Problems in MAD?

Old May 10, 18, 4:27 am
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Problems in MAD?

Hi all - I’m flying back from MAD later and just received a text from BA to say please allow extra time to arrive at airport due to ‘extended processing times’ - is this normal and/or precautionary or should I be expecting a nightmare ? Is there a priority lane available for BA customers ?

Looking forward to trying the new Iberia lounge.
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Old May 10, 18, 4:32 am
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They've been sending that text for a few months to my knowledge. Both of my return flights from Mad this year were greeted with the same message.

On both days, security and immigration queues were 5-10 mins max.
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Old May 10, 18, 4:39 am
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There is a Fast Track area at MAD, as well as a Parent + Child area - which I thought was excellent!

M
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Old May 10, 18, 5:13 am
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Flew out of MAD last week on the BA 777 rotation, also received this message but did not see any problems at immigration.

I guess this could be the case as non-schengen flights are all handled at T4S and you might be unlucky and get caught with the passengers for a soon departing A380 ?

There is a separate fast track security point in the main T4 terminal you will first use before taking the train to T4S and which is always very quick...
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Old May 10, 18, 5:13 am
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Originally Posted by StormDog View Post
They've been sending that text for a few months to my knowledge. Both of my return flights from Mad this year were greeted with the same message.

On both days, security and immigration queues were 5-10 mins max.
Yeah no idea why they have been saying this as you say for quite a while now. Maybe its because people get a bit confused if they are travelling from T4S at MAD and that has I have witnessed caused a bit of confusion for pax not used to Barajas Airport.
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Old May 10, 18, 5:44 am
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We has the same message a few weeks ago. The terminal wasn't obviously over busy and the Fast Track experience was outstandingly fast. So probably not much to worry about
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Old May 10, 18, 5:53 am
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Passed through MAD on Tuesday and it was its normal efficient self.

Originally Posted by canopus View Post
I guess this could be the case as non-schengen flights are all handled at T4S and you might be unlucky and get caught with the passengers for a soon departing A380 ?
Be careful Iberia flights (except A330/340) normally operate at the far end of T4.
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Old May 10, 18, 6:16 am
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I guess it's be cause the immigration control at T4S can be stunningly slow if the passport checkers are feeling particularly militant on any given day.

The last time I passed through there were literrally blood, sweat and tears with people trying to get through the check to get to their gates.
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Old May 10, 18, 6:41 am
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It's the passport control extra checks at T4S after you arrive on the train that is the issue. last few times I've been through it's been 5 mins tops. One time was nearer 20-30 so they are not being wholly inappropriate in warning you. But I think that was just bad luck - maybe a school holidays thing, I forget. There is no Fast Track for this part although I agree that the Fast Track for security works pretty well (it's past the regular one and sort of hidden behind some toilets so keep looking out for the signs).

And the T4S lounge is lovely. If you're a spotter. Less so if you're a 'lounge foodie' (unless you like limp sandwiches)
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Old May 10, 18, 7:24 am
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Just been to Madrid and back on the BA/Iberia A340 via T4S. The signage is poor everywhere on arrival at the main part of T4 but that is where you go through security (much like T5 at LHR).

Going by the departure boards. which just said 'from satellite', we went straight over to T4S on the train. As you come up the escalators you have to choose between the H gates one way and the S gates the other. Since the boards did not yet specify the gate we were then somewhat stuck. The agent at the split point said we had to go where the dep boards indicated and when we pointed out they didn't she was unable to help further. We eventually managed to extract from her that the lounge was in the S gate section, and there was also clearly a passport control point that way (assuming non-shengen etc) so we went that way.

Once in the lounge, the boards updated to say it would be from an H gate - panic! We asked whether we could get from the lounge to the H gates and yes, apparently you can via a special gate and a bus. When she realised we were on the A340, she said that it was a mistake as the 340 always went from S gates - probably S16. Sure enough, the boards eventually changed to S16. Had we waited, say in the T4 Dali lounge, for the boards to show the gate, we would have ended up stuck in the wrong gate section in T4S and without the decent lounge. Arriving early at the airport would not have solved any of that.

The lounge is very nice, with a good selection of self service food at both ends, decent showers and a small bar at the south end. The signs indicated a 'dine' option so we walked the length of the lounge to find the area only to find that the sign at the dining room itself said open from 21:30 - it would have been helpful for the sign at the entrance to point that out.
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Old May 10, 18, 9:20 am
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That's pretty unlucky. I reckon I have done something like 40 trips in the past few years to MAD and I have never seen an incorrect gate announcement.

Like most airports, this one works best on routine and therefore the gates seem not to change too much. of course that info is only any help to a frequent user of the airport ;-)
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Old May 10, 18, 9:41 am
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I have returned on the IB A340 several times and it has always shown “H” fares when I have arrived at the airport. I no longer check with the lounge when entering and have always used the “S” gates. I guess they default to the H gates in case the A340/330 is subbed by a A320 series. If that happened I guess they would run a bus to it from T4S.
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Old May 10, 18, 10:09 am
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That sounds like an odd way of running ops. Surely the optimal procedure is to assume a gate suitable for the aircraft type. Which I guess for an A320 is most of them and for an A340 is somewhat fewer possible gates.
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Old May 10, 18, 8:41 pm
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Immigration at T4S especially around 1030-11 can be a madhouse. It's gotten better but that's the peak time for the bank for the US flights and you also have people showing up for the EK380 at that point.

Though they seem to have gotten a good handle on things, particularly for EU citizens.
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Old May 10, 18, 11:16 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnite View Post
Just been to Madrid and back on the BA/Iberia A340 via T4S. The signage is poor everywhere on arrival at the main part of T4 but that is where you go through security (much like T5 at LHR).

Going by the departure boards. which just said 'from satellite', we went straight over to T4S on the train. As you come up the escalators you have to choose between the H gates one way and the S gates the other. Since the boards did not yet specify the gate we were then somewhat stuck. The agent at the split point said we had to go where the dep boards indicated and when we pointed out they didn't she was unable to help further. We eventually managed to extract from her that the lounge was in the S gate section, and there was also clearly a passport control point that way (assuming non-shengen etc) so we went that way.

Once in the lounge, the boards updated to say it would be from an H gate - panic! We asked whether we could get from the lounge to the H gates and yes, apparently you can via a special gate and a bus. When she realised we were on the A340, she said that it was a mistake as the 340 always went from S gates - probably S16. Sure enough, the boards eventually changed to S16. Had we waited, say in the T4 Dali lounge, for the boards to show the gate, we would have ended up stuck in the wrong gate section in T4S and without the decent lounge. Arriving early at the airport would not have solved any of that.
The screens in the lounge are different than the screens in the main terminal, they seem to be based on IB data feed rather than Aena. The A330/A340 always shows "H" in the lounge for some reason, until the gate is confirmed. However, I've always found the screens in the main terminal to be correct for this flight, showing a green "S" under gate (used to be RSU) and "Satellite Terminal".
The gates you saw after the train, before immigration, are M gates, which are Schengen gates in T4S (used for aircraft arriving from a Schengen destination and departing to a non-Schengen destination, or vice versa). Are you sure that the screens at the top (on the left) of the escalators that take you from the train to the immigration hall did not say "S"? I have never seen a blank gate section assignment for a flight in MAD, even 12 hours out.
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