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Old Apr 29, 12, 8:56 am   #1
 
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Madrid airport horror stories

Not sure if this is the appropriate place to post, but:
I have an American flight from the US to Madrid (arriving 9:10 am), then connecting to an Iberia flight to Rome (departing 11:50 am). There are some terrible (but old) reviews of this airport, and now I'm nervous that I won't make my connection. Has anybody had a similar itinerary? What were your experiences getting through Customs, Security, etc.? Will I have to change terminals? TIA
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Old Apr 29, 12, 9:02 am   #2
 
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madrid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynAnn View Post
Not sure if this is the appropriate place to post, but:
I have an American flight from the US to Madrid (arriving 9:10 am), then connecting to an Iberia flight to Rome (departing 11:50 am). There are some terrible (but old) reviews of this airport, and now I'm nervous that I won't make my connection. Has anybody had a similar itinerary? What were your experiences getting through Customs, Security, etc.? Will I have to change terminals? TIA
you should be able to make that if the flight to MAD gets there on time. There is a train that will take you from the international terminal to the IB departure gates. I have done that exact connection and gotten there with 45 minutes to spare. see this thread for more information. Search is your friend.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/europ...d-airport.html
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Old Apr 29, 12, 9:08 am   #3
 
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynAnn View Post
Not sure if this is the appropriate place to post, but:
I have an American flight from the US to Madrid (arriving 9:10 am), then connecting to an Iberia flight to Rome (departing 11:50 am). There are some terrible (but old) reviews of this airport, and now I'm nervous that I won't make my connection. Has anybody had a similar itinerary? What were your experiences getting through Customs, Security, etc.? Will I have to change terminals? TIA
Nothing to worry about. You will be arriving to T4S and after passport control you will be departing from T4 main terminal. You catch an automated train which takes you 3 min. If Aa does the job well you will already have your bp to Rome and baggage checked through.
You have enough time. In Europe connecting is very easy far quicker than in the US where you need 5 hours to do all the stuff.
Enjoy!
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Old Apr 29, 12, 9:10 am   #4
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wont the rome flight depart from the intl terminal?....i think you will be ok...

we recently spent time in the lounge during a 2 hour conx from the domestic to intl terminals.....
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Old Apr 29, 12, 9:10 am   #5
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Or it could just go horribly pear shaped

Annoying oneworld free week in madrid
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Old Apr 29, 12, 10:06 am   #6
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For more discussion, please follow the thread in its new home: Destinations->Europe. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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Old Apr 29, 12, 7:32 pm   #7
 
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A few years ago I forgot to pack a four inch knife in my checked baggage and took it in my carry on by accident. MAD didn't catch it and I didn't find out until I went through security at JFK.
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Old Apr 29, 12, 7:58 pm   #8
 
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Worst place to be when the season for Moroccan workers starts and you're caught in the non-EU passport control line.

Also worth noting is that at the international help desk they hire people who don't speak any English.
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Old Apr 29, 12, 8:03 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by clacko View Post
wont the rome flight depart from the intl terminal?....i think you will be ok...
You're thinking with a very American mindset!

T4 (Main) is geared up to handle any flights that are inter-schengen (i.e. imigration cleared) and also inside the customs area.

T4S (the Sattelite) is actually on two levels, upstairs is non-schengen and down stairs is schengen.

Although there are exceptions. [Non-schengen flights can be exit checked at the gate from T4 main, and the odd schengen flight goes from T4S(upstairs), etc. Lots of reasons.]

Rome is inside the Schengen area, and inside the customs area. As such it will likely go from T4(Main).

What drives things is the mix of their imigration status and customs status of the destination: e.g. parts of Spain itself are non-customs area (e.g. Canary islands), and parts of the customs area (e.g. the UK) are non-schengen.
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Old Apr 29, 12, 8:10 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesperss View Post
A few years ago I forgot to pack a four inch knife in my checked baggage and took it in my carry on by accident. MAD didn't catch it and I didn't find out until I went through security at JFK.
4 years ago I returned to MAD from BOG, parked my luggage and carry on in a locker then went to Madrid for tapas. When I came back, going through security for my LHR flight, security spotted a cockroach on the Xray machine, it was walking around inside my toiletries bag which was in my carry on.

He emptied it out, took his shoe off and killed it
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Old Apr 29, 12, 8:20 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynAnn View Post
Not sure if this is the appropriate place to post, but:
I have an American flight from the US to Madrid (arriving 9:10 am), then connecting to an Iberia flight to Rome (departing 11:50 am). There are some terrible (but old) reviews of this airport, and now I'm nervous that I won't make my connection. Has anybody had a similar itinerary? What were your experiences getting through Customs, Security, etc.? Will I have to change terminals? TIA

You don't say if you are on one ticket or two?

If this is booked as a single trip, then it doesn't matter if you misconnect, the airlines will look after you. If you are on separate tickets and are delayed, etc, causing you to fail to make the connection then strictly speaking IB have no responcibility to get you to your desitnation as you were late. They probably would be willing in practice - especially if your luggage is through checked and they can see where you are coming from inadvance, etc.

Luggage: Your luggage should be through checked all the way to Rome, even if on separate tickets, AA should be able to do this. Additionally they will probably be able to give you your boarding pass for the flight to rome, again even if on separate tickets.

Your AA flight will arrive into Terminal 4S (the sattelite part of Terminal 4 - which is the home of Iberia and where all the OneWorld airlines operate out of at MAD).

You yourself will go through a security search and imigration at Madrid, don't expect this to take too long at all. Should be quite quick.

Then head over (underground train) to Termianl 4(main) where your iberia flight to Rome will most likely depart. [Tiny chance it could be downstairs at T4(S), but rare.] Check the screens when you arrive which will tell you where to go, gates at T4 are numbered consecutivly but with a letter infront, e.g. H<number>, etc, you will see and follow signs to the letter areas initially rather than numbers.

Arriving in Rome, you will not be subject to imigration as you entered the Schengen area in Madrid. However your luggage originated outside the customs area.
I can't remember how they do it at Rome, at SOME airports, baggage that originated outside the customs area is sent to a different reclaim belt from the other stuff on the same flight, at others it is not.

Either way, when exiting in Rome you will have a choice of customs channels, unlike other people on your flight from MAD, you (if you had hold luggage) would not be entitled to exit using the Blue customs channel - again becuase the bags originated outside the customs area. [People who can use the blue channel will have 'green edges' on their bag tags.]
Blue channels are not always available, but if it is, don't use it if your bags don't have green edges on the tags.

So you have either green or red channels. Don't expect customs to be onerous procedure, you just keep walking. They will stop anyone they want to talk to, occasionally randomly but mostly customs it is based upon either suspicious behaviour - but it is also VERY intelligence led! [Sometimes you won't see a customs officers, but they can be watching, and somtimes you see them and you know they are waiting for someone/thing.]

Obviously use the red channel if you actually do have something to declare!
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Old Apr 29, 12, 8:24 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesperss View Post
A few years ago I forgot to pack a four inch knife in my checked baggage and took it in my carry on by accident. MAD didn't catch it and I didn't find out until I went through security at JFK.
How long ago, and was it really 4 inches?

The only reason I ask, is becuase I'd seen them at a few spanish airports, pull out peoples nail sisors etc quite reliably - but they are also sensible - on many occasions they will examine said item and if it complies with the rules (they will measure, etc) they will let people continue (a machette or sword will obviously not be permitted.]

This has inspired confidence, compared with other airports that reject miniscule nail clippers, but allow through sharp: belt buckles pins, shoe heels, nibbed pens, etc. All of which can be highly practical weapons.
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Old Apr 29, 12, 11:21 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-A View Post
How long ago, and was it really 4 inches?

The only reason I ask, is becuase I'd seen them at a few spanish airports, pull out peoples nail sisors etc quite reliably - but they are also sensible - on many occasions they will examine said item and if it complies with the rules (they will measure, etc) they will let people continue (a machette or sword will obviously not be permitted.]

This has inspired confidence, compared with other airports that reject miniscule nail clippers, but allow through sharp: belt buckles pins, shoe heels, nibbed pens, etc. All of which can be highly practical weapons.

2008 it was 3.5 inches.

http://www.crkt.com/M1603Z

I couldn't believe it. I almost had to throw the knife away at JFK but was allowed to check another bag in (my carry on).
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Old Apr 30, 12, 5:27 am   #14
 
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Originally Posted by JohnnyColombia View Post
4 years ago I returned to MAD from BOG, parked my luggage and carry on in a locker then went to Madrid for tapas. When I came back, going through security for my LHR flight, security spotted a cockroach on the Xray machine, it was walking around inside my toiletries bag which was in my carry on.

He emptied it out, took his shoe off and killed it
You just made my day. These Spaniards are wondering why I'm LOLing at my laptop screen.

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Old May 1, 12, 7:07 am   #15
 
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Madrid Horror Stories

"You don't say if you are on one ticket or two?"

One ticket - everything booked through AA. Also, I'm planning to do only carry-on, so hopefully that will make the process in Madrid a little faster, too.

Thanks for the detailed info!
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