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Stressed over time between flights

suzTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
#1
Hi all, We start our journey from Ottawa to Santiago in less than a month and I'm stressing about the time between flights. We arrive at Gatwick at 8:45am north terminal and leave for Santiago via Madrid at 10:50am. from South terminal. We will be checking our bags and we will not be able to check the bags through to Santiago. Has anyone out there done this either successfully or unsuccessfully? ¡Gracias!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#2
Hi all, We start our journey from Ottawa to Santiago in less than a month and I'm stressing about the time between flights. We arrive at Gatwick at 8:45am north terminal and leave for Santiago via Madrid at 10:50am. from South terminal. We will be checking our bags and we will not be able to check the bags through to Santiago. Has anyone out there done this either successfully or unsuccessfully? ¡Gracias!
Are you flying on separate tickets? If so, that's a very tight "connection". As you will have to go through passport control, then go to bag drop to check you bags, then through security. Can you travel carry-on only with just your backpacks? Do you have a plan B?
 

suzTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
#3
We've got hiking poles and extra luggage. I think I'll have to come up with a plan B unless WestJet allows hiking poles.
 

suzTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
#4
Oh I checked again. We get in at 8:25! Just found us another 20 minutes! Is 2 hrs and 35 minutes okay?
 

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#5
There are quite a few international flights come in at that time in the morning to Gatwick, so let us say, it takes you an hour to pass through the lovely UK passport control as a non EU resident, which can be realistic, as you come in after a large Emirates flight from Dubai.

If the flight (from Halifax?) is on time, 1 hour through passport control is 09.25. Half an hour to pick your bags (which should be out before you), dash for the shuttle between North and South terminals and find the Iberia check in. You are at 1 hour before your flight, which is right on the time check on closes. Possible, but at any rate, very stressful, and no time for any delays.

What I would advise, if this is your booked flights, is availing yourself of the premium (fast track) border services at Gatwick, because this could easily knock off 30 minutes queuing through passport control, and those 30 minutes should make a lot of difference.

Go to www.premium.gatwick.com to buy these, well in advance, as they limit the numbers issued per day.

You can buy fast track passport clearance on arrival for £ 7 per person, and also, separately, buy fast track security for your Madrid flight for £ 5 per person, which, again, should save you 10 minutes, when every minute counts. There is no passport control going out, and one common security area (with the fast track separated).

Small money for what could otherwise mean you miss your onward flight, which probably would be at your cost, as you are not on a through ticket.

Also, pay extra for a seat as far towards the front of the plane on your flight from Canada as your class of ticket allows. Sometimes it can take 20 minutes to physically exit the plane, and you do not have that free time.
 

suzTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
#6
There are quite a few international flights come in at that time in the morning to Gatwick, so let us say, it takes you an hour to pass through the lovely UK passport control as a non EU resident, which can be realistic, as you come in after a large Emirates flight from Dubai.

If the flight (from Halifax?) is on time, 1 hour through passport control is 09.25. Half an hour to pick your bags (which should be out before you), dash for the shuttle between North and South terminals and find the Iberia check in. You are at 1 hour before your flight, which is right on the time check on closes. Possible, but at any rate, very stressful, and no time for any delays.

What I would advise, if this is your booked flights, is availing yourself of the premium (fast track) border services at Gatwick, because this could easily knock off 30 minutes queuing through passport control, and those 30 minutes should make a lot of difference.

Go to www.premium.gatwick.com to buy these, well in advance, as they limit the numbers issued per day.

You can buy fast track passport clearance on arrival for £ 7 per person, and also, separately, buy fast track security for your Madrid flight for £ 5 per person, which, again, should save you 10 minutes, when every minute counts. There is no passport control going out, and one common security area (with the fast track separated).

Small money for what could otherwise mean you miss your onward flight, which probably would be at your cost, as you are not on a through ticket.

Also, pay extra for a seat as far towards the front of the plane on your flight from Canada as your class of ticket allows. Sometimes it can take 20 minutes to physically exit the plane, and you do not have that free time.
Thanks so much. Very helpful. It's unfortunate that WestJet has such small sized carry on sizes. Our packs start at 56cm and up. I'll check out that fast track. I did prebook front of plane seats. I will also familiarize myself with the map of the airport.
 

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#7
Carry on at WestJet, actually will make little difference. Your luggage will be out before you come through passport control, fast track, or not, and therefore, warning, your luggage may be on the floor around the luggage carousel, rather than on the carousel itself. Therefore, assuming safe delivery, you save nothing by taking a carry on bag, and do not need to unduly limit what you take.

I personally would have allowed 3 hours between flights, but with no delays taking off, and fast track passport and security booked, you should hopefully be ok. Also, the airline timetables often build some padding in the flight schedule which, over a long flight, should hopefully allow you to land early, giving you extra minutes in hand.
 

suzTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
#8
Thanks! New at this travel beyond England! Feeling better now I can do something to help us out.
 

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#10
The other thing to say, once through security at South Terminal, there are plenty of places to buy yourselves breakfast to take on the plane. Iberia Express serves food and drink to buy, and you will find a better selection (even hot porridge) at many of the food outlets in the South terminal.

As you are passed security, you can take whatever food and drink you like on the plane.

When you come to Madrid, assuming you are onward with Iberia also, you will need to pass through passport control at Madrid (small queue, as hopefully only your small plane arrives at that time from the UK), but you should not need to go through airport security again. Also plenty of places to eat and drink at Madrid airport, and if you are doing Iberia - Iberia, there should be no need to change terminals. Madrid is straightforward to change at, if you are Iberia - Iberia (in whatever guise they fly; Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, etc.)
 

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#11
@trecile, agreed that @suzTeach needs to check bags in again, but the Iberia check in at Gatwick should actually be in the British Airways check in area, as it is a codeshare flight.

The BA check in is fairly large and efficient (at the far end on the left as you come into Gatwick south terminal), and if you check in for the flight before, either online or via the machines (for both Iberia flights), and therefore use the bag drop, check in can often only be 15 minutes, meaning, there should be little difference. If time pressured, or there is a queue, a friendly request to use the BA premium check in because you are in danger of missing your flight may work also (BA staff tend to be less officious at Gatwick than at Heathrow)
 

suzTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
#12
Thanks so much peb and trecile! I really appreciate your knowledgeable assistance! I'll let you know how we manage. Luckily with all our training, our legs are strong for running!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
#13
Ok, I’ve got to take the dark side here. UK border control services levels have been rarely met lately, and the fact that you have to change terminals, pick up bags, recheck bags, and get back through outbound border control within the minimum time limit before boarding is possible but I’d have an alternate plan put together now.

It’s complicated by the fact that Westjet is not part of the agreement that allows them to pass the bags through. They save some money by not paying the inter line transfer cost, but you incur the hassle. Since they are not interline, don’t expect much sympathy or help from Iberia/BA (a frightening combination in and of itself).

Not trying to be scary but my 2 million plus in seat miles say this has only a 50/50 chance of working so figure out what you’ll do now (in the comfort of your home and a good drink) rather than at the airport, where you will be jet lagged, irritable, and not at the top of your travel game.

If you don’t need the alternate plan, you have a nice leisurely breakfast between planes or get carry on.

BTW, just met three ladies from Ottawa walking the Portuguese this morning.
 

suzTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
#14
Thanks John - not that I'm thankful for your message! We do have travel insurance so I'll read up on that. Next flight with Iberia has a 1 hr layover in Barcelona. What are the chances of meeting that?!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#15
Thanks John - not that I'm thankful for your message! We do have travel insurance so I'll read up on that. Next flight with Iberia has a 1 hr layover in Barcelona. What are the chances of meeting that?!
Are these flights all booked separately? If so, you carry all the risk. If you miss a flight you will likely have to purchase a new ticket at your expense (and at walk up prices) . Travel insurance doesn't often cover missed flights on separate tickets, unless there is a very large time cushion between flights.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#17
@suzTeach - You haven't clarified whether you have a single booking from Canada to Santiago, or whether you booked those portions separately. This makes a total difference in how you would manage the risk on all your connections!
 
#18
@suzTeach - You haven't clarified whether you have a single booking from Canada to Santiago, or whether you booked those portions separately. This makes a total difference in how you would manage the risk on all your connections!
Actually, I think it's pretty clear - flying transatlantic with WestJet and then separately Iberia to Madrid (then Santiago) - so you save money by using a charter airline but miss out on being able to check luggage all the way to your final destination and suffer if you miss the connection

But the die is cast - paying for priority might help somewhat but you're still in the hands of Gatwick passport control, baggage handlers and security - no use worrying now, just wait and see
 

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#19
if you are looking at Vueling, flying to Barcelona from Gatwick 14.50 or thereabouts, arriving Barcelona 17.55 (varies by a few minutes some days) and then Vueling from Barcelona at 18.50 arriving SdC at 20.40, then you should obviously make this connection at Gatwick because you have 6 hours between landing and take off.

The connection at Barcelona is less than 1 hour. Doable, as you come into the same terminal at Barcelona and Barcelona is not a large airport, but no more guaranteed than the original Gatwick connection. You have passport control to go through at Barcelona, but hopefully no security. One note of caution is that Vueling doesn't have the best punctuality record, and here, every minute counts.

One advantage of this Barcelona flight is if you can book a through ticket (I would book through Iberia and not through Vueling, because I do not trust that a Vueling ticket will book your luggage through, instead of treating this as two flights) is that your bags should be checked through, and if the Vueling flight into Barcelona is late, such that you miss your onward connection and need to fly to Santiago next day (there is a 07.45 flight arriving Santiago 09.35 most days), it will be the airlines responsibility to find you accommodation overnight at Barcelona). But if I was taking this flight combination, I would pack some overnight stuff in hand luggage, just in case the connection at Barcelona does not work out.

Whether you have booked your Iberia ticket via Madrid and can change this for the Barcelona flight combination, I cannot say. It may be that you have this as a backstop in case the Gatwick connection does not work?

One question I have is what Camino are you doing, noting that you are flying in to Santiago?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#20
I think it's pretty clear - flying transatlantic with WestJet and then separately Iberia to Madrid... you save money by using a charter airline
But Westjet is not a charter airline and may have partnerships.

I haven't done the research to determine that, nor have I tried testing the reservation process through WestJet since I thought it was a simple question (but important) for the OP to answer.
 
Last edited:

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#21
Something else I found that may help.

Gatwick connects service

www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/flying-in/gatwickconnects

Never used it, or know someone who has used it, but apparently, what you do is go to the Gatwick connects desk in baggage reclaim at the North terminal, drop your bags there and they tag and take your bags through to your next flight. They say that they check you in, issue you a boarding card (although do not know if they issue both boarding cards, for Madrid and to Santiago?) and luggage tags. You walk out of the North terminal arrivals, catch the train shuttle to the South terminal and go straight through security. You do not need to go to the British Airways check in desk.

From what it reads, you do not need to book for the service, and the service is for free.


Therefore, if when you have your bags, if you are pushed for time, and there is no queue at this Gatwick connects desk, this may help a few minutes. If there is a queue at the Gatwick connects desk, don't wait, take your luggage to the British Airways check in desks at the South terminal.

I would still book and pay for Premium Passport Control and Premium Security as well.


As others have rightly said, even with these, there is no guarantee that the 2.5 hours is adequate enough, but you have a much better chance than without buying the premium services.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#23
I sincerely hope that it works out for you.

This thread reminds me why I, prior to my 1st Camino, deliberately bought a backpack that would pass as hand luggage. Additional benefit is that I do not overpack.

Poles can be bought in Spain.
 

suzTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
#24
Thanks everyone for all of your ideas and suggestions. One of the reasons I am walking the Camino is to reduce the stress in my life. As I was out on one of my training walks, or was it when I couldn't sleep (!) I came up with the idea of changing our flight from Ottawa to London to a day earlier thus removing the time constraint. It did cost some money and staying another day in London will obviously cost us £ but 1) we have a day to recover from jet lag 2) my travel Amigas and I get to see some more of London and 3) we can arrive at the airport well in time for the flight to Spain. Stress level dropped from 10 to 5! (5 being my normal for pre travel!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#26
Thanks everyone for all of your ideas and suggestions. One of the reasons I am walking the Camino is to reduce the stress in my life. As I was out on one of my training walks, or was it when I couldn't sleep (!) I came up with the idea of changing our flight from Ottawa to London to a day earlier thus removing the time constraint. It did cost some money and staying another day in London will obviously cost us £ but 1) we have a day to recover from jet lag 2) my travel Amigas and I get to see some more of London and 3) we can arrive at the airport well in time for the flight to Spain. Stress level dropped from 10 to 5! (5 being my normal for pre travel!)
Phew! Mine too!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#27
Thanks everyone for all of your ideas and suggestions. One of the reasons I am walking the Camino is to reduce the stress in my life. As I was out on one of my training walks, or was it when I couldn't sleep (!) I came up with the idea of changing our flight from Ottawa to London to a day earlier thus removing the time constraint. It did cost some money and staying another day in London will obviously cost us £ but 1) we have a day to recover from jet lag 2) my travel Amigas and I get to see some more of London and 3) we can arrive at the airport well in time for the flight to Spain. Stress level dropped from 10 to 5! (5 being my normal for pre travel!)
I'm happy to hear that you have changed your flights and reduced your stress. The last thing you need before starting the Camino is more stress!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#28
Thanks everyone for all of your ideas and suggestions. One of the reasons I am walking the Camino is to reduce the stress in my life. As I was out on one of my training walks, or was it when I couldn't sleep (!) I came up with the idea of changing our flight from Ottawa to London to a day earlier thus removing the time constraint. It did cost some money and staying another day in London will obviously cost us £ but 1) we have a day to recover from jet lag 2) my travel Amigas and I get to see some more of London and 3) we can arrive at the airport well in time for the flight to Spain. Stress level dropped from 10 to 5! (5 being my normal for pre travel!)

Wise move! Enjoy your camino!
 

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#29
Good that you completely de-risked the traveling. I, personally, would still buy premium passport control, because £ 7 per person is not a large amount of money to save what is probably 30 minutes in a queue, and I always worry when my bags reach the carousel before me. If you are in no hurry next morning, the premium security is not worth it.

In terms of staying overnight, look at the Premier Inn at Gatwick airport, which you book directly on www.premierinn.com. It is less than 5 minutes walking distance from the North terminal (which you go back to catch the shuttle to the South Terminal next morning after what you can hopefully have a good sleep and unrushed breakfast). Doubles can often be had for less than £ 120 bed and breakfast, or about £ 150 half board for the two of you. Alternatively, there is a Hilton connected to the South terminal, which is slightly more expensive, if you prefer. Yes, if you want to go into London, you need to catch the train (50 minutes from train station by the South terminal, meaning Gatwick is quite a long way out), but you do not need to transport your luggage anywhere, and the next morning will be easier.

If you are in luck, if you stay at Gatwick, they may even have a room available for you to check into, and have a wash and rest when you arrive. If they did not have a room available on arrival, if it was me, I would then ask how much supplement an early check in would be?

Obviously, unless you are planespotters, you do not want to spend the whole day at Gatwick, but let's hope after a sleep and wash up, it is lunchtime. Do not know how many times you have been to London, but if you do not have a specific reason to run into London for an afternoon, consider taking the train from Gatwick station the other way, to Brighton. Seaside town, so good fresh air after an overnight plane journey, and the former royal Brighton Pavilion (open till 5.30pm) is worth a look. Trains run each way every 10 minutes and journey time is no more than 40 minutes. Anytime return train fare £ 15.10 each.

To completely take out the hassle next morning, for a 10.50 flight, checking in before 9.15 should give you ample time. As said before, the Iberia check in should be at the British Airways check in area, which is a large area on the left of the South terminal check in. As the South terminal is next to the station, it may be a good idea to have a look around the day before and familiarise yourself.

Of course, what will happen is that there will be a strong Jetstream, your flight from Canada will arrive 30 minutes early and you would have had time ……. but this way, you have de-risked and hopefully de-stressed, and you should arrive on your Camino much fresher.
 

suzTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
#30
Thanks so much peb! Impressive details and so helpful for us and other readers. I've passed this on to the others in my group and we'll see what the consensus is!
 

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