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The Reykjavik FlyBus Fiasco: What You Need to Know About the Airport Transfer

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The Reykjavik Flybus Iceland bus at the BSI Bus Terminal

Reykjavik, Iceland is not like most European cities. First, it is only about 300,000 people. Second, its airport isn’t even in Reykjavik – its in Keflavik, Iceland about 1 hour (52 kilometers) away. There are really only two ways to get there – a ridiculously expensive taxi ride or the Reykjavik FlyBus operated by Reykjavik Excursions. We found that the FlyBus Iceland service is a fiasco.

Taking the FlyBus into Reykjavik from the Keflavik airport takes a load of faith. There’s no set schedule. And there’s a good reason why: the company organizes the bus to maximize profits. And this can leave you waiting for a very long time.

Reykjavik Excursions sign for the Flybus in the baggage claim area at Keflavik airport
Reykjavik Excursions spends a TON of money marketing the Flybus

The company, Reykjavik Excursions, claims that the Flybus leaves Keflavik airport after every arriving flight, approximately 35-40 minutes after an arriving flight. In our experience, there weren’t many people who signed up for the service, so they just kept holding the bus…and holding the bus…and holding the bus.

So, we didn’t leave Keflavik until 2 hours and 10 minutes after the flight landed. They kept telling us (the five of us waiting on the big bus) that it would leave shortly.

The Keflavik Airport ticket counter
The ticket counter (not busy), so the buses wait

Now, if the company kept to their process (and what is published on their slickly produced website and marketing materials), there should have been 3-4 buses in the time where none actually went. In our experience, when the giant bus finally did go, there were only 5 really upset people on the bus.

Put simply, Reykjavik Excursions held the bus for over 2 hours hoping to get more paying passengers before finally letting the bus leave the airport. The company didn’t make much money on that trip, and they were all tourists. I can only assume that locals know better than to take the Reykjavik Excursions Flybus.

The Reykjavik Excursions Flybus leaving the BSI Terminal
The bus leaving the BSI bus terminal

Now, truth in disclosure, the service from the hotel to the airport was better – and also operates on a set schedule. It was absolutely packed – 100% of the seats filled…and the bus went on time.

As a country, Iceland is working hard to boost tourism. And yes, we thoroughly enjoyed our 10 days in Iceland. However, travelers generally expect a certain level of infrastructure. And this is especially true in Europe. Having reliable and timely transportation from the city center to the airport is one of those things.

The kiosks at the Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik
The Flybus self-service kiosks at the Keflavik airport

If Iceland wants to boost tourism it would benefit them to have reliable and economical airport service. And the Reykjavik Excursions Flybus in Iceland is not it.

Travelers to Iceland have few options to get from the airport into Reykjavik. But they should be warned that there’s a good chance of them being stranded at the airport for an extended period of time. Travelers should allow plenty of extra time and not assume the bus will run as promised. We would strongly encourage travelers to investigate other options.

The Flybus mini-bus at the BSI bus station in Reykjavik

Note: It doesn’t seem that the Reykjavik Excursions Flybus experience has improved. We found this article on The Pickup Pickle and the Dramas of Drop Off with the service. And in 2018, there is a lengthy thread in a popular travel forum site discussing the nearly identical problem we faced. And we saw the exact thing happen again in December 2019 (although, thankfully, we’d made other options and were not using the service).

Options For The Flybus Iceland

There are two options:

Reykjavík Flybus

The Flybus takes you from the Keflavik airport to the Reykjavík BSÍ Bus terminal. Once the bus actually leaves the airport, the trip should take around 45 minutes. Cost is 3299 Icelandic Króna (~$27) one way and 6299 Iceland Krona (~$51) round trip.

The Flybus sitting at the Keflavik airport
The bus sitting empty at the airport, despite a lot of people waiting

Reykjavik Excursions uses large commercial buses for this transfer. The company generally tries to fill the bus before it leaves the Keflavik airport. Other companies use smaller buses which make the journey more frequently (and faster) than the Flybus.

Reykjavík Flybus+

The Flybus+ takes you from the Keflavik airport to the Reykjavík BSÍ Bus terminal, where you will switch from the big bus onto small mini-buses to be taken directly to your hotel. Once the bus actually leaves the airport, the trip should take around 45 minutes.

The mini-buses also don’t operate on a set schedule and the whole system is a bit disorganized. The layover at the bus terminal is around 10 minutes. On the mini-bus, you should allow 10-30 minutes to reach your specific hotel (depending on when you will get dropped off). Cost is 4299 Icelandic Króna (~$36) one way.

The Flybus+ pick-up service at the BSI Bus Terminal
The Flybus+ pickup service in Reykjavik

If you insist on traveling on the Flybus, we would strongly encourage you to purchase your tickets through a third-party consolidator, where you have some recourse when things go wrong. Large companies like Viator that re-sell Flybus tickets have more buying power than you do individually and Viator has a generous policy when there are problems. You can buy tickets on Viator here.

Note: If you want to be assured of reliable transportation in Iceland and you will be exploring the region around the capital (such as the Golden Circle), we strongly recommend renting a car and driving yourself.

The Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon, Iceland
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