Europe Summer 2016 – Copenhagen to New York City

This post is written by Katie about her travel from Copenhagen to New York City after RoboCup 2016 (including being stranded overnight in New York City).

I woke at 6am with the intention of catching the 6:43am airport train. I quietly packed up my belongings and left Urban House.

6 beds in a pretty small room led to a crowded environment at Urban House.

Copenhagen Urban House was an interesting place.  I loved the automated check-in and check-out, that there were small lockers in the rooms (I would have preferred larger ones though), as well as the cleanness of everything. On the negative side, the room was rather crowded since there was no space for everyone’s luggage and the bunk beds were shaky and squeaky.

Last time dragging robots around? That was my assumption…

I barely missed the 6:43am train from Copenhagen Central (36 DKK) – it was pulling away as I reached the platform. This left me sitting on a shaded but surprisingly dirty platform until the next airport train left 20 minutes later. In general, Copenhagen’s main train station was surprising grimy and old feeling.

The airport train was quick and on schedule.

The 7:03am train left right on time and arrived at the airport at 7:20am. There were just two stops between the central station and the airport. My train was not the nicest train – graffiti inside and out, seats felt damp – but it was pretty empty.

I had to walk outside to get from the train to Terminal 2.

The train did not arrive at Terminal 2, so I had to walk 5-10 minutes outside near a construction area before I reached Terminal 2.

Terminal 2 was big and uncrowded.

Norwegian self service check-in kiosks greeted me upon arriving in Terminal 2. It seemed that the majority of traffic in Terminal 2 was budget airlines – RyanAir, EasyJet and Norwegian. I looked on the screens and found that Finnair had a few counters farther down the check-in area.

My backpack and Pelican are ready for checking.

I put my backpack into its laundry bag and then approached the priority check-in area. There were only two agents for check-in – one for priority and one for everyone else. The priority agent was busy, so the other agent helped me.

This agent was friendly but distracted. First she forgot to check my second bag and then she forgot to print my boarding passes. She did note that I had lounge invites printed on my boarding passes.

One annoying thing about flying Finnair – OneWorld Emeralds only get two checked bags (one more than the default), while on AA I would get three. This meant I would have to carry on the smallest robot bag. This would normally be fine, but as I was going to review my Helsinki to JFK flight, it would have been better to have both hands free for photos while boarding.

I took the robot Pelican case to the ‘large items’ drop-off area and then headed upstairs to security. Entering security, you just needed to scan your boarding pass. My ID was never checked outside of checking luggage. This means I could have booked a flight as anyone and boarded the plane without checking luggage without ever needing to show ID. I guess this is another example of Danish community trust?

Security was rather busy. The security staff looked at the robot head bag for a long time on the scanner, but no secondary check was required.

Finnair plane from Copenhagen to Helsinki

I walked past both lounges I had access to – CPH Apartment and Aspire – but opted to proceed to the gate since time was tight.  Boarding had begun by the time I reached the gate. I boarded easily into my exit row seat.

Blueberry juice (complementary) and champagne (elite benefit).

During push back, I was offered an English language newspaper (presumably due to my OneWorld Emerald status).  Once in flight, I was also offered a complementary beverage (again, presumably due to my status). I probably should have chosen a soft drink, but I instead opted for champagne. It was very tasty, but left me with a strong buzz – which was not ideal for preparing to gather data for a flight review!

The light gray seating made the cabin feel spacious and airy.

The flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki was a short 1h25m. My emergency exit row seat – 12D – was spacious. I like the calming gray seats and interior as well.

My Finnair A330-300 from Helsinki to JFK

Once in Helsinki, I went to visit the Finnair Lounge before my flight on a Finnair A330-300 – which I’m reviewing for The Points Guy!

Once I arrived at JFK, I quickly cleared immigration with my Global Entry and then waited for my bags.  Once they appeared I rechecked them and then went back through security using my TSA PreCheck.

Back in the secure area, I went over to try and get a good exterior picture of my Finnair plane.  This was unsuccessful due to where it was parked, so I walked to the gate for my 5:30pm flight to Austin.

At this point, nasty storms rolled into JFK that closed departures from the airport for a while.  Despite making announcements at the gate, American Airlines failed to update the departure time online and on screens in the airport.  This made me feel uncomfortable leaving the gate, but I eventually went to the Admirals Club just trusting that announcements/information would be given there.

The Admirals Club was so swamped when I arrived that no one even checked me in.  I found a seat at a computer, and somehow made space for my laptop.  American finally updated the departure time by pushing it out 30 minutes repeatedly – but they would fail to update this until anywhere from 5 minutes to scheduled departure to 15 minutes after scheduled departure.  I just trusted that when/if the flight was actually boarding, an announcement would be made in the Admirals Club.

Great – and it’s weather related, which means American is off the hook for lodging and meals.

At 8pm, I received an email saying my flight was canceled.  JT called to rebook me since the counters in the Admirals Club were swamped.  There were no remaining options for that night, and the only option for the next day was a 5am departure from Newark.  Since rebooking had taken a while, it would take at least three hours using public transit to get from JFK to Newark, and I was struggling to find a reasonable hostel/hotel between JFK and Newark (as well as public transit options to Newark in the middle of the night), I was considering just staying up all night and heading directly to Newark. JT did find a better option with two layovers that departed Newark later in the day, so I accepted this as it would at least make booking an expensive hotel/hostel worth it.

As I was looking at lodging options, a friend ended up offering to use a hotel credit to book me a night in New York’s Wyndam Garden Chinatown.  This was between JFK and Newark, so I gladly accepted!  I finally left JFK around 11:30pm after finding my bags sitting in a heap of bags in the baggage claim area.

I took the AirTrain and underground to Chinatown.  I accidentally took the blue AirTrain instead of the red AirTrain, so this required backtracking and made the 1h30m trip into more of a 2h15m trip.  The underground was not crowded at least, so I had room to sit with my bags as I struggled to stay awake on the 45m ride on the J line.

Once at the Bowery stop, I lugged all of the robot bags up many stairs and then down the street to the Wyndam Garden Chinatown.

Room at the Wyndam Garden Chinatown

Check-in at the Wyndam Garden Chinatown was easy.  The actual room was large for New York and featured everything I needed.  It was much nicer than the places I normally stay!

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