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Old Dec 7, 10, 1:18 am   #1
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check in at BRU

Apologies in advance for asking a question that I could probably have answered with a search. But I am working with limited internet access, so would greatly appreciate your help.

The United website says that check in desks at BRU are open 3 hours before the flight, and that there are also check in kiosks. It goes on to say;

Please note that our flights have individual security screenings so therefore all passengers checked-in online or using our EasyCheck-In kiosks would need to present themselves to our security staff at check-in.

Does this mean that even if I am able to check in at the kiosk I won,t be able to go through security till 3 hours before flight departure ? I am specifically interested in UA973 to ORD.

Thanks very much .
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Old Dec 7, 10, 1:48 am   #2
  
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Originally Posted by thebobmc View Post
Apologies in advance for asking a question that I could probably have answered with a search. But I am working with limited internet access, so would greatly appreciate your help.

The United website says that check in desks at BRU are open 3 hours before the flight, and that there are also check in kiosks. It goes on to say;

Please note that our flights have individual security screenings so therefore all passengers checked-in online or using our EasyCheck-In kiosks would need to present themselves to our security staff at check-in.

Does this mean that even if I am able to check in at the kiosk I won,t be able to go through security till 3 hours before flight departure ? I am specifically interested in UA973 to ORD.

Thanks very much .
IME the UA security staff operate at the gate. They ask lots of questions and screen you if you fit some criteria. If you have been through the routine at checkin landside I think you get a pass. But if you've printed out your boarding pass or are connecting they give you the third degree. The security screeners at BRU don't care about any of this. If you have a boarding pass you're going through. UA has a separate screening process (checking documents, basically, no metal detector or xray or anything, unlike at Munich).
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Old Dec 7, 10, 2:09 am   #3
  
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BRU security

BRU security is like AMS. You go through the initial screening and passport control then UA departs from A gates in the non-schengen area and there's another screening for that by the gate. It's very similar to AMS with the multiple screenings for US/Israel departing flights.

If you're flying in C of F you can get a fast-lane sticker on your bp from checkin and you can go through the fast lane. IME that's pretty quick.
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Old Dec 7, 10, 4:29 am   #4
  
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thy also have a new check in area, far to the right of the main area,

at least thats where it was in October , it went real quick.....

Rally
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Old Dec 7, 10, 1:53 pm   #5
  
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Just came back from there. I used the machine at the check in counter (avoided teh really long line). Went through security. Then at the gate (or if you arrive at the gate more than an hour early the transfer desk) they do some supplemental screening questions (have your bags been in your possession . . . ). Then you get a sticker on your passport and you're done.

None of it is an issue. If you arrive 3+ hours early you can sit around inside security until flight time.
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Old Dec 7, 10, 3:30 pm   #6
  
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BRU is a piece of cake...security wise...and you can sit inside security even if you are quite early!...I wish more airports were this easy!
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Old Apr 17, 11, 1:08 am   #7
  
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UA973 BRU-IAD- how early to check in?

Anyone have experience with the 11am BRU-IAD UA#973? I'm 1P and will be flying Monday, July 25th. Trying to figure out how early I need to be there. Yes, will be checking baggage. Looks like no fast-track security line unless flying in C or above (or GS). What is check-in like there? I assume UA has an elite check-in line, and if it's anything like CDG, that would save a lot of time.

Need to know so I can figure out if I should be taking the Thalys from Paris to a hotel near Brussel-Midi and then hop over to the airport in the morning, or take the dreadfully-early (for me) 6:25am flight to get there at 8:24am.

Never flown through BRU before, so don't know what to expect. Unless BRU is a breeze, I'm thinking I'll feel better taking the prior night's 9:01pm train to Brussel-Midi, spend the night at the hotel there (Ibis) and then an 8am or so train to the airport.

If I screw up and miss the flight somehow, would UA ship me out to FRA and then return on the afternoon flight? Now wishing I'd chosen the 1pm BRU-IAD flight.

Thanks-
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Old Apr 17, 11, 6:22 am   #8
  
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I'm guessing there are plenty of 973 regulars on this board who will chime in, but fwiw in the meantime, I've been to the Brussels airport several times recently, but took 973 only once and it was on a Saturday. Flight was packed to the gills with folks transiting from Senegal, and with large quantities of luggage well in excess of carry-on limits on quantity and size. Boarding and on-line luggage stowage were a real pain. Monday crowd may be different.

That said, everything leading up to boarding was a breeze, as were my other (non-973) experiences at the airport. The airport reminded me of a mini version of Schiphol in AMS in terms of layout of ticket counters. It was a bit disorienting at first and took me a couple of minutes to locate the correct ticket counter for UA -- if I'm not mistaken, the check-in for United flights was at the Brussels Air counter (sorry for lack of precision, my trips are running together in my mind). But there were virtually no lines to check in on any day I was there, and the lines that existed moved quickly. Security also moved very quickly.

I think that either transport plan you outline is fine -- in fact they will both get you there at approximately the same time. If it were me I'd do the train-hotel option, because I too hate getting up early in the am. And it's worth strolling around to see and have a beer on the Grand Plaz. I was cautioned by several people that the area around the train station, as in many parts of the world, attracts a decent share of pickpockets and muggers, so do be vigilant. But there is plenty of activity and lots of nice hotels nearby. Enjoy!
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Old Apr 17, 11, 10:19 am   #9
  
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I've flown out of Brussels a few times since last summer, but usually on the Chicago flight at about the same time. Check in was OK but there have been pretty long security lines if you don't have access to the fast track line (which I figured out I was eligible for the last two time, but wasn't aware of the first of the 3 trips). So if you are not eligible (business class?), than I would make sure that I left a solid 30 (maybe even 45) min to get through security.
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Old Apr 17, 11, 10:34 am   #10
  
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1. If you will be flying in from Paris and you are able to have your bags transferred to UA without collecting them this is a reasonable option.
You will have to do a walk from the A terminal to the B terminal which can take 10min (some people complain about this) and you will have to go trough security which will be probably very busy as July is the holiday month in Belgium. And afterwards you will need to present yourself at a UA counter for an additional check (do this before you go to the lounge, which is located on 1 floor higher, when you pass security 100m further there is a white stair this will guide you to the lounge).

2. If you take the train and just spend the night at the hotel near the train station I would opt to take the same evening a train to the airport and stay at a hotel near the airport. (as mentioned before the train station is not a very good neighberhood and certainly not if you have a obvious laptob bag with you).

3. As for the UA counter, you will have access to the priority check in lane. I think check-in starts around 7 AM Securty fast lane is for first, business class and GS members only. Boarding is done strictly and timely so 50min in advance of departure time.

All in all BRU is a relaxed airport, but as you are traveling on a holiday month expect that economy class of your plane will be full (C and F probably empty) and that security lanes may be longer than usual (also do not forget in BRU all international traffic leaver between 9AM and 12PM).

If you need additional info let me know

Last edited by besunman; Apr 17, 11 at 10:47 am
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Old Apr 17, 11, 11:16 am   #11
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by besunman View Post
1. If you will be flying in from Paris and you are able to have your bags transferred to UA without collecting them this is a reasonable option.
You will have to do a walk from the A terminal to the B terminal which can take 10min (some people complain about this) and you will have to go trough security which will be probably very busy as July is the holiday month in Belgium. And afterwards you will need to present yourself at a UA counter for an additional check (do this before you go to the lounge, which is located on 1 floor higher, when you pass security 100m further there is a white stair this will guide you to the lounge).

2. If you take the train and just spend the night at the hotel near the train station I would opt to take the same evening a train to the airport and stay at a hotel near the airport. (as mentioned before the train station is not a very good neighberhood and certainly not if you have a obvious laptob bag with you).

3. As for the UA counter, you will have access to the priority check in lane. I think check-in starts around 7 AM Securty fast lane is for first, business class and GS members only. Boarding is done strictly and timely so 50min in advance of departure time.

All in all BRU is a relaxed airport, but as you are traveling on a holiday month expect that economy class of your plane will be full (C and F probably empty) and that security lanes may be longer than usual (also do not forget in BRU all international traffic leaver between 9AM and 12PM).

If you need additional info let me know
The most-important thing, which I now know, is that BRU bears no similarity to either CDG or LHR- airports that are kinda fun once you know you're way around, but a potential nightmare for the first-timer.

My son and I will be taking the train from Grenoble into Paris (we're following the Tour de France, with our bikes, of course!) and the plan had been to spend an evening in Paris either Saturday or Sunday, but right now it looks like we're better off spending Saturday night in Grenoble (so we can get a shower after a long day on bikes) and take one of the morning trains into Paris. We'd then head with our luggage to Paris Nord, where I understand there is a luggage facility, ditch the bags, watch the 'Tour finish, then take the 9pm train to Brussel.

From what you're saying, we'd be better off staying at an airport hotel? Are there hotels more-or-less directly connected to the airport? The original plan had been to stay at the Ibis Midi which is directly across from the train station, which I figured would be a relatively-safe situation.

Thanks, appreciate all the help, and thanks to the mod for moving this to the right place. I'm not quite sure of the etiquette in terms of resurrecting old threads.
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Old Apr 17, 11, 12:46 pm   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
From what you're saying, we'd be better off staying at an airport hotel? Are there hotels more-or-less directly connected to the airport? The original plan had been to stay at the Ibis Midi which is directly across from the train station, which I figured would be a relatively-safe situation.
I stayed at the Sheraton at the airport last week when my AA flight went mechanical. Similar to the Sheraton at FRA, you just walk outside and it's right there. Not cheap, though, as I checked for my stay and the lowest published rate was 209 euros.

I stayed across from Gare du Nord at the Hilton on an award stay my last night in the city. Before that I stayed at the adjoining Crowne Plaza on a 70 euro weekend rate. There's also a Sheraton behind both of these. If your stay is on a weekend you might look at any of these for cheap rates. You're just 2 short blocks to the train station and as little as 12 mins travel time to the airport.
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Old Apr 17, 11, 12:50 pm   #13
  
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Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
The most-important thing, which I now know, is that BRU bears no similarity to either CDG or LHR- airports that are kinda fun once you know you're way around, but a potential nightmare for the first-timer.

My son and I will be taking the train from Grenoble into Paris (we're following the Tour de France, with our bikes, of course!) and the plan had been to spend an evening in Paris either Saturday or Sunday, but right now it looks like we're better off spending Saturday night in Grenoble (so we can get a shower after a long day on bikes) and take one of the morning trains into Paris. We'd then head with our luggage to Paris Nord, where I understand there is a luggage facility, ditch the bags, watch the 'Tour finish, then take the 9pm train to Brussel.

From what you're saying, we'd be better off staying at an airport hotel? Are there hotels more-or-less directly connected to the airport? The original plan had been to stay at the Ibis Midi which is directly across from the train station, which I figured would be a relatively-safe situation.

Thanks, appreciate all the help, and thanks to the mod for moving this to the right place. I'm not quite sure of the etiquette in terms of resurrecting old threads.
There is a nice Hotel across the street from baggage claim or check-in area (i can't remember which). I am not sure the name, but I was put up there overnight after an IRROP. You have to walk maybe 50 yards.

I transfer through Brussels and it is a nightmare going through security between 8-11am or so. The priority line works faster, but 1Ks cant even use it, only C/F pax can. Expect at least 45 -75 minutes during the morning rush.

If you are transferring in Brussels and arrive at B gates and need to go to B/T gates, then it is best to use the new security check point underground in the middle of the B arrival terminal. (The normal security check point is on the B departures level).

Make sure to buy lots of Neuhaus chocolate! It is by far the best I have ever had and is a good price at the duty free!
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Old Apr 17, 11, 1:00 pm   #14
  
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I would recommend to take the train from Paris, stay at a hotel near one of the train stations and then take the early-morning train to the Airport. The area around Midi is a bit dirty (maybe a bit more than the average amount of dirt in the city), but nothing too bad. I've stayed at the Ibis near the train station and it was perfectly fine. Be sure you get your tickets to the airport the day before so that you don't have to wait in line in the morning.

If you were to go with the flight+flight, the transfer is a pain. A lot of walking (much more than any of the combined transfers between train-hotel or train-train train-plane) and lots of escalators and/or stairs. If you can't thru-check luggage, then this will be a problem, because luggage can take up to an hour to show up and priority tags are not always enforced.

Security in the international terminal can take 15-20 mins if the lines are long. The lounge has some breakfast baked goodies and good coffee so you can save some time on that.
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Old Apr 17, 11, 1:38 pm   #15
  
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Originally Posted by BigBossman View Post
Make sure to buy lots of Neuhaus chocolate! It is by far the best I have ever had and is a good price at the duty free!
+1

I don't have enough knowledge to recommend a hotel, but I do enjoy walking around Brussels to find dinner and after dinner Beer. Beer in Belgium is like wine in California...many varieties and all of it better than Beer in the US. I've stayed at the Airport hotel and at the Marriot in the middle of town....both were fine but nothing special.
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