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gingin410
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Will need to fly into Copenhagen (or nearby city) from US in Aug 2012 for a cruise. A friend has mentioned getting direct flights to Copenhagen from the US is fairly expensive, so am wondering if there are other cities that would cost less but be fairly easy & cheap to then get to Copenhagen? I am willing to arrive a few days early and travel by train if that;s a good idea as I’ve never been to Northern Europe before.

Also, what’s a good fare so I’ll know when to buy rather than spending the next 13 months searching, searching, searching?

Don
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Welcome gingin410!

There aren’t any major alternative airports relatively close to Copenhagen. CPH airport is big and busy, ~ 25 million passengers per year, IIRC. Berlin, Hamburg, and Stockholm are best-connected (~5 hours train from those city centers to central Copenhagen). Malmo, Sweden MMX airport is technically closest, but it’s small and not much good unless you want to take a cheap hop from another city in Europe; but if you were going to do that, it would be better just to take a cheap flight hop straight to Copenhagen instead. Billund, Denmark BLL comes up competitively priced with KLM connections from the States sometimes; it’s about 3 hours train to Copenhagen, but not much there unless you want Legoland, renting a cottage in north Jylland for a week (white sand beaches… and cold water!), or relatives across the border in that part of northern Germany—for example.

Here’s a (fun) wild-card: There’s an overnight ferry from Oslo to Copenhagen that runs in both directions nightly. 1 leaves Oslo about 5pm, and 1 leaves Copenhagen about 5pm, and each dock in the other city about 9am next morning. Oslo isn’t a great tourist city, in my opinion, but if you happen to have a personal or family connection there, or get a super-cheap flight deal, might be worth checking out.

As far as flights… CPH is very well connected with all of Europe. There’s a good amount of “low fare” airlines there too, using their new “Swift” terminal. But unless you wanted to visit another city, anyway, I doubt it’s worth it to put 2 tickets together on your own.

From ATL, Delta serves CPH, but I’m not sure if that’s summers-only. (I’ve been on that flight a couple times myself). I believe DL is serving CPH from JFK year-round. And of course SAS serves CPH from Dulles, Newark, and Chicago, and United or one if it’s partners would connect you from ATL.

Otherwise, I think Lufthansa and KLM are good choices from ATL, too, with just 1 connection via AMS or FRA.

With 13 months, time is really on your side. However, as you know, Aug. is still peak season. There is some relief … usually; if you can depart after mid-August to CPH, then SAS and competitors usually dip fares down to an off-peak level. It’s not as cheap as, say, November typically. But, for example, I just got email from SAS today for travel from Aug. 14 onward at $474 each way from Chicago, for example (+taxes & fees); ATL usually similarly-priced on these SAS sales, connection included.

Since it is so far off, though, I guess the take-aways are 1) go for SAS if you can—they’re good!, 2) get outbound after mid-August if at all possible, to increase likelihood of getting these lower priced late-summer offers, and 3) be on lookout for a wild card. Swiss might run a crazy sale to Geneva for flights next summer—for example; you hadn’t planned to go to Geneva, but for $750, say, you could get 2 trips in one, and pay for a flight hop to CPH and back.

I’d sign up for alerts, and check Airfarewatchdog’s facebook and twitter sites. They really seem to sniff out these kinds of deals. (I’ve tossed ‘em a bone or 2 from time to time, too!).

SAS’s current late-summer sale: http://www.flysas.co…