Atlanta scores new direct flights to Scandinavia

Scandinavian Airlines, soon part of Delta’s SkyTeam network, now offers daily nonstop flights to Copenhagen

Scandinavian Airlines new nonstop flights in Atlanta
An SAS plane pulls up to the gate at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for the first time.

Photograph by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Scandinavian Airlines, commonly known as SAS, has launched its new nonstop flight from Hartsfield Jackson-Atlanta International Airport to Copenhagen Kastrup Airport.

“Here’s a direct flight that brings you to a very cool part of the world. It’s beautiful, the nature is stunning, and the sustainability focus of the three countries [Denmark, Sweden, and Norway] is tremendous. It’s just a different way of life,” Scandinavian Airlines CEO Anko Van der Werff told Atlanta magazine just before a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the inaugural departure on June 17.

Hartsfield-Jackson is on a new flight route streak: The SAS route follows airlines such as WestJet launching daily direct flights to Edmonton, Canada in April and Avelo launching a four-times weekly service to New Haven, Connecticut in May.

Scandinavian Airlines new nonstop flights in Atlanta
Scandinavian Airlines CEO Anko Van der Werff speaks before the inaugural flight out of Hartsfield-Jackson.

Photograph by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Route Upgrade

In the past, travelers on their way from Atlanta to Denmark needed one or more layovers in cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Paris, or Amsterdam. Now, Atlantans can hop on a daily nonstop that takes just over nine hours (down from the 11 to 14 it could take with layovers). Atlanta is the ninth North American airport serviced by SAS.

The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), which ranks more than 600 airlines worldwide using user-generated data through trip planner and flight tracking app TripIt, has declared SAS a five-star airline based on five areas of overall passenger experience. “About a single digit percentage of airlines rank 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 give a great new option for direct connectivity to regions that, right now, can be a little bit harder to get to from Atlanta.”

Scandinavian Airlines new nonstop flights in Atlanta
The first SAS plane at Atlanta receives a water cannon salute.

Photograph by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Starting on September 1, SAS will transfer from the Star Alliance to SkyTeam, of which Delta Air Lines is a flagship member. That means passengers will be able to book Atlanta to Copenhagen through Delta’s booking system and apply Delta SkyMiles to the cost of the flight. “It’s the biggest hub in the world with the biggest airline in the world, Delta. With joining SkyTeam, flying into Atlanta makes all the sense,” said Van der Werff.

For now, those checking bags may do so at a dedicated Scandinavian Airlines check-in counter at the international terminal.

Scandinavian Airlines new nonstop flights in Atlanta
SAS’s dedicated check-in counter in Hartsfield-Jackson’s international terminal.

Photograph 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 + Leisure, thanks to its innovative design, ample green spaces, sustainability, world-class food scene, and interesting history. Here are some tips for how best to experience the “City of Spires.”

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

Eat: Copenhagen’s most famous restaurant, three Michelin-starred Noma, will close at the end of 2024, but there’s a lot more to love about the city’s food scene. Copenhagen is experiencing a surge of Italian restaurants, and one standout in the bunch is Paesàno, run by Naples-born chef Davide Laudato. For a taste of elevated traditional Danish fare such as open-faced sandwiches smørrebrød, have a meal outdoors at Fasangården, located in the Frederiksberg Gardens. If you’re determined to have a taste of Noma, pick up a cardamom croissant by former Noma baker Richard Hart at Hart Bageri or a burger at Popl, where former Noma-staffers get experimental.

Stay: You can’t do better than the new Hotel Bella Grande, located in central Copenhagen, steps from City Hall Square. Housed in a meticulously refurbished 1899 building, the cozy modern rooms, friendly staff, and hearty complimentary breakfast make it an ideal launching point.