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Connecting Flight Madrid to Santiago

Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: July 2021, April 2023, May 2024
Friends,
I did a search on this site and didn't come up with an answer to my question. I'm changing planes in Madrid (from the US) and flying to Santiago dC. Does one go through customs/immigration on the way to a connecting flight in Madrid or would that happen in Santiago? I'm assuming my bags continue on to Santiago and I don't need to recheck them. I'm landing Terminal T4 Sand flying to Santiago from Terminal T4S. Any guidance much appreciated.
 
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Friends,
I did a search on this site and didn't come up with an answer to my question. I'm changing planes in Madrid (from the US) and flying to Santiago dC. Does one go through customs/immigration on the way to a connecting flight in Madrid or would that happen in Santiago? I'm assuming my bags continue on to Santiago and I don't need to recheck them. I'm landing Terminal 4 and flying to Santiago from Terminal 4S. Any guidance much appreciated.

Which airline(s) are you flying?

No matter which terminal you land in, you will go through immigration upon arrival in Spain. You will also have to go through security, but how that happens will depend on which airlines are involved. If you have to change terminals, you will have to go through the main security lines. Easiest scenario will be that you are arriving in T4S on Iberia or an Iberia partner, in which case you go through Immigration right there and then through security when you go from T4S to your connection gate. It does not require going out to the main check-in, thankfully. There is a separate security area for those who are making connections.

If you’re not on Iberia or a partner, you’ll be over in a different terminal, and what you will have to do will depend on where your connecting airline is.

But you do not pick up your luggage until your final destination. This is the exact opposite than what we have to do in the US (where we pick up and re-check at the first port of entry). Years and years ago, I missed a connection to Portugal from Madrid because I assumed I had to pick up my bags upon landing in Madrid. It was a hard way to learn that lesson, because I wound up having to spend two nights in Madrid. It was a holiday time and flights were all booked.
 
But you do not pick up your luggage until your final destination.
It will pay to confirm with your airline whether they will require you to collect your bags at Madrid. My wife and I flew to Lisbon last year via Madrid, and had to collect our bags at Madrid (off an Air France flight) and re-check them onto Iberia. If I recall, these airlines aren't in the same airline alliance, so may not have shared baggage handling or transhipment arrangements.
 
Last edited:
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Which airline(s) are you flying?

No matter which terminal you land in, you will go through immigration upon arrival in Spain. You will also have to go through security, but how that happens will depend on which airlines are involved. If you have to change terminals, you will have to go through the main security lines. Easiest scenario will be that you are arriving in T4S on Iberia or an Iberia partner, in which case you go through Immigration right there and then through security when you go from T4S to your connection gate. It does not require going out to the main check-in, thankfully. There is a separate security area for those who are making connections.

If you’re not on Iberia or a partner, you’ll be over in a different terminal, and what you will have to do will depend on where your connecting airline is.

But you do not pick up your luggage until your final destination. This is the exact opposite than what we have to do in the US (where we pick up and re-check at the first port of entry). Years and years ago, I missed a connection to Portugal from Madrid because I assumed I had to pick up my bags upon landing in Madrid. It was a hard way to learn that lesson, because I wound up having to spend two nights in Madrid. It was a holiday time and flights were all booked.
Thanks very much for this helpful info. I’m flying on Iberia for both legs of the trip.
 
to collect our bags at Madrid (off an Air France flight) and re-check them onto Iberia. If I recall, these airlines aren't in the same airline alliance, so may not have shared baggage handling or transhipment arrangements.
I didn’t do a good job of explaining things, because you’re absolutely right if you are going from one “alliance” to another (Air France is Star Alliance and Iberia is One World) things could be dicier. If you stay in the same alliance, your bags will be checked to your final destination (American to Iberia, for example).

@dougfitz, so you arrived in T2, had to pick up your bags, then go on the bus to T4 and recheck your bags and then go through security in T4? WOW.
 
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Friends,
I did a search on this site and didn't come up with an answer to my question. I'm changing planes in Madrid (from the US) and flying to Santiago dC. Does one go through customs/immigration on the way to a connecting flight in Madrid or would that happen in Santiago? I'm assuming my bags continue on to Santiago and I don't need to recheck them. I'm landing Terminal 4 and flying to Santiago from Terminal 4S. Any guidance much appreciated.
Be sure you have at least 2 hours minimum between landing at MAD and departure for SCQ. It’s a long walk with delays.

I don’t know about checked bags as I did carryon. That being said you will go through security, then customs which can be long. Also you ride a train to get from one terminal to next and sometimes line so long you cannot immediately get boarded.

I would suggest carryon.
 
Be sure you have at least 2 hours minimum between landing at MAD and departure for SCQ. It’s a long walk with delays.

I don’t know about checked bags as I did carryon. That being said you will go through security, then customs which can be long. Also you ride a train to get from one terminal to next and sometimes line so long you cannot immediately get boarded.

I would suggest carryon.
Thanks very much for this. Appreciate it.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
It will pay to confirm with your airline whether they will require you to collect your bags at Madrid. My wife and I flew to Lisbon last year via Madrid, and had to collect our bags at Madrid (off an Air France flight) and re-check them onto Iberia. If I recall, these airlines aren't in the same airline alliance, so may not have shared baggage handling or transhipment arrangements.
A good recommendation -- thank you.
 
@dougfitz, so you arrived in T2, had to pick up your bags, then go on the bus to T4 and recheck your bags and then go through security in T4? WOW.
We never arrange tight connexions when this happens! In this instance, the Air France flight was delayed, and was about an hour late arriving in Madrid. I have also been caught out transferring between airlines in different alliances when baggage hasn't been clearly tagged with a 'TRANSHIP' tag that alerts the baggage handlers NOT to just put it onto the baggage carousel at an intermediate airport. So now I not only check what destination is on the bag tags, but ask if I don't see the tranship tag when flying different airline groups.
 
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It will pay to confirm with your airline whether they will require you to collect your bags at Madrid. My wife and I flew to Lisbon last year via Madrid, and had to collect our bags at Madrid (off an Air France flight) and re-check them onto Iberia. If I recall, these airlines aren't in the same airline alliance, so may not have shared baggage handling or transhipment arrangements.
Thanks much. I will do so. Appreciate you sharing your cautionary tale.
 
Regardless of opinion - including that of your airline - look at the baggage tag affixed to your bag at check-in. The destination code on that label is where your bag is going. In this case hopefully MAD or SCQ. That’s where you collect it and/or, if necessary, check it in again
 
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