Munich Fun

Old Dec 18, 19, 5:56 am
  #1  
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Smile Munich Fun

This is a bit of a rant, but also a heads up if traveling from Munich. This past weekend, we were departing from Munich, and Delta has a 3 hour recommended arrival prior to departure as most international destinations have. We arrived 3.5 hours prior to the 11am departure.

The Delta check in line moved well, not a problem at all, then we headed for the departing passport control. It is hard to describe the chaos. Only two passport officials manning the booths,(there is space for at least 6 passport officials) and there were multiple widebody scheduled departures to various places. Many passengers were trying to cut lines because they were missing their flights, causing the line to back up even further, and once you were able to exit the passport check, another backup for individual security. When we finally made it to our mobile "bus gate", the flight was boarding. Overheard a passenger on our flight comment to gate agent about the passport control situation, and they indicated that this has been a common occurence.

We have been through Munich several times in the past, so I was a little familiar with the airport, so while we standing in the never ending or moving passport line, I checked out other possible passport control lines in other areas of the terminal to see if we could bypass the "cluster". They were all bad. Munich gets accolades on what a fine airport it is. The accolades must be for terminal 2, not terminal 1 which Delta uses.

So in summary, arrived on the S Bahn at 0737, arrived at our mobile boarding gate at 1015, and immediately boarded the bus to be shuttled to our plane. Did nothing but stand in lines the entire time. So, my advice, based on this recent experience, arrive at least 3 hours as recommended, 4 hours if you want coffee.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 6:16 am
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Madness. And as you point out, MUC is always on the "best airports" list. (I've never been there so can't comment)
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Old Dec 18, 19, 7:49 am
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What a drag. I've come to expect that type of experience at CDG 2E, but not in MUC (or anywhere else in Germany, for that matter). The frustrating part about exit passport control at EU airports is what a tossup it can be - you can arrive 3 hours early and be at the gate 20 mins later, or 3 hours early and still barely make your flight. TSA has its problems no doubt, but even on the worst of days, no airport in the US has 2 hour TSA lines (barring some unusual exception).

At least AMS has the automated gates that US passports can use, so even if it's busy, it takes 15-20 mins, tops.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 7:55 am
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FRA also can have extremely long lines for both arrival and exit passport control.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by hsvflyer View Post
This is a bit of a rant, but also a heads up if traveling from Munich. This past weekend, we were departing from Munich, and Delta has a 3 hour recommended arrival prior to departure as most international destinations have. We arrived 3.5 hours prior to the 11am departure.

The Delta check in line moved well, not a problem at all, then we headed for the departing passport control. It is hard to describe the chaos. Only two passport officials manning the booths,(there is space for at least 6 passport officials) and there were multiple widebody scheduled departures to various places. Many passengers were trying to cut lines because they were missing their flights, causing the line to back up even further, and once you were able to exit the passport check, another backup for individual security. When we finally made it to our mobile "bus gate", the flight was boarding. Overheard a passenger on our flight comment to gate agent about the passport control situation, and they indicated that this has been a common occurence.

We have been through Munich several times in the past, so I was a little familiar with the airport, so while we standing in the never ending or moving passport line, I checked out other possible passport control lines in other areas of the terminal to see if we could bypass the "cluster". They were all bad. Munich gets accolades on what a fine airport it is. The accolades must be for terminal 2, not terminal 1 which Delta uses.

So in summary, arrived on the S Bahn at 0737, arrived at our mobile boarding gate at 1015, and immediately boarded the bus to be shuttled to our plane. Did nothing but stand in lines the entire time. So, my advice, based on this recent experience, arrive at least 3 hours as recommended, 4 hours if you want coffee.
I haven't left from Munich in several years, but don't remember it being anything like that. Just to be clear, were you in the line for foreign passport holders? How did the EU citizens line look?
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Old Dec 18, 19, 8:31 am
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MUC is normally a good airport for transfers, but not for starting an itinerary.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 8:38 am
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Munich T1 and T2 are essentially two different airports from a PaxEx standpoint.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 9:45 am
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If you flew out Sunday, I was on the same flight, and endured the same security/passport chaos. Then, on top of everything, after the plane had departed the gate, we had to return because one of the passengers had to be removed because of an apparent heart attack. And then another couple of passengers (in economy) were incensed that they did get their own private overhead bin for them to store medical devices to which they might need immediate access. Kudos to the FAs, who were very professional throughout.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by ProfRB View Post
If you flew out Sunday, I was on the same flight, and endured the same security/passport chaos. Then, on top of everything, after the plane had departed the gate, we had to return because one of the passengers had to be removed because of an apparent heart attack. And then another couple of passengers (in economy) were incensed that they did get their own private overhead bin for them to store medical devices to which they might need immediate access. Kudos to the FAs, who were very professional throughout.
We were on the flight Saturday. Sorry you had to endure the same chaos. Apparently this has been the norm for awhile.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by Billy Mumphrey View Post
I haven't left from Munich in several years, but don't remember it being anything like that. Just to be clear, were you in the line for foreign passport holders? How did the EU citizens line look?
Actually the EU citizens line, and all others were all using the same line, and same 2 customs officers. To add insult to injury, there was a "fast track" line, that was just merged into the single line everyone else was using. The "line monitor" acted as a traffic cop stopping the main line on occasion, to let fast track in maybe two or three at a time. Things in Germany generally work great. Not this.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 10:43 am
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MUC T1 is a dump and T2's unloved step sibling. It seems the whole passport control and security was an after thought. I used to be a regular to T1 for 18 months, flew BA, EK, WY and U2.

Flew LH a few times and that was a breeze at T2.

So glad when that project was completed and didn't have to do weekly commute.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 11:13 am
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While not really a delay, we had an odd experience in MUC in January, 2019, while on a MUC-ATL-DCA itinerary. We checked in at the Sky Priority lane at the Delta counter, which had an entrance to airside almost immediately to its left. The agent (who was very nice and very efficient) instructed us to use the fast track lane through that particular entrance. The elevator to the airport lounge that Delta uses (we were using RUCs) is not far beyond the security checkpoint there. However, when we tried to use the lane, a man in uniform (either police or airport security) refused to let us use that entrance, and made us use the entrance closest to the Delta bus gate, which was quite a distance away (8-10 minute walk). We got through EU passport control and security fairly quickly, but then we had to walk back to the elevator for the lounge another 8-10 minutes. Fortunately, the lounge there was quite nice and worth a visit.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 11:17 am
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For future reference, you can use a different line for BP/passport/security control. If somebody tells you that your flight is departing from another concourse, just tell them you're meeting somebody in a lounge or cafe.

You can move relatively freely between concourses airside. (There's even an airside connection between T1 and T2 via bus, although I wouldn't recommend entering via the other terminal building.)

You may go to the Schengen area with a Non-Schengen departure and vice-versa. This can save considerable time, as one entry point might be crazy busy and another virtually deserted.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by hsvflyer View Post
Actually the EU citizens line, and all others were all using the same line, and same 2 customs officers. To add insult to injury, there was a "fast track" line, that was just merged into the single line everyone else was using. The "line monitor" acted as a traffic cop stopping the main line on occasion, to let fast track in maybe two or three at a time. Things in Germany generally work great. Not this.

Don't have much experience at MUC but at FRA EasyPass has made clearing immigration quick. Although at certain times the lines at the egates can be longer than the normal lines.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 7:10 pm
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Situation was the same last August. We arrived a bit over 2.5 hours prior to departure, took about 5 minutes to check our bags, and were sent into the "Priority Line" to clear passport control. Upon clearing security, we went directly to the gate at a rapid walk and arrived at the time they announced the last call for boarding. Four other people showed up after us (all made the flight).

All passport control lines were the same. Actually, the gate agent said we were going to the shortest and fastest one. No one cleared in less than one hour, many reported being in line in excess of an hour and 45 minutes.

I recommend arriving at least four hours before departure, assuming one is either traveling without checked bags or the gate is open to check them that early.
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