Return to travel: taking the stress out of flying to or from Stockholm

It’s been a long time since many of us have thought about flying. The pandemic has miniaturised our world and cut many of the cords that bind us to family and friends. 

Return to travel: taking the stress out of flying to or from Stockholm
Photo: Getty Images

But Sweden’s Foreign Ministry recently lifted its advice to avoid non-necessary travel, which has been in place since March 2020. Whether you’re part of a family with kids desperate to see their grandparents, a single person who has been cut off from friends and family overseas, or an entrepreneur who needs to see investors or clients, this could be the perfect time to travel again.

Indeed, passenger numbers have hit the highest level since the start of the pandemic, with more and more people returning to the skies. According to Swedavia, which runs Sweden’s major airports, air travel continued to recover for the second straight month in August.

If you’re now ready to fly again, here are some essential tips, presented in partnership with Arlanda express, for making your experience easier and less stressful when going to or from Stockholm. Travel is meant to be fun, right?

Ready to fly again soon? Find out how you can save time and stress by planning your journey with Arlanda express

1. Being prepared means being Covid-prepared. 

The last thing you want is to book your flights but be turned away at the airport for not having all the requisite documentation and certificates. For instance, the EU Covid certificate is now available, which should be sufficient for travel within the EU and to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

If you’ve been vaccinated, you can download your digital vaccination certificate if you have an approved form of Swedish e-identification, such as Bank ID. However, it’s still important to check all protocols related to Covid-19 for your airline and destination in terms of testing, masks and any local restrictions or recommendations. 

2. Check the basics if it’s years since you’ve flown

Have everything ready the night before you travel. This is always good advice but perhaps especially now. If you think you know where your passport is but haven’t checked, go and find it right away. Not sure of the terminal? Or the precise departure time? Give yourself some peace of mind and double check!

If you feel fully prepared the night before you travel (at the latest!), all you have to worry about is the actual trip, not where all the essential documents (or downloads) are. 

3. Get to and from the airport fast!

One way to suck some stress out of the travelling process is to avoid busy roads when you’re on your way to the airport. You may feel it could be better to avoid any roads. You really don’t want traffic snarls eating into your travel time. 

Depending on where you live and your circumstances, it might be wise to invest in the certainty that rail travel can offer. If you choose to take Arlanda express, you can ensure you know exactly when you’ll arrive at the airport. You can also be sure of getting a good seat to enjoy the views as you speed north out of Stockholm, perhaps while enjoying a well-deserved cup of coffee.

Travelling to Arlanda by road can come to seem like a long journey, as it’s 40km or more from many parts of Stockholm. Arlanda express takes only 18 minutes to transport you from central Stockholm to Arlanda. Just 18 – not 40 or 60. Upon your return from Arlanda, you’ll want a little calm – not trouble finding a taxi, more traffic delays or finding there are no parking places within 10 minutes of your home. 

This is even more vital if it’s not only yourself you need to think about. If you have children travelling with you, they travel for free on Arlanda express until they turn 18. A family of five, for example, can travel to or from Arlanda for just 379 Swedish kronor – or less than 76 kronor per person. If it’s just two of you, or you’re travelling with a few friends or colleagues, there are still deep discounts available.

Want an affordable and enjoyable journey? Check out the full range of Arlanda express ticket options and prices now

Photo: Arlanda Express

4. Don’t forget your entertainment for the plane

One of the unheralded joys of preparing to travel is assembling your array of entertainment for the journey. If you have an e-reader, buy yourself a couple of e-books; if you have a tablet, download a new TV series or a couple of movies you’ve been meaning to watch, and if you have access to Spotify or a digital audio player, download some tracks from that artist you’ve been wanting to check out.

Or, if you just want to relax, make sure you have your noise-cancelling headphones, a travel pillow and a book packed in your hand luggage.

5. Think ahead when travelling with kids

Travelling with children means you have to be extra well-prepared, even as restrictions are being relaxed. For example, you could book an early morning departure, as these flights are usually less full and far less stressful and they depart when the airport isn’t as crowded. 

Also, dress the younger kids in loose layers, preferably without buttons, studs, or anything that could prevent a sudden, last-minute dash to the bathroom – there are rarely laundry facilities in airports. And when you pack, make sure items that need to be removed during the security check are easily accessible.

You could also start your journey in a way that’s bound to get your kids tingling with excitement – a 200km/h train ride with Arlanda express. 

6. Make conscious choices

Are you a conscious traveller? Do you feel guilty about your carbon footprint? This may be the very best reason to avoid taking a car or taxi to Arlanda. Instead book a ticket with Arlanda express, whose trains are operated 100 percent on green electricity that carries the “Good Environmental Choice” label.

This means the electricity is derived from renewable energy sources, such as hydropower, wind power, and biofuels. Did you know that, apart from actually cycling to Arlanda (try doing that with kids!), taking the train generates the lowest emissions. It’s the best practical way to travel from an environmental perspective.

If you’re thinking of flying again this autumn or winter, start planning ahead: find out how choosing Arlanda express might save you time, stress and even money

Member comments

  1. Very nice to say so, but Arlanda Express stop running trains well before the last flights arrive at Arlanda Airport. And if you have a late flight which might arrive on time for the last train, then it’s still risky to book a train, as planes are often delayed. It happened to me once: I had bought a ticket for the Arlanda Express, but it was useless, as the last train had already left by the time I arrived at the railway station.

  2. I flew from Arlanda last July. It was an awful experience. Took hours to get though all the stops, check in and customs, endless lines. So many people!

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?


One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”


One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”