had even gotten off the first plane and into the immigration line. We ran to our gate…And I am NOT a runner. We made it, and I heard the staff counting down how many people they were waiting for, there was about 20 after us. I assume they all got on but I can’t prove that.
Everyone on this site says “oh it’ll be fine” and that’s also partly why I was okay buying the tickets. But I’m not sure the stress of it (particularly on the way back) was worth it to me, and I feel like things in general don’t stress me out.

Posted by
39 posts

Thanks Jenny, I appreciate your taking the time to post. To be honest none of our post Covid flights have been without issues, regardless of how carefully I planned my options! I can handle my own stress, sort of, but this trip is w daughter (who doesn’t like to fly and will stress) and 3 grandkids. I may have taken on too much!! I think we either just go with whatever the flights give us, since we really don’t have control, or come up with another kind of trip! Thanks again,

Posted by
124 posts

As others have commented, there really isn't a lot going on at KEF, so you should be able to pass through fine.

However, the exception is if a member of your party gets pulled out of line for additional security screening. This happened to me in late August 2022. We had flown from Bergen to KEF getting another plane from KEF to Boston, all on Icelandair. As we were going through staff said I needed to come with them as I had been identified for additional screening, but my husband and kids could not come with me. I was taken to another room and had to take a numbered ticket like a deli counter and sat and waited, and waited, with a large number of others who all had also been on a list for "additional screening". Finally, when my number was called, I was brought into another smaller room and told to remove my shoes and jacket, and the agent opened my carry-on luggage and removed everything, so I then had to re-pack. They then did some kind of swab thing on some items/bag and myself and asked me a bunch of questions. When I finished, I scrambled to my gate as my plane had boarded already. I got on, and my family was not on, I knew they most likely were waiting for me in the airport, but I didn't see them. I asked a few times for the flight staff to page my family as I said they were probably waiting for me to board and I guess Iceland doesn't really do that because they refused and I had to get off the plane and rush around trying to find them. It was not ideal.

Posted by
7835 posts

I’ve connected through Iceland on Icelandair without difficulty 5 of 6 times. The exception was our last flight. Our plane that was to take us from Munich to Keflavik was delayed in arriving in Munich. It was naturally delayed leaving Munich and then we hit major headwinds. Our 50 minute connection time wasn’t going to cut it. As soon as we landed the notifications on our phones went off saying we had been rescheduled to the following day’s flight as the gate had closed. Disappointing, and slightly expensive as we had to change tickets from Seattle to Boise for two of our party to the next day.

However, Icelandair provided us with a hotel room, transportation and meal vouchers for our unexpected overnight stay. They also provided us information on how to file a compensation claim for 600 euros for each passenger.

I would always leave an extra transit day cushion if headed to an event with a strict deadline (tours, cruises, etc) but most of the time connections are made.