Bucharest Otopeni Airport | Useful tips for transfer passengers

Bucharest Henri Coanda Airport (OTP), also referred to as Otopeni International Airport is currently the only scheduled passenger airport serving the Romanian capital. It is located in the Otopeni neighbourhood in the north part of the city. It serves circa 12 million passengers annually, part of which are transfer passengers.

You will end up as a transfer passenger in Bucharest Otopeni if you are flying Tarom or Blue Air. Otopeni airport serves as a hub for both airlines. Tarom is the flag carrier of Romania, while Blue Air is a private low cost company, operating connecting flights. You may end up at Bucharest Otopeni in case you self-connect on Wizzair or Ryanair, which also use the airport as a base.

Domestic transfers

Located in the southern part of the country, Otopeni airport provides excellent links to the major cities around Romania. The airports of Timisoara, Oradea, Satu Mare, Cluj, Suceava and Iasi are served by domestic flights, the busiest routes being to Cluj, Timosara and Iasi. All four airlines Tarom, Blue Air, Wizzair and Ryanair operate domestic flights. The minimum connection time for domestic transfers is as follows: 1 hour for Domestic/International or International/Domestic and 45 minutes for Domestic/Domestic. Neither Tarom nor Blue Air are supposed to offer you itineraries with less connecting time.

International transfers

Bucharest Otopeni is not very popular for international transfers, as it serves routes to Europe only, with exceptions to a few flights to the Middle East. Nevertheless, Tarom offers convenient transfers to neighbouring countries Bulgaria, Moldova, Hungary as well as Ukraine and Greece. The minimum connection time for International/International transfers is 45 minutes only.

Terminal layout

The airport consists of a single terminal, which makes moving between gates easy. Nevertheless, with traffic of over 12 million passengers annually and growing, the airport gets extremely crowded during peak hours. Most connecting passengers at Otopeni need to go via security at “connections” and some queues may occur.  In case you are self-connecting and need to collect luggage, you need to take that fact into account and allow at least 3 hours between the flights to be on the safe side.

Duty free zone

There are a number of duty free outlets and eateries airside. Note that travellers report very high prices compared to other airports in Europe. Bottled water costs around EUR 2,50 and coffee starts at EUR 5,50. Local currency is not accepted at the duty free shops, only EUR, USD and card payments.

Long stopovers

In case of a long stopover, a logical decision may be to pay a visit to the city of Bucharest. Bear in mind that Romania is a EU member country, not yet member of the Shengen border union, hence you may be required to have a transit visa. Check your status in advance, or if you are already at the airport, you can always consult with an immigration officer on spot. Otopeni airport is located some 16 km north of the city center and is easily accessible by Express bus lines 780 and 783 running every 15 minutes during regular working hours. Taxis are relatively inexpensive too. You need to go to one of the taxi machines located in the arrivals hall and get a ticket showing the registration plate of the vehicle, which is going to pick you up. If you decide to undertake such a journey, bear in mind that the traffic jams are common in Bucharest and that the departure security checks may get congested during peak departure hours. Leave at least an hour travel time per each direction and show up at departures at least 2 hours before your flight. The center of Bucharest is quite impressive, resembling a bit of Paris, so spending a few hours there can be a pleasant experience. 

Airport hotels

In case of a layover, you may want to spend the night at an airport hotel. The good news is that the Otopeni district is urbanized, offering a decent choice of hotels. Hotel Otopeni, Rin Airport Hotel, Angelo are just some of the properties located 5 minutes away by car from the terminal. Most hotels offer free airport transfers, so just ask when you book. Here you can check and book all nearby hotels

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