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Atlanta gets new direct flights to Scandinavia

Scandinavian Airlines introduces new direct flights to Atlanta
An SAS aircraft arrives at the gate for the first time at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Photo by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Scandinavian Airlines, better known as SAS, has launched a new direct flight from Hartsfield Jackson-Atlanta International Airport to Copenhagen Kastrup Airport.

“Here’s a direct flight that takes you to a really cool part of the world. It’s beautiful, the nature is breathtaking and the focus on sustainability from the three countries (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) is huge. It’s just a different way of life,” said Scandinavian Airlines CEO Anko Van der Werff Atlanta magazine just before the opening ceremony upon departure on June 17.

Hartsfield-Jackson has started a new flight route: The SAS route follows carriers including WestJet, which launched daily nonstop flights to Edmonton, Canada, in April, and Avelo, which launched four-weekly service to New Haven, Connecticut, in May.

Scandinavian Airlines introduces new direct flights to Atlanta
Anko van der Werff, CEO of Scandinavian Airlines, speaks before Hartsfield-Jackson’s first flight.

Photo by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Route upgrade

In the past, travelers traveling from Atlanta to Denmark would have needed one or more stops in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Paris or Amsterdam. Now, Atlanta residents can take a nonstop flight daily that takes just over nine hours (instead of the 11 to 14 hours it could take with stops). Atlanta is the ninth North American airport served by SAS.

The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), which ranks more than 600 airlines worldwide using user-generated data from the trip-planning and flight-tracking app TripIt, named SAS a five-star airline based on five areas of the overall passenger experience. “About a single-digit percentage of airlines score five stars, so it’s a very elite group,” said APEX President Dr. Joe Leader, who lives in Atlanta. “(This new route) is going to provide a great new option for direct connectivity to regions that are a little harder to get to from Atlanta right now.”

Scandinavian Airlines introduces new direct flights to Atlanta
The first SAS plane in Atlanta receives a water cannon salute.

Photo by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

As of September 1, SAS will switch from Star Alliance to SkyTeam, of which Delta Air Lines is a flagship member. This means that passengers can book from Atlanta to Copenhagen via Delta’s booking system and use Delta SkyMiles for the cost of the flight. “It is the largest hub in the world with the largest airline in the world, Delta. With the accession to SkyTeam, flying to Atlanta makes perfect sense,” says Van der Werff.

For the time being, travelers who wish to check in their baggage can do so at a special Scandinavian Airlines check-in desk in the international terminal.

New direct flights from Scandinavian Airlines in Atlanta
The dedicated SAS check-in counter in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Terminal.

Photo by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Plan your visit

Copenhagen tops many ‘best of’ lists, including being named one of the world’s best destinations in 2023 by Travel + Leisurethanks to its innovative design, ample green spaces, sustainability, world-class culinary scene and interesting history. Here are some tips on how to best experience the “City of Spires.”

Access: Install and activate the Copenhagen Card on your smartphone for access to over 80 museums, gardens, boat tours and interactive attractions, as well as the metro, buses and ferries. In stark contrast to Atlanta, where a car is almost mandatory, Copenhagen is best experienced via its efficient public transport system. Or cycle to get around like most locals do (there are more bikes than people).

To eat: Copenhagen’s most famous restaurant, the three-Michelin-starred Noma, is closing at the end of 2024, but there’s plenty more to the city’s culinary scene. Copenhagen is experiencing a resurgence of Italian restaurants, and one of the standouts is Paesàno, run by Naples-born chef Davide Laudato. For a taste of elevated traditional Danish dishes like open-faced smørrebrød, dine al fresco at Fasangården, located in Frederiksberg Gardens. If you’re determined to try Noma, grab a cardamom croissant from former Noma baker Richard Hart at Hart Bageri or a burger at Popl, where former Noma employees experiment.

Stay: You can’t do better than the new Hotel Bella Grande, located in the heart of Copenhagen, just a stone’s throw from the City Hall Square. Housed in a carefully renovated building from 1899, the cozy modern rooms, friendly staff and hearty complimentary breakfast make it an ideal base.

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