WARNING: If you are flying from Helsinki with British Airways you have to print your boarding pass before coming to the airport or you will end up queuing to the TWO (!) check-in desks BA operates at the airport (Terminal 2, last two desks on the right, next to the toilets). I didn't have access to a printer and was in the queue for 45 minutes (June 2013)
You can check-in online and reserve your seat and THEN queue to print your boarding pass or you can take your chances with the seat selection and just queue and check-in at the desk.
If you've managed to print your boarding pass and have hand luggage only obviously you can go straight through security or if you have hold luggage you can drop it off at the check-in desk - there is a separate queue for luggage only.
Although the British Airways flights include partnership codes for example for Finnair (AY) and American Airlines (AA) you can NOT use the self check-in machines by entering via Finnair. Tried and tested, does not work.
So be warned, the queues are long, especially in the summer, Helsinki airport is a major gateway into Europe for Asian passengers.
There are two bus connections between the main railway station and Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Finnair shuttle bus leaves from platform 30 in Elielin aukio which is - looking from the south - on the left side of the railway station. The bus is either blue or white coloured . Travel time is circa 35 minutes and ticket costs currently 6,20 €. The shuttle bus line runs between 5:00-24:00.
Going to the opposite direction the bus departs from Terminal 2/platform 10 and stops also at Terminal 1/platform 1. The line is in operation between 5:45-1:10 (the departure time of the last bus)
Heading towards the airport the bus stops only at Scandic Hotel (Mannerheimintie / Hesperianpuisto bus stop) and homeland & International terminals. Going towards city centre the buss will stop at certain places by request. For example those of you who want to go Stadium hostel, should press stop button straight after the bus has gone below the railway bridge at the city center (circa 25 minutes travel. The hostel is a few hundred meters to the right, on the northern side of the stadium).
Another option to go to the airport is line 615. The bus departs from Rautatientori that is on the right side of the railway station (once again looking from the south). The bus leaves from platform five and it will take about 35-40 minutes to reach the airport. From the airport the departure points are Terminal 2 /platform 21 and Terminal 1 / platform2. A ticket costs 4 € (= a current regional fare).
(15.8.2011: a couple of updates to an old post)
Vantaa is a nice spacious modern airport with all facilities you need as a traveller.
From this airport there is a shuttle bus to Helsinki Central Station.
When arriving here it looks like there is no airport because all you see are trees. But when hitting the ground you can see that you really have arrived at an aiport.
If you're trying to go to the airport from Helsinki centre or vice versa, and you decided you would like to call a taxi, I would suggest that you inform yourself on the rates first, otherwise one way drive will cost you (2 persons, eventhough 1 or 2 persons have the same price and from the third one the price is different) around 45 euros.
The thing is that there's also available some kind of airport taxi which should have the fix rate of about 24-27 euros for 2 persons.
If you're staying at the hotel, once you decide to make a reservation, be very careful and ask in advance which taxi are you reffering to.
If you want to save your money, I would suggest Finnair bus.
Thanks to Finnair, Helsinki's international airport is one of the busiest in Europe, and a busy hub for the Baltics and intercontinental planes. Most European capitals have direct flights to Helsinki, but you can also fly directly to cities like Beijing, Delhi, Tokyo, Toronto and New York.
The airport is clean and pleasant, but very expensive. Expect to pay in the region of 5 euros for a sandwich the size of a matchbox, and 2-3 euros for a small donut.
Getting there is relatively cheap easy, however. Although there are no trains, you can get a bus from the center to the airport for about 4 euros. There are a number of regular buses running the route, some faster than others. Check the airport's website below for details.
There's also the Finnair bus, which is an air-conditioned express bus. It's quicker, more comfortable, but about 50% more expensive. It's a good option if you haven't figured out the right bus numbers and are in a rush, or if it's a stinking hot day (no air conditioning on the regular buses).
All buses run to locations around the main train station. If you can see a Finnair bus, the regular buses leave from the stops next to it.
The easiest and probably the cheapest way to get to the city is by bus. Bus no. 615 leaves in every 10-15 mins from platform 21 in front of terminal 2. A single ticket costs 3,80 € and you can buy it from the driver. The journey to the central station takes about 35 mins. Bus stops in front of the National Theatre, just behind the central station.
There's also another bus connection (maybe even more but I'm only aware of these two) to the centre, the Finnair Airport bus, which costs 5,90€.
Apart from the more expensive Finnair bus there is the local but fast bus number 615 that run between the airport and the railway station in the city center. There are a few request stops inbetween.
If you buy your ticket at the airport from the ticket machine on the platform, then please note that you need a region ticket for Euro 3.80 (March 2008). You have to show your ticket to the driver or alternatively buy the ticket from him. The ticket is valid for 80 minutes, so that gives you a chance to use another bus in Helsinki or a tram. For me it was sufficient to get right to Eurohostel.
On the website below you can use the journey planner and you get the result to your door.
I always enjoy travelling through Helsinki-Vantaa airport. The experience is pleasant, and although it is a relatively small international airport - it has a great atmosphere and there are many shops, restaurants and cafes to experience.
There are wonderful finds such as the Moomin Shop - a Stockmann outlet to name but two.
The one thing I have found however is that sometimes, you will land from an international flight in the domestic gates. My recent trip saw us dock at the most distant gate - and an extremely lengthy walk to arrive at the international baggage hall. However, I collected my luggage and was through into the main arrivals area faster than anticpated it seems.
The finnair bus really is the best way to get to Helsinki and back from the airport. Around a 30 minute transfer time to the Railway station which is right in the heart of Helsinki. There are loads of taxis from the railway station if you are unsure of hotel location. I highly recommend in as opposed to getting a taxi direct from Vantaa.
Helsinki-Vanta International Airport is 22 kilometres (14 miles) north of the city. A bus service operates between the airport and the city centre. Ask the hotel clerk to arrange for an airport taxi. Those 8 seat taxis drive between hotels and pick up passengers. It cheaper than by a taxi and less trouble than by the bus.
Helsinki's compact centre is best explored on foot. The city is very bike-friendly, with extensive cycle lanes and easy bicycle hire. Helsinki also boasts an excellent public transport system with an efficient network of buses, trains and ferries. Finding a taxi or hiring a car is never a problem.
There is no free parking at airport. And as we need to wait our friend around 5 hours it will be too expensive to pay for parking (10min = 1euro min). So why we stopped near Info stend wich is on the way to the airport.
How to get from Helsinki Airport to Helsinki city?
One has three options
a) a taxi - fare for one person around 35 EUR at day time. (HEL a/p to Holiday Inn city centre)
b) public buses - fare: single ticket 3,60 EUR, Journey planner and timetibles. At least number 615 goes to city center
c) Finnair City bus which is an airport express bus. Fare 5,20. Clean buses, which operate every 20mins (few hours brake after midnight). The terminal in city is just in front of Holiday Inn City Centre hotel.
Finnair runs a bus service at the airport with frequent departures and a direct route to the center of town makes it just as convenient as a taxi, but at a fraction of the cost (approx $5 against $30). The buses run from 5 A.M. to midnight, every 20 minutes during most of the day, and every 30 minutes very early in the morning and late at night.
The buses depart from right outside the terminal so there is no long walk with your luggage. They stop at the Inter-Continental Hotel and the central rail station where you will find the Finnair City Air Terminal. The buses sometimes make stops along the route to drop off passengers on request. Fare is 30 markka ($5), and travel time is 25 to 40 minutes.
The rail station is right in the center of town, so a taxi ride to your hotel would be brief. Many central hotels are within walking distance: The Seurahuone-Socis Hotel is right across the street from the rail station, and the SAS Royal is about a 10 minute walk away. Cross the road and head to the main bus park in the center of the road.Continue uphill and about a further 500m and across the street you will find the modern SAS Radisson Royal built in 1991
Vantaa airport is located some 20km north of the centre of Helsinki.
During our visit in November 2005 we chose to travel from Helsinki to the airport by way of the local bus.
Bus #615 and 615T both leave frequently from platform 10 of the bus station on Rautatientori, right by the central train station. Tickets cost 3.40 Euros and are purchased from the driver as you enter the bus.
Upon arriving at the bus station you will see clear signs indicating where the buses to the airport leave from. There are even pictures of aeroplanes on the bus stops at the relevant departure points.
Buses generally leave every 20 minutes or so during the day and the journey takes 35-40 minutes.
In addition to buses 615 and 615T, I believe there were also other buses going to the airport but I don't recall the numbers (you'll see them clearly marked on the bus stop at platform 10).
On my two trips to Helsinki, I arrived by plane (Lufthansa, GermanWings). The airport is located in the suburb Vantaa, which is located about 20 km north of the city centre.
You can get to the city centre by Finnair airport buses, local buses (No. 615 and 617) or taxis of different companies. If you are lucky and have a VT friend in Helsinki, they might even collect you.