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111op Aug 7th, 2007 06:30 PM

4h connection time: How to go to Prado and back?
Hi, I'm facing a problem I've asked about in this thread:;tid=35046348

Can people who know Madrid, Barajas, Iberia well comment?

My flight is scheduled to arrive in Madrid at 7 am.

I think that if I take a taxi between Barajas and Prado, based on what I recall, it should take about half an hour.

But what's rush hour traffic like in Madrid?

Is there left luggage at Barajas? Maybe I should just take it with me. I only expect a carryon.

If I can leave Prado at 9:30, hopefully I can return to the airport by 10.

When will the gate close for the MAD-BCN flight? Is one hour enough to clear security? Which terminal will this be at?

The flight leaves at 11.

Actually in 2004, I pulled a similar stunt and went to the National Archaeological Museum while I had a stopover in Athens. At that time, I literally had enough time to take a taxi to the city and back. But the museum was still closed at that time and I didn't know.

111op Aug 7th, 2007 06:32 PM

Can someone recommend a reliable car service I can use? Would that be better? Maybe the car can wait for me, but I'd imagine that it should be easy to flag a taxi near Prado.

danon Aug 7th, 2007 06:53 PM

Prado opens at 9:00 A.M.!

111op Aug 7th, 2007 07:01 PM

I know that. I'm just planning to be there for 1/2 hour. There're only about 22 Patinir paintings. As much as I like Quentin Massys, I'm going to skip the rest of the exhibition (covering also Bernard van Orley and others, in case you're wondering).

I've already made a reservation (free).

Now, I've checked Iberia's website:

Checkin deadline is 45 min before departure, but 20 min for the shuttle, which I think is the one that goes between Madrid and Barcelona.

One is asked to arrive at the gate 20 min prior to departure.

Anyway, I should have my boarding card with me already, presumably.

Can someone comment more on security procedures for the Madrid-Barcelona flight? How much time do you think I need to go through security? Are there dedicated counters? I've flown LGA-DCA somewhat regularly, and Delta, for example, uses the Marine Air Terminal at LGA, so security is a breeze.


111op Aug 7th, 2007 07:12 PM

I guess I spoke too soon. Looks like the Iberia shuttle is separate:

I must have a regular flight with checkin deadline of 45 min. Still I'm hoping that with boarding card in hand, having 1h is enough time.

Maybe I can hear about travel times between the airport and Prado -- whether people think 30 minutes is realistic.

I don't think that I'll need more than 1/2 hour to see 22 paintings. Ideally it'd be nice to have more time, but if the alternative is not seeing them at all or spending $250 and wasting a few more hours, then this will have to do.

janisj Aug 7th, 2007 08:59 PM

you are being VERY stubborn about this. Why not just fly back to Madrid some time during your trip. There are lots of cheap flights and you could do a quick R-T for a LOT less than what you may lose by missing your flight to Barcelona.

Take a day out of some other part of your itinerary and go for it . . . .

MademoiselleFifi Aug 7th, 2007 09:15 PM

<< check-in deadline of 45 min >>

Be sure to double check about that-- many airlines' websites have outdated info left over from years ago. For example, Delta's website still says "45 min" for international flights, which I know is no longer true-- last year, caught in a 3-hr traffic jam, I arrived at JFK at 5:20pm and they absolutely refused to let me board my 6:30 flight to Venice, even though the flight was delayed and wasn't taking off until 7:30 anyway.

111op Aug 8th, 2007 04:04 AM

Well janis, it's hard when the trip is four days -- I arrive Thursday, leave Friday for Oslo to attend a wedding and come back on Sunday from Oslo. To squeeze in the Patinir show, I'd have to do a r/t BCN-Madrid, or buy a BCN-Madrid-Oslo ticket -- which is not out of the question for me, if I really want to do it. I've done so many of these kinds of trips that it doesn't really faze me. But really, if I think that I'll be happy with 1/2 hour, I'd rather take a chance than spend over $200 on plane tickets.

By the way, the r/t BCN-Madrid is not as cheap as you think -- it was $234 yesterday -- and I'm actually not going to in BCN. I'll in a different town. So figure in the turnaround with airport times, etc. You get the idea that apart from the money issue, it's not the most efficient method.

Mlle, could you comment on why they denied boarding? 1h 10 min sounds like more than enough time. Did you have a bag to check? In any case, it doesn't make any sense to me.

Last year, I flew to Brussels right after they imposed the new security restrictions. I was very concerned because I was leaving right from work and I had very little room for error. I'm pretty sure that the last checkin time for CO was 60 minutes. And who'd have known it? EWR was pretty deserted that day. People must have cancelled.

I think MAD-BCN, since it's domestic, should give me some room. But I'm interested in hearing from people who know Barajas and Iberia.

111op Aug 8th, 2007 04:08 AM

By the way, this may be a good time to recount this story. Pre 9/11, I once boarded a flight ORD-LAX (I think) and connected to a flight to Asia with less than 20 minutes -- probably even less than 10 minutes to spare. I actually brought my very large suitcase to the gate. I was surprised that they let me go through and on the flight at all.

At that time I lived in the Midwest and my flight to ORD was cancelled. I ended up renting a car and driving, and I was returning my rental car at ORD very close to departure time.

Obviously unthinkable post 9/11.

Now that I think about it, I wonder why they didn't cancel the rest of my flights. Maybe I did something at the airport, I don't recall.

isabel Aug 8th, 2007 04:17 AM

I'm definitly no expert on Madrid or the airport, but I have flown in and out in both March and July. Iberia usually uses Terminal 4, they definitly do for internatinal flights. It's huge, just walking from where the taxi's are could take you half an hour. There are signs all over the airport telling you how many minutes from where you are standing to various gates.Some gates require a short (2-3minute) ride on a shuttle train, that requires a wait. Security and passport control lines were quite long, at least 20-30 minutes each. I also flew in and out of Terminal 1-2 in July and those terminals (1,2 and 3 are connected) are undergoing construction which while it didn't necessarily slow things down, made things a little confusing. Lines there were just as long. Security and passport control were two seperate lines (and of course different from check-in but you shouldn't need to do that one).

Sorry, but I think you're crazy. And also, by the way, there were lines to get into the Prado at 9 oclock at least once when I walked past it. And while when I was there, there was no wait to get into the Patinir exhibit, there were ropes set up so they must expect lines at times.

I would at the very least call Iberia and ask them what they think.

111op Aug 8th, 2007 04:38 AM

The new T4 is awful, I agree. I used it last year. It's a maze to navigate.

I actually have made a free reservation on Prado's website for 9 am already. If it's like the Tintoretto show, you skip the lines and go to the upper Goya entrance, where you pay for your ticket.

There's a security check there. But I don't think that this will take more than 10 minutes total. I was there for Tintoretto in April and I was there for Picasso last August. I never really waited more than 10 minutes.

When I checked yesterday they book 15 people per 15 minutes, and most of the slots were free for the taking.

Obviously for MAD-BCN, there's no passport control, but there will be security clearance.

Personally I do think that if the flight is on time or slightly delayed, I should be able to make it.

And after thinking about it, I think that I'll check my bag for a change. That way I can move very freely and run if necessary. I've not checked in a bag in a couple of years -- I travel carryon only. But this time I think that this will be a better option.

I'm pretty sure I'll give it a try, but obviously I'll decide that day when I arrive -- how much time I think I really have. Worse comes to worst, I can always have the cab turn around if I feel like I just don't have enough time.

111op Aug 8th, 2007 04:57 AM

I just checked online, and I guess I was overly optimistic. I only have 3h 50 minutes. Scheduled arrival is 7:10 am. :-)

Also oddly they booked a MAD-BCN segment at 4pm in addition to the one I have. I called them yesterday to ask about change fees, but I said that I didn't want to make that change. Maybe I can feign ignorance and have them cancel the 11 am? :-)

111op Aug 8th, 2007 05:05 AM

No such luck. Why are there two flights MAD to BCN? Gee I don't know.

Oh, you're ticketed on the 11 am.

After hemming and hawing, she cancelled the 4 pm.

My card was never charged.


Maybe I should have just left it like that until the airport.

111op Aug 8th, 2007 10:05 AM

Hi, can people comment on T4 and T4S? It looks like Iberia uses T4 solely these days -- but possibly T4S? Do people know where the Iberia domestic flights leave?

I tried looking for data on, but it looks like the gate information for today has been incomplete. The current flights (evening) are listed as leaving from T4 but I can't find anything for the morning even though info is supposedly available for 24h.

nytraveler Aug 8th, 2007 10:22 AM

Well - it seems that you're determined to do this - but frankly I don't think you have a chance in hell.

Assume you do get into the Prado at 9 am and get to the exhibit and see something in 30 minutes, you must first get out of the museum and find a cab, then get to the airport (and 30 minutes is tight), then find your way to the right area, get through security and try to get to the gate in time to board.

I would definitely find out from the airline (live person not a possibly out of date web site) exactly what time you MUST check in to get on the 11 am flight (it doesn't matter if you think it's enough time or not).

111op Aug 8th, 2007 10:42 AM

Well most likely I'd have checked in in NYC already. I should have a boarding card. Anyway, I'm not leaving the airport until I've a boarding card.

Yes, if I'm determined to do something, I go for it. :-)

Anyway, I don't see why people are so against it. I mean, ok, hop into a taxi. If there's not enough time, I'll have the taxi turn around. What's the big deal really? I'm not terribly concerned about the cab fares -- ok, so probably 100 euros. That's not a big deal compared to buying new tickets or changing the existing one.

Be a little adventurous, people. Live a little! :-)

thit_cho Aug 8th, 2007 11:23 AM

Frankly, its a silly idea (or a "stunt" as you characterized it). You have to factor in clearing customs, dealing with rush hour traffic, and then sprinting through the Prado, one of the most interesting painting museums. Even if possible, seems like an incredible injustice to glance at paintings. This is similar to taking a taxi to Madrid's best restaurant, ordering a glass of water, and returning to the airport -- you'll be able to impress your friends by claiming that you have been to that restaurant, but there's more to travel than impressing your friends by regaling them with stories of fleeing museum visits.

Why don't you cancel the MAD to BCN flight, head into Madrid, spend a few hours at the Prado (and maybe also Reina Sofia), and then take last train to Barcelona.

"Live a little" is more than just running like a jackass from sight to sight, with no time to appreciate or digest.

rkkwan Aug 8th, 2007 11:30 AM

It's because he can't cancel this MAD-BCN flight. As explained in his other thread titled "Point A to B, X to Y, Z to A" or something like that. ;)

thit_cho Aug 8th, 2007 11:37 AM

Only Pythagoras would stop to read a post entitled "Point A to B, X to Y, Z to A" -- I must have missed that one.

111op Aug 8th, 2007 11:39 AM

I can't cancel the flight because it cancels the rest of the itinerary.

By the way, I've been to Prado twice. It's a great museum. How many times have you been to Prado, thit?

Obviously there's a lot I've not seen, but I've seen a good part of the Flemish collection, the Raphaels, the Goya Black paintings, the Velasquezes, the Bosches.

I just there just in April to see the Tintoretto show, and I took my time to see the Struth photos on view, along with parts of the permanent collection.

I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I think that I've a pretty good idea of the Prado's collection.

I've a specific task I want to accomplish -- which is to see the Patinir exhibition. Is that so wrong? I really don't think so. Sure, I won't do the Patinir paintings justice. But I do believe that it's better than skipping the show altogether.

Plus I've seen at least 2 of the 22 Patinir paintings in the exhibition. It shouldn't be very difficult to get a glance of 20 paintings in 30 minutes.

Here, it's useful to recall the story about Phillipe de Montebello -- who took a glance at the Duccio painting and decided the Met should buy it for 45 million. But yes, admittedly, there's contention that it's not a Duccio.

Honestly, I'm not sure why my questions would be met with such hostility. I'm serious and determined to see the show. I don't feel that I need to write essays on my knowledge of art to defend why I want to be in Prado in 30 minutes.

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