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customs and layover times in Germany en route to Italy

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customs and layover times in Germany en route to Italy

Old Nov 12th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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customs and layover times in Germany en route to Italy

next step in the grand plan--air travel. I am finding the best schedules and fares are if we fly SFO to Milan via Frankfurt, and returning Rome to SFO via Munich. All on
United/Lufthansa. My questions are:
do we go through customs in Germany, or not until we get to Italy? I'm looking at flights that have a minimun layover in Frankfurt of 1 hour, max 2 hours to allow for plane change, etc. Is that too long/short?
same question for the return flight, although I am assuming that we wouldn't have any dealings with customs in Munich, not until we reach San Francisco.
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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You will go through customs in Italy, but you will go through immigration (passport control) in Germany - in both directions, as this is your Schengen entry/exit point. I would allow at least an hour in Frankfurt. Munich is a little easier to navigate, but note that there is a secondary security checkpoint at the gate before boarding your US-bound flight, and the lines can be pretty long. At both airports, it is possible that you will deplane on the tarmac and take a bus to the terminal, or vice versa, which can add a bit of transit time.
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 09:06 AM
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You will clear immigrations in the country of arrival, in your case this will be Germany. In Italy you pass through customs. In Italian customs, you usually just walk right by the cigarette smoking officers. No big deal. But here is a few tips...

1. When arriving at Frankfurt and Munich, follow the signs straight to immigrations or passport check. Sometimes the lines can be very long and although they usually move fast, sometimes there is someone in line who doesn't have their papers in order.

2. On your return, once you arrive in Munich you will once again have to go thru passport control as you head to you gates for international departures. Be sure to go straight to passport control since many International flights are leaving at the same time and lines can be long. If you flight to Munich is delayed, simple talk to the Lufthansa rep at the arrival gate for assistance and info. After you pass through passport control you will have to go through a security and bag check. In my experience this also includes a hand search (pat down) by a same sex officer. Just so you aren't surprised. In short, don't dilly-dally. Remember one thing, technically they cannot leave without you. Once you luggae is transfered it is put on the plane. They cannot fly unless you and your luggae is together. It is illegal for them to leave unless they remove your luggage. Imagine going thru hundreds of bags just to find yours. They will be likely to announce your name before they do.

3. You will clear immigrations and customs when you return to San Francisco. They are very strict, first of all no cell phone are allowed to be in use. Second, be sure to declare everything you are bringing back. They do question you and they do check your bags. Remember you cannot bring in any meats, fruits or plants and they mean it. If they find any of these items you will probably be fined. Packaged food is OK, as long as it's not meat. You have a lot of warning to dispose of these before you reach the check point. They may also x-ray your bags to see what you have inside. Italian sausages are easy to spot! When in doubt, be honest. I usually simple declare my good as a single dollar mount with the statement "good for personal use" and don't itemize them. On the side I always have a list of what I purchased and a seperate list of food items that I show the officer at the checkpoint.

Don't worry about it and have a great time!

P.S. Munich airport is great!

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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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thanks for the tips, maybe I should look for flights with a 2 hr layover each way, just to be on the safe side,
since I have not been to either of these airports. BTW Steveab-you said Munich is great--what about Frankfurt?
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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We went thru Frankfurt 4 times on trips to Paris and Munich. The problem we had was changing terminals. We had to go back thru security and sometimes had 1 hour connections and had to rush to the other terminal/gate only to be bussed out to the runway.

I don't like Frankfurt airport to make connections. Once our luggage didn't make the flight and when we got into Munich at 10am the luggage was delivered to our hotel at midnight.
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Similar question - We are flying from Paris to Rome. We have to go via Munich. The arrival and departure is less than 1 hour!
1/ will our luggage go straight through? meaning, do we have to collect it on arrival in Munich and re-check it through to Rome.

2/ Do we go through customs &/or passport checks on arrival/departure Munich?

Or is it just a matter of off one plane on to another?
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 02:07 PM
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aussiedreamer - What airline(s) are you flying Paris-Munich-Rome. If it's all Lufthansa, then your luggage will be checked throuhg for certain.

There's no passport control among France, Germany and Italy.
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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as I recall United and Lufthansa are part of the same "group" (one world?)
so a flight from US on united, changing to lufthansa in germany, would have my luggage being checked straight through to Italy, am I correct??
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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I just checked my proposed air and there is a 2hr 5min layover in Frankfurt, which sounds from the previous posters to be a good thing.
Munich layover is 1hr 15min, do you think this is enough time? I havent booked the flights yet, so I still have some time for fine tuning. thanks!
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 02:46 PM
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daisy - UA and LH are both members of the Star Alliance. Your luggage will be checked through to Milan.
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 02:58 PM
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thats it-- the Star Alliance. I also in the meantime found the same itinerary with franfurt l/o 2hrs 5 min and Munich 1hr 55 min, just have to depart Rome 40 min earlier, other than that same flights. this one is looking real good...think I should book soon.....
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 03:32 PM
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Daisy check your tickets, your flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt is on United but on the return it is likey that it is a United Airlines code share and actually on Lufthansa. I don't think United operates between Munich and SFO.

There is nothing wrong with allowing extra time for that connection. There is nothing worse than running from a European flight and jumping onto a trans Atlantic flight without a breath. Two hours will go by fast. After you pass all the formalities there is lots of shopping in Munich and Frankfurt. Be sure to have a beer and a pretzel in Munich!!!
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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It is a code share combo with united and lufthansa..and you are right, 2 hrs in an airport goes buy suprisingly
quickly (much quicker than 2 hours at
work!) worth the time to not be stressed out IMO. as for the beer/pretzel idea--OH YEH!
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 08:04 PM
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yes,Rkkwan, its Lufthansa on a Star Alliance Round the World Ticket.
Thanks for the info. So I guess that means we just de-board and Re-board.
And on checking, there is only a 30min turn around. Can you see a huge 'drama' with this?
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 09:46 PM
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not clear on the "drama" implication..
simply looking for the clear, concise,
never been there before so what's your problem situation
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Old Nov 13th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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soooooooo sorry aussiedreamer! after rereading posts today, it all sounded much different than in the wee hours of the morning! Very embarrassed ,
terribly sorry, I picked these for you from my garden
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Old Nov 13th, 2005, 07:23 PM
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Thanks for the lovely flowers daisy58. You had me guessing what I had said to make you cross.
Thought it had something to do with the way I wrote it.
Take care (*)
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Old Nov 13th, 2005, 11:48 PM
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you are so welcome aussiedreamer!
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