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Brussels Airport: 4 1/2 hour layover - suggestions, please.

Brussels Airport: 4 1/2 hour layover - suggestions, please.

Jun 20th, 2004, 01:48 PM
  #1  
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Brussels Airport: 4 1/2 hour layover - suggestions, please.

We have a 4 1/2 hour layover at the Brussels airport in early July. I suspect that's not enough time to rush into the city, see two sights, and rush back to make our connecting flight. So, I'm wondering what, if any, options we have in between flights. Since we'll be arriving on an overnight flight, I'll be really pleased if I could find a place to take a shower (short of renting a hotel room for two hours to do so). Are there showers available and, if so, where? Over than the possibility of freshening up, I tend to think that the options will be limited to lingering over coffee and a croissant and memorizing every item in the duty-free shops while waiting to board our connector. Any suggestions that would assist us would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
nrwayne is offline  
Jun 20th, 2004, 02:57 PM
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If you can check-in online or by telephone for the flight, i.e. reserve your seats and just take your bags to a fast bag drop when you're ready to fly, then you can turn up just 30 mins before take off. This would allow plenty of time to get a taxi into the city, see the Grand Place, a quick walk around the modern art museum - see Magritte (I was there a few weekends ago). However, if you don't fancy having to rush things, and let's face it, you will - I'd recommend purchasing a pass into an executive lounge where showers, refreshments, and comfortable seating areas are all readily available.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 03:15 AM
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I actually think it's enough time -- but I'm a rushed traveler.

The train to Brussels Central will only take about twenty minutes or so. If you're able to get your boarding card before, you should have enough time.

Grand'Place is literally a five-minute walk from Brussels Central. So are the main museums (Musee des Beaux Arts). I've never been to the Musee des Beaux Arts. I was just at the Museum of Musical Instruments around the corner in a former department store called "Old England" (it's an art-deco building). This museum is very interesting -- you're given headsets and can listen to musical snippets from the various museums as you wander about. The sixth floor has a cafe with panoramic views. This museum is quite different and this would be my pick in Brussels, unless you're interested in paintings at the Musee des Beaux Arts (the bookstore there puts out a booklet called "Twenty-Five Masterpieces," which I bought and which may give you some ideas).

The only potential issue is that these places are very close if you know where you're going, but since the city isn't set out on a grid, you can get lost easily as well. Ask around and you should be fine.

Have lots of fun.
111op is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 10:05 AM
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Good suggestion. We arrive at 7:55 a.m. and probably get past passport control by 8:30. So I'm thinking that we could get to Brussels Central by 9:00 if there are no delays. Then return by the 10:30 or 11:02 trains, which gets us back by 11:23 a.m. Even with some wait for airport security, I think we would have no difficulty getting to the gate by 12:15 p.m., which theoretically is the deadline for a 12:45 p.m. flight. At the moment, our connector still has seats available, too, which suggests that the gate agents will be in no hurry to deny boarding to anyone. So, I'm thinking that if the security line at Brussels is reasonably short and everything else goes on schedule we should have about an hour and a half to poke around. All this depends upon how zonked we are from the overnight flight and what kind of mood the rest of the family is in upon arrival. Should be fun.
nrwayne is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 10:13 AM
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Sounds like a plan to me. I read somewhere that Brussels ranks very highly in the airport category so it really should be minimum hassle to get around. I just went through there last week and it was fine, but it was difficult figuring out how to get to baggage claim -- the signs weren't very good, I thought, and there's a long walk between Terminals A and B (if I remember correctly). I didn't go through passport control as I was coming from Athens, so I don't know what that's like.

But in terms of a fast connection into the city center, the trains are really convenient. If you think you've enough time you should definitely go for it. I think that you'll be fine as long as the flights arrive on time. You can do a lot in an hour to 90 minutes and it beats sitting in the airport.
111op is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 10:23 AM
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We don't have to bother with baggage claim since our stuff is checked straight through. We should have little more than passport control en route to the train, which is on the lower level. Then reverse course, go up, pass security, and go to the gate. All depends on whether things are on time, but overally it's quite easy. I'll know next week.
nrwayne is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 10:25 AM
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I also arrive in Brussles on the 7:55 flight, but my layover is 3 hours 45 minutes. Would this be enough time to see some (or one) sights?
beth23 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 10:28 AM
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Depends on whether it's on time and how quickly you get through passport control. If you can make the 8:36 train you get to Brussels Central by 8:59. Then take the 10:02 back, arriving at the airport at 10:23. That should be enough to make an 11:40 flight. Tight, but probably doable.
nrwayne is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 10:31 AM
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Honestly, it depends on a variety of factors. Personally I'd still go for it, but I'm sure that there'll be people here who'll tell you to stay put.

If you know where you're going and the flight arrives on time, etc., it should be fine. The trains run frequently. I'd study the maps closely and check schedules to minimize any potential problems.

Anyway, I act as I say. I had about a 3.5 hour layover in Athens and I took a cab to the airport and back. I wanted to see the museum but it was still being renovated. If you're comfortable with rushing when necessary (and I'm comfortable with this sort of thing), then go for it.

By the way, I think that the train fare is 5.60 Euros one way, so it's quite cheap.

111op is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 10:33 AM
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If it were me, in both cases, I'd purchase a priority pass (if you aren't already flying club) and spend my time unwinding in an executive lounge - have a shower, read some magazines, have some champagne and a snack. Unwind....

If you choose to go into Brussels, you will always be looking at your watch, you won't enjoy yourself at all - you're much better to relax and unwind. I understand it's frustrating not being able to see the city, but it's just one of those things.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 10:37 AM
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Well, that's you, m_kingdom, but that wouldn't be me.

Anyway, I'd definitely be open to going to the city. Of course, if lines are long and the flight is late or if I'm not confident, I won't push it. But I've attempted all sorts of crazy rushed travel and I've never regretted it.
111op is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 12:05 PM
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I think you should be able to make it for a quick tour around the Grand Place, Manneke Pis and the Sablon.
There are 4 trains an hour in different directions of Belgium, but all pass Brussels-Central, which is right in the center. Have fun!
stardust is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 12:09 PM
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At this point it's a wait and see game. If the flight is ontime, I think it's worth it. Of course if the flight is late by even 15 or 20 minutes, that'll change things. I hope it works out, but if not, that's okay. Incidentally, on our way home, we have a 1 hour 55 minute stopover in London. Unfortunately, I don't think I am brave enough to risk leaving the airport for such a short amount of time.
beth23 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2012, 04:38 AM
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Hi,

I wanted to check in and see if you were able to leave the airport during your layover. I know this was written some years ago so I also wanted to see if the information is still applicable. My husband and I land in Brussels at 6:25 AM and have a flight at 11:15 AM. Would venturing outside the airport be feasible? What time do you recommend we be back?
Thanks!!
michmich11 is offline  
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