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Tight connection in Madrid

Time of past OR future Camino
September/October 2023
I have a 55 minute connection in Madrid, flying in on Iberia and connecting with another Iberia flight to Santiago de Compostela. Is that really enough time to collect ur checked bag, clear customs and passport control and catch the domestic flight? Seems dicey.
 
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You may want to ask that question in the Trip Advisor Madrid forum. That is common concern. I know Madrid Airport is huge and I believe you need to change terminals.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
That is not much time to make your connection. 55 minutes is probably not enough time to deplane and clear immigration. I would caution you about not checking your backpack. Take it in the cabin with you. This has less to do with your time constraint than with the issue of your bag not making it to SdC when you do. That causes another whole set of problems. We have never had our 36L pack questioned as cabin luggage. But, we have had the experience of our pole bag not arriving in SdC on our flight. Replacing poles was not a big problem. Replacing your entire kit would be a nightmare.
 
I echo what others said. Madrid airport is 3 (4) huge airports geographically separated and the only way to get between them is via their shuttle bus or taxi. They are not linked by some sort of airport train system.

Coming back to nyc i had a regional flight from san Sebastian to Madrid. Getting to of immigration and customs and out took at least 30 mins and then I had to catch a bus to the main (new) international terminal. The whole process took me @45 mins just to get to the doors of the other terminal.
Then I had to recheck in and go through security. I’d budget min 1.5 hrs gate to gate if you’re switching while airport buildings.

It’s 55 mins is even dicey if your connecting flight leaves out of the same terminal but possible.

If you’ve book through Iberia and flying through with them there’s a chance your flying into and out of the same airport building which happened to me doing that with them. Some of the budget airlines get relegated to leave out of the other older buildings with the bus transfer.
 
All of Iberia’s (and Iberia’s partners’) flights go in and out of T4 at the Madrid airport. Assuming that this is one ticket, it must be a legal connection. That means that the people in charge have decided that it’s enough time for you to make the connection. You can take comfort in knowing that if a huge number of people with this connection time did not make their connection, the airlines would not continue booking it - it is no fun, and not cheap and/or easy, for the airlines to rebook you.

It is a tight connection, and if your flight into Madrid is late, or if the immigration lines are extraordinarily long, you may not make it. You will have to go through security again! And as one last point, non-EU flights arrive in T4S (S is for satellite), and you have a 4 minute train ride to get back to the ”main” T4, where your flight to Santiago is likely to depart.

If it’s one ticket the airlines will have to rebook you if you miss the connection. If you bought two separate tickets, and if you miss your connection, it is your problelm.

Here is what I wrote in my blog in September 2021, just so you can take some comfort knowing that this could all work out well.

I got off the plane at 6:35 and by 7:15 I had been through immigration, taken the train to the main terminal T4, gone through the vaccination check, taken the commuter train to the Chamartin train station, and was drinking my first cafe con leche waiting for the train to take me to Salamanca to start the camino.

Since you have the tickets already, you should just hope for the best and do your best to make it! Familiarize yourself with the setup of the airport. Always take the elevator and not the escalator, because, for instance from immigration/arrival down to the train is three huge flights.

And one important point — you do NOT pick up your checked bag in Madrid, it will be checked all of the way through to Santiago!

Good luck!
 
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Some of the budget airlines get relegated to leave out of the other older buildings with the bus transfer.
That’s not quite right. All airlines that are not Iberia partners go out of T1, 2 or 3. That includes some budget airlines but many big airlines - Delta, Lufthansa, KLM, etc etc. Only Iberia and its partners get to enjoy T4.

Iberia has some budget partners, and those airlines go out of the new T4, it’s just a matter of which airlines are in which alliances.
 
Check the destination on the label applied to your bag when you check it in. That’s definitively where your bag is going to before you see it again.

IMHO 55 minutes if you’ve got to go through immigration, even with no bag to collect, and assuming you land on time is very optimistic; but it may be small comfort to know that some of your potential problem is Iberia’s contractual problem.

Given that they’re ‘on the hook’ Iberia will probably get you straight off the ‘plane and facilitate your transfer. They’re not being nice, it’s just cheaper for them.

Good luck!
 
Check the destination on the label applied to your bag when you check it in. That’s definitively where your bag is going to before you see it again.

IMHO 55 minutes if you’ve got to go through immigration, even with no bag to collect, and assuming you land on time is very optimistic; but it may be small comfort to know that some of your potential problem is Iberia’s contractual problem.

Given that they’re ‘on the hook’ Iberia will probably get you straight off the ‘plane and facilitate your transfer. They’re not being nice, it’s just cheaper for them.

Good luck!
From your mouth to god’s ears.
 
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The airport in Madrid is very, very efficient, and if you're on the same airline all the way, they will probably get you transferred in time. Just be very alert when you're coming in to land - you may be asked to leave the plane before everyone else (happened to us once) or picked up at the gate by Iberia personnel to be rushed to where you need to be (happened to us twice). Just make sure you don't need to pee during that time window...
 
Last June I had 3 hours in Madrid and still had to RUN to make the Iberia flight to Oviedo. It was not in the same T4 terminal that my American flight arrived into nor did I have a checked bag. Immigration was really full and really slow. Very stressful.
 
I asked same question a year ago - see below thread. I had 1 hr 5 min connection and made it:)... In that thread I said the following:

"Just wanted to follow up on this thread and am happy to report had no trouble making my 1 hr 5 minute connection time once arriving in Madrid. Actually had 1.5 hours because my flight from JFK was nearly 30 mins early. But I timed it and it only took me 45 minutes to get through customs train to terminal and getting to my gate."

 
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I echo what Peregrina 2000, HeidiL, and DMSyracuse have reported above. In April of this year I had 55 minute connecting time and was ushered through the “fast” lane at immigration which is on the far right. This line had a single agent and was also being used for people in wheelchairs who went immediately to the front of the line. The slow lines on the left were plentiful with many agents and moved efficiently. I was anxiously worried and proceeded to run to the gate.
Another hint: when you look at boarding screen to figure out departing gate it is arranged by TIME of original departure not DESTINATION.
I think you will make it!
 
The airport in Madrid is very, very efficient, and if you're on the same airline all the way, they will probably get you transferred in time. Just be very alert when you're coming in to land - you may be asked to leave the plane before everyone else (happened to us once) or picked up at the gate by Iberia personnel to be rushed to where you need to be (happened to us twice). Just make sure you don't need to pee during that time window...
Iberia personnel! Do they actually exist? We have twice had connections- on the same ticket and issued by Iberia. About an hour between flights. One of them we missed and the other I was on the end of the boarding queue, saying, ‘My husband is just coming’. We looked in vain for Iberia personnel to help us as we were 76 and 83 last time. Both experiences were incredibly stressful and ones we will try never to repeat.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
All of Iberia’s (and Iberia’s partners’) flights go in and out of T4 at the Madrid airport. Assuming that this is one ticket, it must be a legal connection. That means that the people in charge have decided that it’s enough time for you to make the connection. You can take comfort in knowing that if a huge number of people with this connection time did not make their connection, the airlines would not continue booking it - it is no fun, and not cheap and/or easy, for the airlines to rebook you.

It is a tight connection, and if your flight into Madrid is late, or if the immigration lines are extraordinarily long, you may not make it. You will have to go through security again! And as one last point, non-EU flights arrive in T4S (S is for satellite), and you have a 4 minute train ride to get back to the ”main” T4, where your flight to Santiago is likely to depart.

If it’s one ticket the airlines will have to rebook you if you miss the connection. If you bought two separate tickets, and if you miss your connection, it is your problelm.

Here is what I wrote in my blog in September 2021, just so you can take some comfort knowing that this could all work out well.

I got off the plane at 6:35 and by 7:15 I had been through immigration, taken the train to the main terminal T4, gone through the vaccination check, taken the commuter train to the Chamartin train station, and was drinking my first cafe con leche waiting for the train to take me to Salamanca to start the camino.

Since you have the tickets already, you should just hope for the best and do your best to make it! Familiarize yourself with the setup of the airport. Always take the elevator and not the escalator, because, for instance from immigration/arrival down to the train is three huge flights.

And one important point — you do NOT pick up your checked bag in Madrid, it will be checked all of the way through to Santiago!

Good luck!
Thanks for the advice. I’m flying business class and hope that makes a difference getting through passport control. Many airlines funnel their business class passengers through a separate line. I think I’ll keep my pack with me rather than check it. why take the chance.
 
Yes, I’m booked all the way on Iberia. I’m flying business class so I hope that gives me a leg up.
It means you get off the plane first, which helps. It may or may not help you at immigration. It should help at the security check point.

Given your flights are on one ticket, I wouldn’t worry too much. You’ll get there.

Buen camino.
 
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