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Old 08-15-2010, 08:35 PM
 
271 posts, read 1,486,648 times
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Hey everyone. I've never flown to Europe before. This October will be my very first trip there. I'm in the process of booking my flight from Texas to Rome. I need some advice from anyone who has had experience with transatlantic flights.

I'm currently looking at a Lufthansa flight from Texas to Rome with a layover in Frankfurt. My first flight arrives in Frankfurt at 9:15 in the morning. My connecting flight to Rome departs at 10:45. This means that I would have a 90-minute layover in Frankfurt.

I understand that I will have to go through Customs when I land in Frankfurt.

Is a 90-minute layover in Frankfurt enough time to deplane and get through Customs, passport control, and other security screenings? Is there a chance in this case that I might miss my connecting flight to Rome?

Should I just stick to a Rome-bound flight that has a layover within the US?

What would be the safest and less risky option for me? What do you guys think I should do?
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:30 PM
 
Location: San Diego
5,027 posts, read 13,408,296 times
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That's more than enough time. I always have connections in Europe and have flown through London, Amsterdam, Prague, Frankfurt, Paris, and many others. My connections are usually around 1.5 hours long and I've yet to miss a flight. I also find that we arrive early most of the time as well, so it makes the connection time a bit longer. Today, I had a 45 minute layover in Atlanta, from my trip to Costa Rica. We still made our connecting flight, even with passport control and re-screening.
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Mission Viejo, CA
2,498 posts, read 10,286,390 times
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You will not go through customs when you arrive in Frankfurt. European airports have international and domestic flights separate, unlike the USA. When you arrive in Frankfurt you follow the signs to "International Connections" rather than "Customs" or "Domestic Connections." You will go through security one more time before you re-enter the main international terminal area, but not customs. Make sure in Texas the agent gets you a boarding pass for BOTH flights so that you can show the security officers at the international security connection in Frankfurt that you do indeed have an international flight to connect to.

European countries do not want you to go through customs if you are just connecting through their airport. This is a result of European nations being much smaller and it makes connections much more simple. A resident flying from Italy to France through Germany does not need to go through customs then just to make a connection. The USA has VERY few people making international-international connections so our infrastructure is set up to have people go through customs whenever they arrive on an international flight.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:24 PM
 
271 posts, read 1,486,648 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhome View Post
You will not go through customs when you arrive in Frankfurt. European airports have international and domestic flights separate, unlike the USA. When you arrive in Frankfurt you follow the signs to "International Connections" rather than "Customs" or "Domestic Connections." You will go through security one more time before you re-enter the main international terminal area, but not customs. Make sure in Texas the agent gets you a boarding pass for BOTH flights so that you can show the security officers at the international security connection in Frankfurt that you do indeed have an international flight to connect to.

European countries do not want you to go through customs if you are just connecting through their airport. This is a result of European nations being much smaller and it makes connections much more simple. A resident flying from Italy to France through Germany does not need to go through customs then just to make a connection. The USA has VERY few people making international-international connections so our infrastructure is set up to have people go through customs whenever they arrive on an international flight.
I didn't know about that. You're the first person to tell me that.

So I actually will NOT have to deal with Customs in Frankfurt before getting to my connecting flight for Rome? Even if I'm traveling from the US?

I only need to go through another security checkpoint? And passport control?

If that's true- it would everything a lot more convenient for me.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:27 PM
 
Location: NH Lakes Region
351 posts, read 1,417,408 times
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"missionhome" is correct that you don't have to worry about customs and such when transiting Frankfurt, and as long as you get a boarding pass for both legs of your trip, you can just go through Passport Control and a security screening. (If you don't get both boarding passes, you can get stuck at a 'transfer desk", and those can take time.) Seriously, as long as you are not the last person getting off your flight, 90 minutes should be plenty of time for your transfer. Check for your gate number and head that direction - you should be good to go. Italian Customs is not quite like the States - you have a Red and Green lane.. if you have nothing to declare, just go out through the Green lane and you're home free. There is no one there to check any documentation or anything like there is in the States.

When you arrive in Rome (if you're arriving in Fiumicino - FCO) and follow the signs to baggage claim, I believe there is one point where you make a split... one direction for flights on Alitalia and a different direction for all other carriers... you can pretty much follow the crowds. Just before you enter the huge room with all the baggage carousels, there's a big board with the flights and which carousel your flight's bags will come in on. Just keep an eye on the monitor above the carousel to make sure they haven't decided to make a change... do NOT panic if 1/2 hour goes by and you haven't seen anyone's bags start to flow on the carousel... I think Rome is one of the slowest airports for this I have ever seen. You just might get lucky, though!!!

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:19 PM
 
271 posts, read 1,486,648 times
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Okay- I talked to one of my co-workers today. He had flown from Amsterdam to Dallas, Texas, with a layover in Madrid. In his case, he had to go through Customs during his layover in Madrid.

He said that I may have to go through Customs in Frankfurt, but not in Rome. He said that this will be because Frankfurt will be my first stop in the EU, which comprises of both Germany and Italy.

He also told me that a flight from Germany to Italy is considered a "domestic flight".

Is what my co-worker saying true?

Last edited by Jericho-79; 08-16-2010 at 07:28 PM..
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pennsylvania / Dull Germany
2,214 posts, read 2,631,159 times
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Quote:
He also told me that a flight from Germany to Italy is considered a "domestic flight".

Is what my co-worker saying true?
In general, yes.
European Airports are commonly divided in "Schengen" and "Non-Schengen" areas. You will have to deal with passpot control in the moment you want to go from "Non-Schengen" (Any country not in the Schengen agreement) to "Schengen" (EU) part of the airport. In your case, this would be FRA.

Once you entered the Schengen area, you do not need not to show your passport anymore, as there are no border controls inside the European Union. As far as I know, the baggage will automatically be delivered to the final destination, if it is the same airline (Lufthansa), and you do not have to pick it up.

Customs is another thing. There is no procedure as in the USA with all passengers beeing interviewed or inspected at the entry-airport, you just have to go through the green exit at the final destination airport (in your case FCO) if you have nothing to declare. If you have to declare anything, you must choose the red exit. Normally, you can go through the green exit without any further inspection.

In most cases, 90 minutes should be enough for a transfer, the official minium transfer time is 45 or 60 minutes, which is very short in my opinion.
In case you have booked both flights within one ticket, Lufthansa (or whatever your airline might be) is in a way reliable for your connection, and if you miss your connection flight, they will give you another flight to FCO (afaik 5 or 6 daily flights on this route).
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:06 PM
 
Location: NH Lakes Region
351 posts, read 1,417,408 times
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If you are still not sure about the procedure, call the airline and get the scoop.

I'm not sure why someone would leave Amsterdam and not go through customs at his point of departure. He actually had to retrieve his checked bags, have them inspected or whatever, and then re-check them in Madrid? That is what I would consider really going through Customs... (Maybe there is some issue with his origination point being Amsterdam????)

I recently flew from Beijing to Frankfurt to Rome. I checked my bags through from Beijing to Rome, went through security and passport control when I hit Frankfurt, and then flew "domestic" to Rome, where I finally picked up my checked bags. I went through Customs upon arrival in Rome. I'm not sure how things would be that different from the States. Typically, you go through Customs when you depart your originating country and when you arrive at the first port of entry into your destination country itself...

Again, maybe a call to a travel agent or the airline will put your mind at ease, but I still think 90 minutes is plenty of time for a layover...
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:55 PM
 
271 posts, read 1,486,648 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snafu View Post
I recently flew from Beijing to Frankfurt to Rome. I checked my bags through from Beijing to Rome, went through security and passport control when I hit Frankfurt, and then flew "domestic" to Rome, where I finally picked up my checked bags. I went through Customs upon arrival in Rome. I'm not sure how things would be that different from the States. Typically, you go through Customs when you depart your originating country and when you arrive at the first port of entry into your destination country itself...
What you're saying makes a lot of sense.

Did you go through Customs at the Beijing Airport before departing Beijing?

When I flew back home to Dallas from Toronto, I had to go through Customs at the Toronto Airport. (I also had to go through Customs at the Toronto Airport when I landed in Toronto in the first place.) I had originally thought that I'd have to go through Customs when I got back to DFW.
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Old 08-18-2010, 05:42 AM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,123 posts, read 17,125,688 times
Reputation: 9974
You will clear US customs in Canada, US Customs has a station in many canada airprorts, to you can come into the US as a domestic FLight. They do that so it open many more US airport to flight to canada, that would not be able to support a customs for 2/few flights a day. By moving it into canada, they have enought people to aford to run custom there. (Going into canada you would clear Canadian customs).
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